Essential Skin Care Guidelines for Incontinence

Good skin care is essential for people who have to manage incontinence as they are at greater risk of skin damage. Excess moisture and bacteria from urine and faeces can make skin problems such as redness, irritation, yeast infections, urinary tract infections and even bed sores (pressure sores) more likely (Gray, 2002).

IAD (Incontinence Associated Dermatitis) is an irritant or contact type of skin inflammation that is confined to the continence pad area (Buttocks, hips, genitals and the area between the pelvis and rectum), therefore highlighting the importance of preventative and protective skin care regimes for those who are reliant on continence pads.

Taking Care of Your Skin

Using Continence Pads can actually make skin problems worse as these products tend to keep the urine or faeces in constant contact with the skin (Coven, 2010). Special care must be taken to keep the skin clean and dry.

The following are general guidelines:

Intact Skin - Mild to Severe Incontinence

    • Clean the entire genital area daily, whenever a continence pad is changed or following a significant episode of urinary leakage. Ensure you clean and dry the area right away.
    • Clean the skin with mild cleansers that do not irritate or dry the skin. These products include foams, sprays and wet wipes (individual deposable towelettes).
    • Avoid alkaline soaps and detergents. It is important to ensure the products that you choose maintain the skin pH at 5.5.
    • Consider using a skin sealant or moisture barrier cream to promote good skin integrity.
    • Apply a moisturiser if the skin is dry - avoid products that have alcohol in them, as they may irritate the skin. If you are receiving radiotherapy, ask your health care professional if it is okay to use any creams or lotions (Coven, 2010).
    • Apply a barrier cream or foam if the skin is chapped (reddening) after cleansing. Creams or ointments that contain Zink Oxide, lanolin or petrolatum form a protective barrier on the skin – be cautious that they do not clog the continence aid, reducing its absorption capabilities and leaving the skin wet. Some skin care products (often in form of foam, spray or towelette) will create a clear, protective film over the skin.
    • Even if you use these products, you must always clean the skin after each episode of incontinence. Reapply the product after cleaning and drying the skin.

Faecal Incontinence

      • Clean the entire genital area daily or following an episode of faecal soiling. Once faecal soiling has occurred it is recommended to change the continence pad as soon as possible. Ensure you clean and dry the area right away.
      • Routinely apply a moisture barrier cream or ointment to help protect the skin.

Optimal skin integrity for those who live with incontinence can be achieved by routine perineal skin care that consists of 3 steps: cleansing, moisturising and protection.

The Menalind® Professional Cleansing Range

Menalind Professional Skin Care Range

The Menalind® professional cleansing range by HARTMANN are developed with the input of dermatologists and are buffered at pH 5.5 to protect and maintain the natural acid mantle of the skin. Nourishing ingredients of panthenol, chamomile and skin protecting creatine ensure that skin is cleaned and well cared for while the odour neutralisers keep the skin fresh.

The Menalind® professional protection range has been developed specifically to protect skin under stress due to incontinence and bed confinement by forming an invisible protective barrier on the skin. The nourishing ingredients creatine and panthenol provide a moisturising and soothing effect on the skin.

This must be combined with the application of a continence device that minimizes or prevents exposure of the perineal (genital) skin to urinary or feacal incontinence and at the same time helps facilitate an environment that maintains the natural pH of the skin at 5.5 such as the MoliCare continence range by HARTMANN.

With this combination, existing perineal skin problems may be reversed and further problems can be prevented until an individualized plan for continence management is formulated and implemented (Gray, 2002).


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This article is sponsored by HARTMANN

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Referenced from:

    •  1. Colven R & Zieve D. Skin Care and Incontinence; December 3, 2010. Available at: Accessed January 11, 2012. 
    • 2. Gray M, Ratcliff C, Donovan A. Perineal skin care for the incontinent patient. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2002; 15: 170-175