Barrier creams an important part of protecting aging skin

As the largest human organ, skin covers our entire body and acts as a natural protective shield. The skin maintains the body’s internal environment and temperature as well as guarding against irritants and infectious agents. Our skin becomes more vulnerable as we age. Medications and chronic health conditions, such as incontinence, can put aging skin at risk for damage. Damaged skin could lead to several problems, including infections, skin breakdown and pressure injuries. When the skin is damaged, the total well being of an older person is at risk. Moisture is a common culprit behind skin damage. Too much moisture can weaken the skin’s integrity and make it more susceptible to infection. Barrier creams play an important part in helping to manage the possible damage that moisture can cause older adult skin.

Incontinence can cause skin problems that need treatment and extra care. Feces and urine are caustic substances, meaning that they can cause irritation, inflammation and even skin breakdown. When skin is exposed to caustic substances and moisture it can cause maceration, dermatitis, pressure injuries and bacterial and fungal infections. Laura Berenato, regional account manager for Turenne PharMedCo Medical Supply Services, says barrier creams act as a shield to protect skin from breakdown due to incontinence and extended exposure to moisture. Barrier creams not only help protect against skin breakdown, but they help protect and heal existing injuries like skin tears. Creams with menthol- based formulas offer a soothing cooling feel on the skin, while calamine-based barriers help with moisture-associated dermatitis and aid in drying macerated skin. There are also creams that are lanolin-based, which is a natural moisture barrier made from sheep’s wool. Dimethicone is a silicone-based barrier and is often a thinner consistency than lanolin. Barrier creams that contain zinc oxide can also work to repair dry skin and protect it from irritation and friction.

Common incontinence related skin conditions

Incontinence dermatitis, or diaper rash, is when the skin becomes irritated due to overexposure to moisture. This type of dermatitis can cause pinkness or redness in a small or large area where a personal care item like adult briefs or pull-ups touch. It may also cause flaking and dry, raised bumps or pustules. It can cause pain, burning or itching in the affected areas. Keeping the skin in and around adult briefs and pull-ups clean and dry and regular use of barrier creams can help clear up incontinence dermatitis. Incontinent adults, especially those with mobility issues, can also be vulnerable to fungal infections. Fungal infections thrive in warm, moist and dark areas like personal care items such as adult briefs and absorbent pads. Fungal infections look like a skin rash, are raised from the skin and can appear as bright red, itchy patches on the skin. They may cause a burning sensation on the affected area and surrounding skin. Fungal infections may also worsen skin maceration because macerated skin will break down faster than healthy skin. Barrier creams that include anti-fungal ingredients work to stop the growth of the fungi while protecting the skin from moisture.

Incontinence makes aging skin more vulnerable. However, barrier creams are an important part of personal care that is also preventative. They keep unwanted moisture and other irritants from coming into direct contact with the skin. Barrier creams, coupled with keeping skin clean and dry, can protect incontinent adults from the complications of infections and skin injuries.

Turenne PharMedCo Medical Supply Services carries a wide range of personal care products, including barrier creams. Our friendly and helpful staff is waiting to help you fulfill your skin care needs. Call us at 1-866-710-7626. 

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