Basic Skin Care for the Adult with Incontinence

Urine and stool are chemical irritants that can destroy the top layer of skin and provide an environment that is ideal for the growth of microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria.

When skin becomes waterlogged from incontinence, it is more susceptible to damage by friction, abrasion and bacteria and is more likely to become ulcerated.

Key Ingredients for Incontinence Products

It is important to use cleansers and moisturizers formulated with ingredients that act to decrease water loss, increase moisture retention, and decrease friction. Soap and skin cleansers with detergent ingredients, such as ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate may do more harm than good. They are very drying, and therefore too harsh for sensitive skin and for the frequent cleansing required for individuals with incontinence.

Ingredients that Work

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as grapeseed oil, soybean oil, kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil and tocopheryl linoeate.
  • Mucopolysaccharides
  • Emollients, such as aloe vera, almond oil, apricot kernel oil, dimethicone copolyol, chamomile extract, arnica extract and calendula extract.
  • Humectants, such as despanthenol, fibronectin, propylene glycol and glycerine.
  • Lubricants and protectants such as dimethicone.

Procedure

Clean the skin as soon as possible after urine or stool comes in contact with the skin. Gentle cleansing with a soft cloth, warm water and specially formulated skin cleanser that minimizes irritation and dryness should be used after each incontinent episode.

Suggested products include:

Moisturize the skin to replenish surface water and help keep the skin soft and supple.

Suggested products include:

Protect the skin by applying a moisture barrier product if the person's skin is raw or irritated, to hold moisture in the skin and help block chemicals found in urine and stool.

Suggested Petrolatum-based Products

Effective moisture barriers to increase moisture retention. However, they do not permit the skin to breathe and should be discontinued when the skin has healed. Products containing Petrolatum include:

Suggested Zinc-Oxide-Based Products

These products are also effective moisture barriers and increase the skin's ability to retain moisture. They do not permit the skin to breathe and should be discontinued when the skin has healed. Products containing Zinc-Oxide include:

Skin Irritation and Infections

If skin is weakened and/or not treated as frequently as necessary, it may require the use of a protective and moisturizing cream that includes an anti-fungal such as Miconazole Nitrate. Suggested products: