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Cleaning and Protecting Perineal Skin

Cleaning and Protecting Perineal Skin

By Kevin Cleary

An important part of any incontinence skin care program is maintaining a clean perineal area. As it turns out, our skin does not like to be perpetually wet or moist but incontinence does just that. It can leave our skin often exposed or in contact with urine and that can cause skin issues that lead to potentially dangerous breakdowns.

Don’t Be Embarrassed

The areas of the perineum include skin that is in the area of our genitals and can be an embarrassing topic for both patient and caretaker. For those who suffer from incontinence, the care of this area can be critical to avoiding major skin issues down the road so maintaining a professional approach can help overcome any embarrassing moments. Once that obstacle is overcome, detailing a perineal skin care program can be coordinated with your doctor or nurse and may include:

  • Perineal Wash: Taking care of the sensitive skin in this area requires special products. They need to be sensitive on the skin and many do not require rinsing. The AprilFresh Perineum Wash is very gentle on the skin, does not require rinsing, and has a light orchid scent. Rich in lanolin, it replenishes natural skin oils. Many of these washes are pH balanced for the sensitive areas. The Coloplast Bedside-Care Perineal Wash is an antiseptic cleanser and deodorizer which are great for odor control with no dyes or fragrances. Since it has no alcohol it will not dry the sensitive skin. The ease of no rinse washes makes skincare a snap. Products such as the Medline Soothe and Cool Foaming No-Rinse Perineal Wash easily controls application quantities to minimize waste and makes cleanup simple.

  • Cleansing Foams: One way to effectively clean and protect your perineal area is to make sure application of any product stays where it should and foams offer that to patients suffering from incontinence. The DermaRite 3-N-1 Cleansing Foam is pH balanced, gentle, and easy to use while containing aloe vera to keep skin healthy. The benefit of foam cleansers is that they don’t run or drip and the use of Elta pH-Balanced Cleansing Foam stays in place even if the patient is on their side. Many foam cleansers feature antimicrobial benefits and the Smith & Nephew Secura Total Body Foam Cleanser offers just that while aiding in the removal of urine and feces in the perineal area. The high density foam does not run and is pediatrician tested.

  • Barrier Cream/Lotion: Once you have cleaned and dried your perineal area, creating a barrier against future moisture and skin breakdown is imperative. These creams or lotions can help provide effective protection against urine and feces. The Convatec Sensi-Care Protective Barrier Cream uses petrolatum and zinc oxide to help against any skin irritation due to incontinence. Creating a barrier can help avoid serious skin breakdowns. Using Coloplast Critic Aid Thick Moisture Barrier Skin Paste regularly can provide temporary relief from irritation or burning in the perineal area brought on by severe incontinence. It is easy to apply and remove and is CHG compatible.

  • Wipes: When cleaning the sensitive skin of the perineal area, using the appropriate wipe is critical. Avoiding wipes that have alcohol and can dry and crack skin is a good rule of thumb. Medline Aloetouch SELECT Premium Spunlace Personal Cleansing Wipes are designed so that soaps are not necessary. They clean and moisturize while soothing delicate skin. One should look for wipes that contain skin friendly ingredients such as aloe or vitamin E to clean delicate perineal skin. Premoistened wipes, such as the Tena Ultra Washcloths , are extra soft and alcohol free for a rinse free cleaning experience.

Adherence to a program dedicated to helping maintain dry skin can help those suffering from every level of incontinence, whether it’s just a leak to full loss of bladder control. A skincare problem can lead to serious medical problems down the road, so heading them off means establishing a skincare routine with your doctor or nurse and making sure any caregiver is up to speed.

 

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