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3 Steps for Better Skin Care when dealing with Incontinence or Incontinence-associated Dermatitis (IAD)

Hygiene and skin care go hand in hand, especially when it comes to dealing with incontinence. Incontinence dermatitis or incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) can easily develop for individuals who are not taking care of their perineal skin. IAD can also be referred to as perineal dermatitis, perineal rash, irritant dermatitis, contact dermatitis, moisture lesion, or diaper rash.

To help manage the effects that incontinence can take on your body and skin, several simple steps can be added to your daily or nightly routine. Below, find some helpful steps and some of our favorite skin care products you should consider for skin health when dealing with incontinence and incontinence dermatitis.

Gentle cleansing

Cleansing with a soft cloth and a no-rinse product is the first step in establishing good skin care. Choose a cleansing product that does not require rinsing or drying, such as soap, which can irritate or dry out the skin. (2) Another factor to think about when it comes to cleansing perineal skin is mobility. Cleansing can be very difficult when caring for a loved one who is bedridden or in a wheelchair with limited movement. In this situation, an all-in-one cleansing cloth or mitt might be a helpful solution. (1)


After cleansing, a moisturizer should be applied. A moisturizer should contain lipids in order to help the skin's natural barrier function. During this step, it is important to remember that fragile skin can be easily irritated. Application of moisturizer should be considered dependent on severity. For example, if the skin is looking normal, a lotion application should suffice. If the skin is very irritated, foam or spray may be a better option as to not apply friction to the incontinence dermatitis. (1)


Next, a barrier ointment should be applied. Barrier ointments tend to contain zinc, which helps to protect the lipids in the skin or in the applied moisturizer, and dimethicone, which helps to softens and moisturizes skin. (2) If the perineal skin becomes worse over time, an antifungal and/or powder may be needed to help with dermatitis. Please be sure to contact your doctor if the condition progresses.

Further notes and considerations

While intimate skin care is extremely important when treating or preventing incontinence dermatitis, other factors do need to be taken into consideration. Ensure that a regular restroom regime is in place and followed to avoid the skin being in contact with urinary or fecal matter for extended periods of time. (2) If regular movement is a challenge, be sure to find and use an absorbent and breathable pad and undergarment products to keep the moisture away from the skin and allow airflow. (1) Maintaining healthy intimate skin not only helps treat IAD but can also help improve the irritation and uncomfortable nature of incontinence dermatitis. To make things even easier, TENA offers all-in-one products that can help with your incontinence-related skin care in one easy step.

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Disclaimer: The information contained herein is only for educational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or professional nursing services. Caregivers should always consult with health care professionals if they have any questions about a specific medical condition, treatment or use of products.

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