Skin Care... Treatment or Protectant
Issue Two


"A properly fitted appliance is essential to maintaining good skin care"
All skin care products are topical and are designed to serve a particular skin need. Skin care products fit into three classifications.

One group is formulated with the emphasis placed on treating and alleviating existing skin conditions and are classified as antiseptics. Skin products of this nature are Mercurochrome, Merthiolate, Bactine, tincture of benzoin. Only a thin and temporary protective layer is provided.

A second group is a shield or barrier skin protectant designed to cover a selected area. Many of these barriers use karaya, pectin or cellulose based form of skin care. The length of the barrier life is associated with the nature of the service application. Skin barrier products are recommended most often for fecal ileostomy appliance support, but may also be needed for urinary diversion and other types of heavily discharged fluids. Karaya base barriers are excellent for solids applications, but for urine or fluid applications tend to dissolve rapidly. Pectin and cellulose based products hold up longer in both fluid and solids discharge and give the user a longer appliance wear time. However, quite often pectin or cellulose base products will cause a stickiness inside the appliance.

The third class of skin care product are polymers which lay down a plastic coating to soothe skin irritations. Polymers are especially effective in providing a long lasting film barrier to liquids and solids that otherwise would invade and irritate skin area requiring protection. The polymer products provide excellent protective life in both solids and fluid applications and do not leave any sticky residue in the appliance.

Important: Whichever skin care product is used for skin comfort and protection during pouch or other appliance wear, it is essential that the appliance is fitted properly for a snug fit around the stoma and contour of the base plate. Whichever skin care product is used to protect the skin from the enzymes of fecal effluent or the alkaline condition of the urine stream, excessive exposure around the stoma will cause a premature breakdown in the barrier.

Also remember these skin barriers are meant to go directly on the skin. Other skin treatment products should not be applied because they will interfere with proper adherence of the skin barriers.

If the appliance you use cements to the skin, then only apply a snug ring (1/4" to 1/2" wide) of skin barrier around stoma. This will allow the appliance pad to fasten directly and securely to the skin and protect the stoma barrier during any external water situation such as bathing or swimming.

If you have any specific questions or problems in the use of skin barrier products, contact your Enterostomal Therapist (ET) or ostomy care dealer for advice