Why is skin so important?

Skin is the body’s largest organ and its first line of defence, covering and protecting it from damage, infection and drying out. Although it is often taken for granted, the fact is healthy skin reflects a healthy body. If you take good care of your skin, Read more

Skin is the body’s most vital organ and needs to be cared for every day, regardless of age or health. 

What does the skin do?

  • Protection – the skin protects your body and internal organs from injury, and is a barrier to germs and infection
  • Temperature regulation – the skin regulates your body temperature, keeping water inside your body. It also cools your body through perspiration (sweating) when needed
  • Sensation – the skin allows you to feel heat, cold, pain, and touch
  • Secretion – sweat glands in your skin produce oil to lubricate your skin which help to keep it healthy

Healthy skin is:

  • Smooth, with no breaks in the surface
  • Warm, but not hot
  • A reflection of a healthy body

Healthy skin is not:          

  • Red
  • Rough
  • Flaky
  • Itchy
  • Dry
  • Irritated

Our products

Coloplast is dedicated to creating and providing innovative products focused on maintaining and caring for your skin. Our skincare products provide protection for vulnerable skin and address a variety of skin issues. 

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Skin care steps

A few simple steps can help you care for skin and avoid some of the most common skin ailments. Read more about skin care steps

References

(1) Nix D, et al. A review of perineal skin care protocols and skin barrier product use. Ostomy Wound Management. 2004;50(12)59-67.  
(2) European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel  and National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. Prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers: quick reference guide. Washington DC: National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel; 2009.   
(3) Armstrong D, et al. New opportunities to improve pressure ulcer prevention and treatment. Advances in Skin & Wound Care. 2008;21(10)469-78.  
(4) What You Need to Know About™ Skin Cancer. Rockville, MD; National Cancer Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. NIH Publication No. 09-1564. September 2009.

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Regular skin care – including washing, moisturizing, checking and sunscreen protection – can take you a long way towards maintaining healthy skin and avoiding skin problems. 

Step 1: Wash your skin  

  1. Use a mild, pH-balanced skin cleanser and a soft cloth or disposable washcloth to wash your skin. 
  2. Shower or bathe with warm, not hot, water. TIP:  Avoid harsh soaps like bar soap and antimicrobial hand-washing soaps. These can dry the skin and lead to skin breakdown (cf. 1) .  
  3. Pat your skin dry. Do not rub. TIP: Avoid hot water as it removes the natural oils from your skin, leaving it dry and at risk of damage.


Wash your skinPat your skin

Step 2: Moisturize your skin 

  1. Use moisturizing creams or lotions after bathing to avoid dry skin.
  2. Be sure to cover all areas of your body. TIP: Dry skin can lead to skin breakdown (cf. 2). Moisturizing your skin is the best way to avoid problems such as cracking, pain, itching and skin tears. Consider using products made with fewer ingredients, since there is less chance of skin irritation and allergic symptoms (cf. 3).
     
    moisturize your skin

 

Step 3: Check your skin routinely 

  1. Look for changes in color, size and shape of moles. Look for areas that are peeling, red, irritated, cracked or itchy (cf. 4). 
  2. See your doctor or nurse if you notice any of these changes, or if you notice sores that will not heal.

Step 4: Protect your skin from sun damage 

  1. If you’re going outside, be sure to apply sunscreen (cf. 4). 

Coloplast products for general skin care

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Conditions and treatment

Skin folds When skin rubs together in a skin fold and moisture from perspiration becomes trapped inside, a rash called intertrigo can develop. Read more about skin folds

References

(1) Janniger C, et al. Intertrigo and common secondary skin infections. American Family Physician. 2005;72(5)833-838.  
(2) The Joint Commission Perspectives on Patient Safety. 2009;94(7).  
(3) Ionic silver within the textile provides effective antimicrobial action for up to 5 days.  
(4) Mistiaen P, et al. Preventing and treating intertrigo in the large skin folds of adults: a literature overview. Dermatology Nursing. 2004;16(1):43-6, 49-57

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Intertrigo (or intertriginous dermatitis) is a rash that can develop in a skin fold. The condition is common and may affect people from infancy to adulthood. Certain factors increase your risk, such as having diabetes, being overweight, incontinence (unable to control bladder or bowels), wearing incontinence briefs, or being on bed rest.

Perspiration, warmth and friction may cause a skin fold to become red and inflamed. Symptoms such as itching, burning, odor and pain can accompany the redness. These symptoms can also occur under medical devices such as braces or splints, or adjacent to artificial limbs.

