The skin around the stoma (also called peristomal skin) should look the same as healthy skin in other places on your body. It is not normal for it to be reddened, irritated, broken, or painful. One of the biggest challenges for ostomates is maintaining healthy peristomal skin and keeping it free from irritation. Some of the obstacles can include leakage, skin barrier adherence and mechanical trauma.
As many as 77% of people experience skin complications around their stoma. At Hollister, we think you deserve better. Our goal is for the skin around the stoma to be as healthy and intact as the skin on the other side of your abdomen. Here are four suggestions for maintaining healthy peristomal skin.
1. Start with the skin barrier.
Your barrier should have a secure fit around your stoma to help prevent leakage and protect the skin around your stoma. Measure your stoma size often in the first 6-8 weeks, as it may be changing. Make sure to use the appropriate skin barrier for your stoma and skin type. You may consider a barrier with convexity to help push out the stoma for a better fit. Certain skin barriers will work better depending on the type of discharge you have, the placement of your stoma, and the frequency with which you routinely change your pouching system. Hollister CeraPlus barriers are infused with ceramide which can help maintain healthy skin around your stoma.
Ceramide is a natural component of human skin that links cells of the outer skin (epidermis) together to form a waterproof, protective barrier. High ceramide levels are abundant in healthy skin which can prevent water loss that may lead to skin damage and dryness.
2. Apply and remove the barrier with care.
When you apply your skin barrier, fill in any gaps or creases in your skin with ostomy accessories such as Adapt CeraRing™ skin barrier rings. These rings are also infused with ceramide. They are designed to be stretched or shaped, and can be cut or stacked together to improve the fit of the pouching system.
When removing any adhesive, it's best to support the skin and gently peel. Never rip off the pouching system. If you have difficulty removing adhesives, or if you have fragile skin, try using a no-sting product such as Adapt™ medical adhesive remover spray. Its silicone-based, alcohol-free formulation delivers an efficient solution for barrier removal without the sting caused by alcohol.
3. Keep your skin cleaning routine simple.
It is important to maintain the integrity of the skin around the stoma. Most people only need water to clean the skin around their stoma. If you use soap, make sure it's non-oily and that you rinse and dry your skin before applying your pouching system.
4. Check your skin regularly.
Examine your peristomal skin with each pouch change and respond quickly if a problem is noted. If your skin is damaged, open and/or moist, the skin barrier may not adhere well. Broken or irritated skin should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the cause. Your WOC/ET nurse may recommend that you use a skin barrier powder such as Adapt™ stoma powder to absorb moisture and dry up the moist skin. Once your skin recovers, you can stop using the powder.
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