If you or your loved one suffers from incontinence, skin health should be a concern. Skin that has prolonged exposure to urine and feces often experiences breakdown and damage. This may be in the form of ulcers, maceration, rashes, irritation, dermatitis, or something else. Education of at-risk patients and their families is the most productive way to prevent skin break down. Moisturize and protect skin by knowing how to prevent breakdown, and by using the right skin care products.
1. Identify your risk factor.
Those who are elderly have higher risk. They produce less sebum, which is the skin’s natural protectant against excessive moisture. Those with diabetes are at higher risk, as they often experience reduced blood flow to the extremities, which compromises skin health, and leads to higher risk of skin tears, cracking, calluses, digital sclerosis and IAD. Those who are incontinent have increased risk. Incontinence causes damage to skin due to prolonged exposure to urine and feces. Feces often have bacteria that result in skin breakdown, and urine changes the pH of the skin.
2. Change position and absorbent products regularly.
The skin can become damaged by too much pressure to a given area, especially if that area is already compromised by prolonged exposure to moisture, feces, or urine. Thus, it is important to change an immobile individuals position at least every two hours, and look for ways to reduce pressure on them, such as low air-loss mattress systems, cushions, padding, pillows, and the like. In addition to changing position frequently, absorbent products should also be changed with frequency. Each time a product is soiled, it should be changed, and the skin cleansed. This will reduce exposure to urine and feces, and help keep skin dry.
3. Give your body what it needs for healthy skin.
While the right products are important it is also important to eat a healthy well-balanced diet, and stay hydrated. Many who are incontinent will drink less fluids in order to help reduce leaks, but this can lead to dry, cracked skin. Getting enough fluids is vital to skin health.
4. Set up a good skin care protocol, and follow it.
Following good skin care, including inspecting the skin every day and keeping skin clean and dry. Incontinent people need to take also be careful to select products that promote skin health by wicking away moisture, and helping keep skin dry. Use a gentle cleanser, a moisturizer, and a protective ointment.
Lantiseptic offers a line of products designed for skin health for elderly with incontinence.
Exercise is important to keeping skin healthy by improving blood flow. It is important to participate in daily exercise, including range-of-motion exercises.