Skin Care For the Incontinent

Anyone with incontinence
(or if you are a caregiver to someone with this condition),
should learn all they can about skin care for the incontinent. 
Anyone who is experiencing problems with incontinence is at greater risk for having skin problems. Skin is simply not meant to come in contact with urine and fecal matter for prolonged periods of time. This becomes even more crucial when a senior is dealing with this problem since aging skin is more susceptible to breakdown and infection when it comes into contact with urine and fecal matter. These skin issues are more likely to occur around the buttocks, hips, genitals, and the area between the pelvis and rectum (perineum), however, any skin anywhere on the body can be at risk. This makes it crucial that anyone with incontinence (or if you are a caregiver to someone with this condition), should learn all they can about skin care for the incontinent.
It is ironic the necessity for using diapers and other supplies can actually make skin problems much worse. While these products can help to keep bedding and clothing cleaner it can mean the skin of the individual comes into more contact from urine or stool. This can cause the skin to break down. This makes it critical special care is taken to keep the skin clean and dry. Some tips to do this include but are not limited to:

  • Use the highest absorbency adult diaper or other incontinence product you can. Today, manufacturers of these products are working hard to create supplies which will help to wick moisture and other matter away from the skin. While it may take some trial and error to find the right one with some persistence, you can make sure the person who is experiencing this condition is using the most comfortable product possible. There are a number of online sites that offer a wide variety of these products. 
  • Clean skin immediately and thoroughly-It is important when the adult diaper is changed that the skin is cleaned and dried right away. This will help to limit the time the skin has come in contact with any waste materials. If someone is not cleaned right away then the chances increase that a serious problem can occur. Keep in mind skin care consists of three different steps. These steps are: cleaning, moisturizing and protection. There are specific products for each of these steps. 
  • Use the right skin care products-Today, there are products which are specially made to use when incontinence is a problem. These items are made to care for skin in the gentlest manner and yet add a layer of protection. Skin care products that are in the mainstream market may be too harsh to care for delicate skin and help protect it against the effects of being exposed to urine and feces. 
It should be stressed if the person with incontinence develops skin issues he or she should see a doctor immediately. Even a rash which looks mild can quickly develop into something more serious. Many times a simple skin problem can cause skin breakdown which can then become a serious and even life-threatening infection. The easiest way to avoid this is to immediately seek medical attention for any potential skin problem.

Further Reading: 

Clean, Moisturize and Protect Skin to Reduce Risk of Ulcers
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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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