Incontinence and Your Intimate Skin Health
Protecting Sensitive Perineal Skin
Considering the skin functions like a wall protecting your whole body from the outside environment, it should come as no surprise that it is the largest and heaviest organ. Approximately 15% of your body weight, the skin has many functions and contains hair follicles, sweat glands, blood vessels, sensory cells and nerve fibers. It has the amazing ability to repair and renew itself constantly, while at the same time controlling your body temperature and maintaining hydration.
But continuous moisture to intimate skin can cause the protective barrier of epidermis to breakdown, and then the skin can become damp, which creates an ideal environment for bacteria. Consequently, the skin becomes more vulnerable to infections. If an infection occurs, itching and wiping can further disrupt the delicate skin in this area.
In addition, poor fitting incontinence products can result in chafing and rubbing, causing redness and discomfort. By choosing the right fit and style, you can protect better against leaks while avoiding unnecessary irritation.
Harsh soaps, cleansers and over-washing can dry out and strip the skin, making it more susceptible to irritability and infection. However, there are gentler, incontinence specific products designed to replenish and moisturize the skin.
Pro Skin Health Tips: For Fresh and Clean Intimate Skin
Staying one step ahead can reduce anxiety and stress, helping you to feel more comfortable in your own skin. Here are steps you can take to stay covered:
- Keep hydrated throughout the day
- Stick to a balanced diet, avoiding acidic foods
- Change incontinence pads immediately when needed
- Be sure to thoroughly clean intimate skin with a good cleanser, especially after a workout or excessive seating, and do not scrub the area when washing
- Pat the area dry, and use gentle, moisturizing products
- Wear cotton underwear and loose pants
- Incorporate cranberry juice and Greek yogurt into your diet, as these foods can help prevent and treat yeast infections
- Soy products, apples, sweet potatoes, almonds, garlic pumpkin seeds and avocados (that means guac, too!) can actually work to counter dryness and stimulate natural lubrication
- Check often for signs of skin breakdown, like redness, itching and flaking, so you can act promptly and seek medical advice, if needed
- If an infection occurs and antibiotics are required, probiotic yogurt is beneficial in countering negative effects of antibiotic drugs, so try including this dairy product in your breakfast ritual
In addition to incorporating these healthy habits into your daily routine, there are certain things you should steer clear of that can irritate your bladder and skin. Here are some things to avoid:
- Urinary tract infections – Dilute your urine by drinking lots of water which flushes away any bacteria before an infection can occur
- Holding it in! - When you feel the urge, don’t try to resist. It’s a good thing to empty your bladder, even if it’s frequently. Holding it in can put unnecessary pressure on your bladder
- Synthetic materials – Polyester, nylon and spandex are non-breathable materials that can increase the temperature and moisture levels in your intimate area
- Tight fitting pants – They can be uncomfortable and irritating
- Waxing and shaving - These grooming methods can further irritate already sensitive skin
- Depilatory creams - They can burn the delicate skin
- Long baths – Lying in the tub for a long period of time can waterlog your skin, and exposes the intimate area to bacteria from other areas of the body