At the best of times the human skin is a very delicate organ which takes a constant battering from the elements, our clothes, dust and dirt etc. However, as ostomates we also face the added problems which we need to remain vigilant about, and treat should they start to cause any issues.
Factors which affect the ostomate’s skin integrity can include the following:
One thing is for sure, sore skin can become a very nasty problem if left untreated. But thankfully, as with most problems the ostomates face, there are products out there to help which have been designed specifically with the ostomate in mind. The most popular products being ostomy barrier creams and skin wipes (sometimes referred to as second skin wipes)
For example, there is the LBF range of products which were recently launched by CliniMed, that includes both a barrier cream and a skin wipe within its ranks. And like most products of its type the range provides a protective barrier against faeces and urine leakage, which in turn helps prevent further damage to sore or fragile skin whilst also helping to restore skin integrity and keep the skin healthy and intact.
Barrier creams do not have to be limited to just the peristomal skin area. Let’s say you have a sore bum from wound leakage, barrier creams can help ease the pain from that situation too. Speaking from personal experience when I had my rectum removed I caught MRSA in the anal wound and it took years to heal, and was constantly leaking. The area between my buttons was incredibly sore and red, so much so I couldn’t lie on my back when in bed at one point. Thankfully my stoma nurse was on the case and barrier cream was applied and it certainly made my life easier until the wound stopped leaking.
The 100g LBF Barrier Cream Tubeby CliniMed
The LBF Barrier Cream is very much representative of what the peak of medical science is offering ostomates in terms of active skin barrier products. It has a 12 hour waterproof formulation, which provides you with long lasting protection and thus reduces the amount of applications required, as well as any distress this may cause for the patient.
Available in 100g and 30g tubes, as well as handy 2g sachets, the LBF Barrier Cream also has a skin friendly formulation which is free of so many things it leaves me wondering how there can be anything left to put in the tube! It’s latex free, alcohol free, fragrance free, non-greasy and pH balanced which is ideal for sensitive skin, or for people who don’t want to be able to feel the product on their skin after application. After all, there’s nothing worse than slapping on some skin cream and spending the rest of the day repeatedly washing your hands because you feel like you’ve stuck your fingers in a tub of lard and cannot get rid of the grease.
Most importantly for ostomates though, any good quality barrier cream will not impact on the adhesion of your flange to your skin, or of any dressings, medical devices etc., neither will it block the absorbency of any incontinence pads you may be wearing. This is partly down to the product being non-greasy as I’ve just mentioned, but also because it’s a highly concentrated cream meaning you only need a tiny amount to cover the skin which your flange sticks on. The cream also has a balanced consistency so it’s neither too thick, nor too thin, and it doesn’t lose that balance as you work your way through the tube.
To apply a barrier cream to the peristomal skin area (the skin which the flange sticks to) firstly thoroughly cleanse the area, removing any adhesive residue, faeces or urine stains etc. Then dry the skin thoroughly. Once the skin is perfectly dry apply a tiny amount of the cream and rub in gently until the product has vanished. In the case of the LBF Barrier Cream this will only be a few seconds.
Any barrier cream can be reapplied as required, or after each episode of pouch leakage etc. without the need to remove the previous layer first.
Barrier Wipes are a slightly different product. As the name suggests it is a wipe-based medium, and is a liquid film rather than a cream. It is also, most importantly, more of a preventative than a cure. Use of a barrier wipe would be recommended for anyone who has vulnerable skin, regardless of age.
When applied to the skin, barrier wipes leave a film layer protecting your skin which is microscopically thick but very strong at protecting your skin from leakage and/or adhesive reactions.
CliniMed’s LBF Barrier Wipes
When looking for a skin wipe (or barrier cream) product there is one important thing you should check out before applying the product – is it alcohol free? In my early years as an ostomate (15 years ago at the time of writing this) a lot of skin wipes contained alcohol, and if you applied them on sore skin then you really knew about it as it felt as if it was burning like a barbeque sausage, and you’d be hopping around the bathroom letting out Morse code-like “oo’s” and “aah’s” through gritted teeth, which were punctuated with the occasional swear word. It was horrific.
But, thankfully, there’s a big range of alcohol free skin products available now, which includes CliniMed’s LBF No Sting Skin Barrier Wipes and LBF Barrier Cream. So, you can apply them safe in the knowledge that you won’t be doing the “bathroom hop” when you apply it to your skin.
Likewise the LBF Barrier Wipes are also sterile so they will not interfere with any wound healing which you may have going on in the application area. They are clinically proven to be suitable for even the most sensitive skin, and thanks to the silicone formulation they will not interfere with adhesion of your stoma pouches, or the absorbency of incontinence pads.
As with the barrier creams you firstly need to thoroughly cleanse and dry the application area. Once dry, apply the wipe evenly over the skin, and allow it to drive for a few seconds. Personally, I like to “waft” a bit of cardboard or paper over it to help it dry, but that’s not a requirement; just my own personal little quirk when using barrier wipes. Should you miss any areas of the skin when applying the wipe, wait for the first coat to dry, and then re-apply in the area that’s been missed. If you need to apply the wipe to an area where the skin folds onto itself (belly crease, etc.) then carefully separate the two skin areas, and apply the product to each area independently, allowing the skin to dry between each application.
Any barrier wipe can be reapplied as required, or after each episode of pouch leakage etc. without the need to remove the previous layer first. The existing layer will wear off naturally.
If you think you’d like to give the LBF Barrier Cream or LBF No Sting Skin Barrier Wipes a try, why not ask for some free samples from CliniMed (UK), Fannin (Ireland) or Welland Medical (North America). The contact details are below.
Freephone: 0800 036 0100
Telephone: 028 90 735588
Here is a selection of some other barrier wipes available from the larger manufacturers. I’ve listed these rather than the products from some of the smaller companies (who do produce excellent creams too) purely because I’m trying to consider our international audience as well as our home UK readership. Please check out our Manufacturer: Accessories section for details of the smaller companies who also produce barrier creams.
Coloplast Skin Barrier Cream:
Dansac Skin Crème:
Here is a selection of some other barrier wipes available from the larger manufacturers. Again, I’ve listed these rather than the wipes from some of the smaller companies (who do produce excellent wipes too) purely because I’m trying to consider our international audience as well as our home UK readership. Please check out our Manufacturer: Accessories section for details of the smaller companies who also produce barrier wipes.
Coloplast Brava Skin Barrier Wipe:
ConvaTec ConvaCare Wipes:
Dansac Skin Protector:
CliniMed Company Website:
Ostomyland’s CliniMed page:
SOS – Save Our Skin
(LBF Barrier Cream & LBF No Sting Barrier Wipes)
– Healthcare Professional Information Pack
– Patient Information Leaflet
Both the HPIP and the PIL are written and produced by CliniMed (UK).
Jason D. has been a colostomate since 1997 and founded Ostomyland in 1998 after being frustrated at the lack of information he could find out about the procedure before surgery. He lives in the UK where he has a love of Westie’s and a is a huge fan of the Broadway musical Avenue Q (in which his favourite character is Trekkie Monster). You can find Ostomyland on the Google+, Facebook and Twitter social networks.
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