Chaffed, Cracked Skin. How to Get Back to Healthy

How to get back to healthy skin.
Are you an individual or caregiver to an individual who suffers from urinary or fecal incontinence? If so chances are you have experienced chaffed, cracked skin at some point or another. 

Unhealthy skin due to incontinence is not surprising, but it is avoidable and treatable. The following is a look at what leads to unhealthy skin, and how to get back to healthy, treat, and protect the skin. 

There are a few main factors that lead to chaffed, cracked, and unhealthy skin in an incontinent individual. The first is a change in the skin’s pH, the second is prolonged wetness, and a third is friction.
Normal skin has a pH between 5.4 and 5.9. When skin is exposed to urine and feces, the ammonium hydroxide produced by skin being exposed to urine and the bacterial in fecal matter raise the skin pH and lead to a greater increase in bacterial growth. Both urine and feces contain enzymes and organic solutes that can degrade the skin.

Elderly individuals produce less sebum then those with younger skin. Dehydrated skin due to depletion of natural oils (sebum) and the defense system being overburdened, leads to chaffing and cracking skin. Using soap to cleanse the skin can further remove sebum, leaving the skin exposed to the damaging effects of moisture and prolonged wetness. Sebum is a lipid based substance that provides a waterproofing layer to the skin. A specially formulated skin cleanser is a better option. When an individual is incontinent, even when the best absorbent supplies are used, their skin will be exposed to more wetness. If a product is not used to act as a barrier to their wetness, it can lead to drying, chaffing, cracked, and irritated skin.

Frequent washing and drying can lead to frictional damage. Having ill-fitting absorbent products, and skin that is too hydrated (maceration), or under hydrated, can all increase skin breakdown cased by frictional damage.

So what is the solution? The best solution is three part:

1. Find the best absorbent products for your body and needs. You can use The Incontinence Product Finder to help sort through the wide variety of options.

2. Change absorbent products regularly. This will reduce exposure to wetness, and give you a chance to cleanse the skin with a pH balanced cleanser, and protect the skin with ointments and other products to promote healing and health.

3. Adopt a skin care regimen that promotes healthy skin, if your skin is chafed or cracked, the best options are to moisturize and protect. Consider using Lantiseptic Daily Care Skin Protectant to keep skin healthy and hydrated. And protect with Lantiseptic Skin Protectant to create a superior environment for the healing process. Learn more about what Lantiseptic has to offer, and how to maintain skin integrity and health. 

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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