 

Common areas for intertrigo

Intertrigo may potentially develop in any skin fold or in areas where there is constant skin-on-skin friction (cf. 1). It may be found: 
 

• Between thighs
• Under the armpit
• Under breasts
• Around belly folds
• Between fingers and toes
• In groin folds
• In neck creases
• Behind the knee
• Adjacent to an artificial limb
• Under a brace or splint

 

Other problems in skin folds

In someone who is incontinent, moisture from urine and stool can get trapped in skin creases. This may be found especially under the buttocks. The condition that develops is not intertrigo, but it is a type of dermatitis that can cause similar problems. When skin or a skin fold is moist and/or damaged, it is prone to infection from bacteria or fungus (cf. 1)

 

How to minimize the risk

For general prevention, patients should try to keep skin folds clean and dry, decreasing moisture and rubbing between folds of skin with a wicking fabric containing silver (cf. 2). InterDry® Ag Textile with Antimicrobial Silver Complex is a wicking textile that removes excess moisture, reduces friction and contains silver to help manage fungal or bacterial infections (cf. 3). It is also recommended that one wear lightweight, loose and absorbent clothing (cf. 4).

 

Caring for your skin 

If intertrigo does develop, consider taking the following steps until the rash disappears:

 

Step 1: Wash the skin fold

  1. Wash gently, using a pH-balanced skin cleanser. Some options include a no-rinse body wash or no-rinse incontinence cleanser.
  2. Pat your skin dry. Do not rub.

wash the skin foldpat your skin

Step 2: Protect your skin

  1. Cut the appropriate size textile with scissors, allowing for a minimum of 2 inches of textile exposure outside the skin fold.
  2. Lay a single layer of textile into the base of the skin fold or under a medical
  3. device such as a brace or splint. Leave at least 2 inches of the textile exposed outside the skin fold or brace/splint. This allows the excess 
    moisture to wick away from the skin fold and evaporate.
  4. Secure the textile in one of several ways: with the weight of the skin fold, with a small amount of tape or tucked into clothing.
  5. Remove the textile before bathing and replace it when finished.
  6. Replace the textile in 5 days or if it becomes soiled with urine or stool.
    protect your skin skin fold textile


Patients should be sure to check their skin every day. They should look for rashes, redness, open areas; and inspect all skin folds, or under devices that rub against the skin.

 

Coloplast products for intertrigo 

  • Bedside-Care® Foam – pH-balanced, no-rinse cleanser
  • InterDry® Ag Textile with Antimicrobial Silver Complex – The first effective solution for skin fold management. A wicking textile impregnated with silver to manage moisture, friction and fungal or bacterial infections3 in skin folds.
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Dry skin Dry skin is often thought of as unimportant and can be overlooked. However, if the epidermis is either too moist or too dry, it may be less able to resist infections, friction and shear injuries. Read more about dry skin

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Dry skin is a common problem caused by loss of the skin’s natural moisturizers, leading to epidermal water loss. The environment plays an important role in this water loss. During winter, or with the use of central heating or air conditioning, skin loses moisture more readily. Similarly, frequent bathing or using harsh soap product may increase the risk of dry skin.

Dry skin is most often found on the lower legs and feet and less often on the trunk of the body or hands. The skin may be scaling and flaking, it may appear dull with a grey whitish discoloration, or you may see increased skin markings or lines. In severe cases, deep cracks, warmth, pain and redness may be evident. The presence of rough, uneven or cracked skin indicates a need for intervention.

Dry skin can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.  It is more easily eliminated or controlled when in the mild to moderate stages.

 

dry skin

 

Caring for dry skin

Dry skin, or xerosis, requires proper care just as moist skin does. Choosing the best type of moisturizer is important. For instance, water-based moisturizers require frequent application and often with little improvement.  More effective oil-based creams and lotions trap moisture in the skin and require less frequent application.
Follow the steps below to care for your dry skin:

Step 1: Wash your skin 

  1. Gently cleanse the skin with a mild, pH-balanced skin cleanser and a soft cloth or disposable washcloth.
  2. Pat your skin dry. Do not rub.

Step 2: Moisturize your skin

  1. Apply moisturizing creams or lotions after bathing as needed.

Coloplast products for treating dry skin

 

 

 

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Pressure ulcers Pressure ulcers can be painful, but they are treatable and often preventable. Why pressure ulcers occur

References

European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. Prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers: quick reference guide. Washington DC: National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel; 2009.  Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses Society. Guideline for prevention and management of pressure ulcers. WOCN Clinical Practice Guideline Series. Mt Laurel, NJ; 2010.

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A pressure ulcer, also called a bedsore or pressure sore, is an injury to the skin caused by constant pressure. Pressure ulcers form when blood flow to the area slows or stops. This causes small portions of the tissue to die, and an ulcer develops.

