Stoma Skin Care Tips and Products
From the moment a stoma procedure has concluded, skin care becomes a top priority for patients. It’s critical in the days, weeks, and even short months after the procedure, but it can remain to be an ongoing challenge for decades to follow unless patients lock into a regime that protects their skin. And when the latter happens, it will become as habitual as any other health and wellness routine in one’s life.
Unfortunately most ostomates have yet to develop an unbreakable system for stoma skin care. The United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) reports that approximately 75 percent of ostomates experience peristomal skin complications (PSC). If you’re reading this content, there’s a good chance that you’re one of them. The good news, is that you’ve come to the right place. As America’s one-stop resource for ostomy supplies and information we are here to answer your questions about stoma skin care so that you (and your skin) can live complication-free.
5 – Step Guide to Managing the Health of the Skin Surrounding Your Stoma
1. Knowing How to ID Healthy (and Unhealthy) Peristomal Skin
If you recently received a stoma you are probably not yet versed in what to expect when it comes to the appearance and overall health of peristomal skin. You may assume that redness, itchiness, and irritation are simply costs of living with a stoma. This is not the case.
The skin around your stoma should fundamentally have the same appearance as the skin on the other side of your abdomen, assuming you have no unrelated skin condition such as eczema. It should be smooth and irritation-free. If your skin fails to return to its pre-procedure texture and appearance, or if it becomes irritated months or years later, you need to make adjustments with either your appliance, skin care products, diet, or in some instances – all of the above.
2. Choosing the Right Appliances (for Colostomates, Ileostomates, Urostomates)
A poorly fitting stoma pouch and/or flange is typically the leading cause PSC. Therefore, you will need to choose an ostomy bag that fits your distinct counters and overall skin sensitivity.
In general, colostomates should choose closed, non-drainable, pouches. Ileostomates should use high-quality drainable stoma bags. Urostomates are best suited to transparent (for quick inspection) drainable bags. Drainable pouches reduce the frequency of which you need to remove the appliance, which effectively limits the potential for irritation. View more on how to choose your stoma appliance.
In addition, you should only purchase pouches and accessories with a more malleable fit. This is no grey area, as there are specific products on the U.S. market that have patented technologies that deliver the pliability you need. Coloplast is one of these market leaders. Their BodyFit materials adhere to your natural body movements while maintaining optimal adhesion throughout the day – no matter how active you are, or plan to be.
Convatec and Hollister also employ patented technologies to prevent and manage PSC. For instance, Hollister pouches infuse barriers with ceraminde, which offer wearers enhanced skin-protection.
Simply put, your first line of defense against stoma skin complications is to choose the right equipment. InnerGood USA has performed the due diligence for you to ensure that you are receiving the best stoma appliances on the market.
3. Use Stoma-Specific Skin Care Products
The common skin care products that you find in the aisle at CVS and Walgreens are not intended for the management of your stoma. Stop using them right away, and replace them with supplies that are specifically intended for your peristomal skin, even if you’re not currently exhibiting signs of irritation. Given their niche application you will need to shop for them online.
What should you add to your virtual shopping cart? For one, a skin crack care formula and natural body powder. For prevention or irritation caused by adhesives and waste leakage, use a protective liquid skin barrier in addition to skin adhesive sprays and wipes and skin barrier sprays and wipes. If you’re using surgical tape to secure an appliance, use a hypoallergenic roll with a gentle adhesive. Once again, InnerGood USA has taken trial and error out of the equation, and provided a list of recommended stoma skin care products right here.
4. Skin Complication Healing and Prevention from the Inside Out
Nutrition plays a significant role in peristomal skin care. What you consume (or don’t consume) impacts immune function, collagen synthesis, and wound tensile strength, all of which are important to PSC prevention.
For one, antioxidants are essential in the prevention and repair of skin irritation. Omega-3 EPA and DHA essential fatty acids also play an important role in maintaining the health of the skin surrounding your stoma. In addition Vitamin C (for collagen synthesis), Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, zinc, copper, and magnesium are also considered essential skin health nutrients by many. InnerGood does not yet ship natural health products (NHPs) to the 50 U.S. states (stay tuned!) so for now you can fulfill your nutritional needs with a trip to your local grocer and NHP retailer.
5. Regular Visits with Your Physician
Regular consultation with your physician is one of the best ways to maintain optimal stoma skin care health. They will help you identify areas for concern, make recommendations, and monitor your progress as you try new appliances, products, foods, and supplements.
If you have any questions about peristomal skin care, feel free to contact InnerGood today, and remember to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for future updates that are relevant to you.