Protecting the skin when you have incontinence

Good skin care is essential for people with incontinence and their carers, unfortunately this is sometimes neglected.

Nowadays experts consider skin problems to be a major long-term complication for incontinent persons. Problems include skin irritations, reddening, allergic reactions, “nappy rash”, and dermatitis caused by urine and faeces which can damage the skin.

This can be distressing, uncomfortable and socially isolating and persons suffering from incontinence regard related skin problems as a significant limitation of their quality of life.

Cleanliness every day is necessary to maintain healthy skin, avoid damage, prevent odour and make a person feel comfortable.

What are the main complications related to incontinence and how are they caused?

Inflammation of the skin surface

Usually occurs due to moisture build-up as a result of using conventional airtight materials for the outer layer of continence products. Since the skin constantly loses water to the surrounding via perspiration, it needs air circulation for moisture to evaporate.

If the necessary breathability is not allowed, a moist environment develops, causing the skin surface to become inflamed.

This results in redness (erythema), pain and itching (pruritis) and sometimes swelling and/or blisters, dryness, flaking, or itching. This damaged skin is now vulnerable to infection.

Ageing skin

Ageing skin needs careful daily attention. Generally, it’s much more open to skin problems and is even more fragile than a baby’s skin and therefore requires special attention and the use of products specifically intended for elderly skin.

Creation of ammonia

Bacteria producing ureases start off the decomposition of urea to ammonia. The alkaline characteristics of ammonia attack the skin’s acid protection mantle, damaging the skin and allowing bacteria to overcome the protection barrier. The decomposition of urea to ammonia is also responsible for the intense odour.

Skin irritations/allergies are often triggered by allergenic materials in close contact with the skin. Due to age-related changes, elderly skin is particularly at risk of developing allergies. Since the thickness of the outer layer of skin decreases steadily with age, the skin becomes less able to produce moisture-storing epidermal fats, becoming drier, more flaky and porous. Hence, not only bacteria but also allergens can penetrate more easily into the deeper skin layers. People with a predisposition to allergies may end-up with reactions like nappy rash leading to Eczema.

How can such problems be avoided?

The use of specially designed materials to keep the skin dry is paramount when caring for incontinence sufferers is vital.

Breathable side panels on adult diapers and the breathable textile back sheet on pull-up diapers allow high permeability to air and moisture but not to liquids. Such innovative air active materials stop the skin surface from swelling and stabilize the acid protection mantle, creating a healthy skin climate.

The Molicare® Range of products available in adult diapers and pull-ups, provide secure leakage protection, protect skin from irritation, ensure a high wearing comfort and are easy to use.

When using the right absorbent incontinence products, a lot of quality of life can be given back to people affected.

 The use of Dermatologically Tested, Hypoallergenic Materials is very important when considering that these products are in constant contact with the skin.

If materials used in continence aids have an allergenic potential, contact allergies are inevitable.

Hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested products offer the best possible option of reliably preventing allergic reactions. High quality continence products are put through rigorous testing procedures prior to being declared as “Hypoallergenic”.

Molicare® Skin is a complete cleanse, protect and care range of products for compromised and ageing skin. The range works in combination with continence products to reduce skin irritations and infections without impacting absorbency of continence aids.

 In conclusion, the negative impact can be avoided by using suitable high-quality continence care products and optimized nursing routines. Dealing well with incontinence today means assuring healthy skin as well! Correct advice, management and nursing care of incontinent persons greatly influences their quality of life.

Molicare® Adult Diapers & Pull-ups and Molicare® Skin products are available from pharmacies.