Skin Care & Incontinence: Steps to Better Health

by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist 

Taking good care of your skin is important at any age, but over the years skin becomes thinner, less elastic, and more prone to injury and infection. For seniors managing incontinence, it’s even more important to keep skin clean, moisturized and protected to prevent irritation. Fortunately, there are many products on the market formulated to meet the requirements of aging skin.

Tips on taking care of elderly skin

Cleanse ▪ Moisturize ▪ Protect
The Three Steps to Proper Skin Care

1. Make your cleansing routine gentle yet effective.
Because frequent cleaning is an important part of managing incontinence, choose gentle products made to avoid skin breakdown and odor. Use a mild cleanser after elimination occurs, rinse well if the product requires, and gently pat with a clean, dry towel. Cleansing options include soothing lotions and foams, antimicrobial products and convenient no-rinse cleansers.

2. Replenish skin moisture daily.
Frequent cleaning can cause dryness and irritation, and cracked or chafed skin can let in infection-causing bacteria, especially if exposed to urine or stool. After cleansing, replenish with moisturizers formulated to help manage incontinence. Look for alcohol-free, protein-rich ingredients that absorb quickly.

3. Protect and treat damaged skin.
Once skin is cleaned and moisturized, don’t overlook the importance of protecting skin from moisture caused by urine and perspiration. After each elimination, cleanse and dry the skin, then seal it with a protecting yet breathable moisture barrier. Other solutions for problem skin include antifungal ointments and powders to treat yeast infections, and products with natural oils that help the skin re-establish its outer layer.
Other Ways to Help Skin
In addition to following the three steps to proper skin care, choose skin-friendly incontinence products. Today’s pads, shields and disposable underwear are made with skin-friendly features, combining breathable materials with advanced absorbency. Use an Incontinence Product Finder to choose the type of undergarment that fits your lifestyle and incontinence needs. It’s a tool that lets users search by symptoms, size, gender, styles and brands.

                  Watch the video:  How to choose the right incontinence product

And because our skin is a reflection of our habits and nutrition, it’s important to maintain overall good health. For those who don’t get enough nutrition through food alone, such as seniors who may have trouble eating, supplements are available in puddings, powders and juices, for easy swallowing and digestion. A healthy lifestyle also includes exercising, drinking water and wearing sunscreen.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question, or for one-on-one help with products, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST.


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