Caring for your skin
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY SYLVIE HAMPTON
What is the
BEST WAY TO CARE FOR YOUR SKIN?
Over-exposure to moisture can cause the skin to become macerated (waterlogged), which makes the skin very fragile. Incontinence and high levels of wound exudate is a widespread problem in all health care settings and one of the main complications of this over moistened tissue is inflammation of the skin. Some skin cleansers contain emollients to help moisturise skin and avoid drying and, therefore, areas of incontinence or macerated wounds can be washed with:
Emolients (not aqueous cream)
Effective, cleansers that are produced particularly for incontinence or a body wash that doesn't have to be rinsed away.
There is a “protective acid mantle” of the skin where the pH is very low. This helps prevent the invasion of bacteria, yeast, and fungus. A break in the skin can cause a rise in the pH and this encourages bacteria. It can take up to 45 minutes for the skin to return to the normal pH after washing with soap and water. Therefore, soaps and cleansers that do not support this ‘acid mantle’ should be avoided.
Faecal incontinence has a more dramatic effect on the skin than urinary (Le Lievre, 2002) and chronic wounds with high protease activity can cause devastation to surrounding skin but not in acute wounds. When both urine and faeces come into contact with the skin they change the natural pH, making it alkaline and ensuring a natural breeding ground for bacteria.
The best ‘treatment’ for skin problems is prevention whether that is against incontinence moisture lesions or wounds that cause maceration.
avoid perfumed moisturisers
avoid talcum powder
avoid certain barrier creams as they can interfere with the absorbency of any continence pad or will prevent adherence of dressings.
There are excellent barrier ointments and films that will protect the skin and will allow adherence of dressings and not interfere with the absorbency of any continence pads.
Keeping the skin clean and dry is the only way to prevent moisture lesions and maceration.
For more information on pressure care please contact us.