Pressure ulcers typically form over bony parts of the body. Damage to skin can occur when these bony parts of the body press against a hard surface. Hard surfaces include beds, chairs or even medical devices, such as a brace or splint.

Where do pressure ulcers occur?

  • Head
  • Shoulder
  • Base of spine
  • Bottom
  • Heels
  • Toes

Where do pressure ulcers occur?
© NPUAP 2008. Used with permission.

 

What are the risk factors?

There are a variety of risk factors:

  • Limited mobility
  • Lying in a bed or sitting in a chair for long periods of time
  • Frequently sliding down in bed
  • Being pulled across a bed during position change
  • Dry skin
  • Skin exposed to urine, stool or perspiration
  • Decreased mental awareness
  • Decreased feeling or sensation
  • Poor nutrition
  • Blood flow problems

How to minimize the risk

Follow the few basic steps below to help prevent pressure ulcers from occurring. 

 

Step 1: Protect your skin

check your skin

  1. Check your skin every day, including skin folds. Look for any areas of redness and irritation. Use a mirror to view areas that are hard to see, such as the bottom of the feet.
  2. Use moisturizers to prevent dry skin.
  3. Do not massage bony areas. This may damage the skin.
  4. If skin is wet or soiled from urine or stool:
    – Wash your skin immediately with a pH-balanced, no-rinse skin cleanser. Pat skin dry.
    – Apply a moisture barrier ointment, cream or paste to protect the skin.
  5. If using an absorbent pad or brief for incontinence, change it when it becomes soiled or wet. Avoid products with a plastic lining.

 

 

 

Step 2: Prevent pressure

For people confined to bed: 

  1. Use a mattress specially made to reduce pressure.
  2. Turn or reposition often.
  3. Do not lie on a reddened area of skin, or on medical devices, such as tubes or drainage systems.
  4. Raise the head of the bed as little as possible, since a steeper angle can put more pressure on the tailbone area. Avoid slouched positions.
  5. Avoid being positioned directly on bony areas.
  6. Make sure you’re lifted, not dragged, when changing positions. Sliding or dragging can injure the skin.
  7. Keep clothing and bed linens dry, smooth and wrinkle-free.
  8. Protect your elbows and heels. Use a pillow under the calves to lift your heels up off of the mattress.
    Pillow angleElevated heels 

For someone in a chair or wheelchair:

  1. Use a cushion specially made to reduce pressure.
  2. Shift your weight often by doing small lifts, leaning forward and shifting your weight from side to side.

 

Step 3: Eat well

Nutrition is important.

  1. Calories, protein and fluids all help to keep you healthy and to protect your skin from injury.
  2. Let your doctor or nurse know if you are having problems eating or if you notice that you’re losing weight. They may suggest liquid nutritional supplements.

Caring for pressure ulcers

For pressure ulcers to heal, the wound must be kept clean, free of dead tissue and covered with a special dressing. Dead tissue is yellow, black or brown in color and can lead to infection.

 

Step 1: Clean the wound

Regular cleaning of the wound is important to aid in healing.

  1. Wash and dry your hands.
  2. Gently clean the wound with each dressing change using a saline solution or wound cleanser.
  3. Rinse the area well to remove any loose material or dead tissue.
    wash your handsclean the wound 

Step 2: Cover the wound

Special wound care dressings are used to cover and protect the wound. Wound care dressings either keep the wound moist or absorb drainage, or both.

apply a dressing to the wound

  1. Apply a dressing to the wound.
  2. The type of dressing can vary: some dressings cover the wound and some are used to fill deep wounds. Your nurse or doctor will give you specific instructions.
  3. Wash and dry your hands.

 

How do I know if my pressure ulcer is getting better?

The wound will begin to get smaller as it heals. You should begin to see new tissue, which is shiny red or pink in color. If your wound had any drainage, there will be less drainage as it heals.

 

When should I call my doctor or nurse?

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you notice any signs or symptoms of infection.


Signs of an infected wound include:

  • Redness or warmth near the wound
  • Swelling and tenderness near the wound
  • Thick, yellow or green drainage
  • Strong odor coming from the wound
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Lack of energy 
     

Coloplast products for pressure ulcers

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Incontinence-related skin ailments One potentially serious side-effect of incontinence is skin damage. Find out what you can do to care for your skin if you do experience incontinence. How incontinence affects the skin

References

(1) Nix D, et al. A review of perineal skin care protocols and skin barrier product use. Ostomy Wound Management. 2004;50(12)59-67.  
(2) Hoggarth A, et al. Ostomy Wound Management. A controlled, three-part trial to investigate the barrier function and skin hydration properties of six skin protectants. 2005;51(12)30-42.

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Incontinence is the difficulty or inability to control your bladder (urine) or bowel (stool). The ailment is common, but those who experience it are often too embarrassed to ask for help.

Although incontinence is more common in the elderly population, it is not part of the normal aging process. Urinary incontinence may be caused by medical problems such as weak pelvic muscles, diabetes or an enlarged prostate gland. It can also be caused by certain medications. Common causes of fecal incontinence include constipation, diarrhea or damage to the anal sphincter muscles from giving birth. It can also be caused by an improper diet or certain medications.

Whatever the cause, see your doctor or nurse if you experience incontinence. Treatments are available that may help address the impact incontinence may have on your skin.

 

 

How incontinence affects the skin

If you ever experience incontinence, it is very important to know how to protect your skin from damage. Skin provides our first line of defense against germs and infection. Long-term exposure to moisture from urine or stool can cause the skin to soften, weakening the skin’s ability to serve as a protective barrier.

With frequent incontinence, skin problems may occur. Typical symptoms are redness, burning and irritation around the buttocks, rectum, groin or between the thighs. If there is persistent moisture from urine and stool, it increases the risk for infection or skin breakdown.

 

Caring for your skin

If you experience incontinence-related skin problems, follow the steps below to ensure proper skin care.

Step 1: Clean your skin

  1. Remove and throw away the briefs, pad or other soiled material.
  2. Wash your skin each time it has been soiled. Use a pH-balanced, no-rinse skin cleanser.
    TIP: Avoid harsh soaps like bar soap and antimicrobial hand-washing soaps. These can dry the skin and lead to skin breakdown. (cf. 1)
  3. Gently clean the area from front to back using a soft washcloth or disposable soft cloth.
  4. Pat your skin dry. Do not rub.

 wash your skinPat your skin

Step 2: Protect your skin

A skin protectant is a moisture barrier cream, ointment or paste. It is used to protect your skin from urine and stool.  Most skin protectant ointments contain petrolatum, dimethicone, zinc oxide or a combination of these ingredients. (cf. 2)

  1. Apply a thin, even layer of skin protectant.
  2. Some people use absorbent underpads, or briefs. Change pad or brief after it has been soiled. Avoid products that have a plastic lining.

apply skin protectant

Contact your doctor or nurse if symptoms do not improve or your condition worsens.

 

Coloplast products for incontinence-related skin ailments

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Symptom and treatment guide

Incontinence-related issues Incontinence-related issues Symptoms: Inflammation and erythema, with or without erosion or denudation Recommended Solutions

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Symptoms

Inflammation and erythema, with or without erosion or denudation.

 

Recommended Solutions

  1. Use a urinary and/or fecal containment device. Consider using a Male External Catheter (Conveen® Optima) for men.
  2. Use the toilet at least every 2 hours, as appropriate.
  3. Cleanse skin at time of soiling with a gentle no-rinse cleanser (Bedside-Care® Foam).
  4. Apply a protective moisture barrier ointment (Critic-Aid® Clear or Baza Cleanse & Protect® Lotion) to the affected area.
  5. Apply a topical antifungal treatment (Critic-Aid Clear AF or Baza® Antifungal), if needed.
  6. Consider using under pads or briefs that are absorbent.

 

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Skin fold rash (intertrigo) Skin fold rash (intertrigo) Symptoms: Erythema, itching, maceration, erosion and odor (possible satellite lesions) Recommended Solutions

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Symptoms

Erythema, itching, maceration, erosion and odor (possible satellite lesions)

 

Recommended Solutions

  1. Gently cleanse the skin fold daily with a pH-balanced, no-rinse skin cleanser. (Bedside® Care Foam Bedside-Care EasiCleanse™ Bath)
  2. Pat dry or air dry.
  3. Place InterDry® Ag in the skin fold or under the medical device.
  4. Allow 2 inches to be exposed to the air.
  5. Date and initial InterDry Ag.
  6. Reposition as needed.
  7. Replace if soiled with urine, stool or blood.
  8. Discard after 5 days of use.

 

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Dry skin Dry skin Symptoms: Dry, scaly, itchy, red skin; fissures and cracks; pruritus. Recommended Solutions

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Symptoms

Dry, scaly, itchy, red skin; fissures and cracks; pruritus.

 

Recommended Solutions

  1. Gently wash with a pH-balanced cleanser (Bedside-Care® Foam or EasiCleanse™ Bath Cloths).
  2. Apply moisturizer to skin at least daily and PRN  (Sween® 24).
  3. To exfoliate extremely dry/pressured skin, such as heels use moisturizer with urea and lactic acid (Atrac-Tain® Cream).

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