Guide to Ostomy Skin Aids and Applications
Ostomy skin aids serve as accessories to the ostomy supply basics like a wafer and a pouch. There are many examples of skin products designed just for people with an ostomy. These skin products do many different functions, from prepping the skin for the wafer application to building up the surface of the skin to make the wafer and pouch stay on more comfortably. Many of these ostomy accessories take some time and trial and error to make them work just right — as every ostomy is different — but the purpose of them is to make having an ostomy easier.
Supplies to clean and prepare the skin around the stoma
The easiest way to explain these products is to imagine you are about to put on your ostomy wafer and pouch. First, you will need to clean the skin around the stoma.
Clean the skin with a "non-oily residue" soap, if available, and water. Never use baby wipes, lotion, or any greasy substance that will leave residue on the skin. These residues will prevent your ostomy wafer from properly adhering to your skin.
If you need to, you can use an adhesive-remover wipe or swab to clean up any adhesive or glue left over from a previously used wafer.
Apply skin prep, an adhesive, to the skin if indicated by the manufacturer of your wafer. Some of the ostomy wafers, also called barriers, indicate you should not use skin prep. Do what works best for you.
Products to smooth and protect the skin around the stoma
If your stoma is concave, in the crease of your waist, near a wound, or just acting difficult one day, you may need to use specialty ostomy skin aids to help create a flat, smooth surface on which the wafer will lie. Ostomy paste, moldable strip pastes, and ostomy powder (mixed with water to form paste), are all available to create a flat surface near the stoma.
Protecting the skin around the stoma is also essential. Output from the stoma is either urine or feces, typically, but can also include any wound fluid. These outputs can be very irritating to the skin and cause breakdown easily. Skin barriers, in the forms of rings, seals, squares, and arcs, are all available to protect the delicate skin on and around the stoma.
These barriers are moldable, adjustable, and cut to fit, so you can fit them in the areas around your stoma that are having issues from either skin irritation or from the wafer not fitting properly. If there is any leak from the stoma onto the skin, the barrier will absorb it protecting the skin from breakdown.
If your stoma requires convexity, or a bubbled-out wafer to pull a retracted stoma out and away from the skin, you will need to look for ostomy products that aid in convexity. Skin barriers, pastes, and convexity rings all can help with this as well.
Since an ostomy is a surgical creation, it is very important to keep the skin healthy. Keeping in regular contact with your doctor or nurse about your ostomy is important, as well as contacting them at the first sign of trouble until you are comfortable with caring for your ostomy yourself.
Wound care applications to protect the skin
Wound care is a diverse topic, as there are so many different types of wounds, but typically your doctor or nurse will prescribe or recommend the best products for your needs.
There are so many different types of stuffing and wrapping gauze, tape, and bandages for the less troublesome dressings, as well as different iodine and anti-bacterial swabs for cleaning out wound beds and skin surfaces.
For more advanced wounds there are different types of dressings, like colloidal silver, which is naturally antibacterial. Hydroactive or hydrocellular bandages and antimicrobial dressings all keep the wound healing in a moist environment, promoting skin rejuvenation.
These different dressings, as well as most all wound care products, come in both sterile and non-sterile forms. Be sure you know which to order for your particular needs as recommended by your doctor.
Ostomy and wound care crossover products for people with both
There are wound drainage pouches and materials for fistulas, a type of constantly draining wound, which promote healing from the inside out. These materials are very specific according to wound size, so make sure you know what to buy before purchasing.
Fistulas and draining wounds are more long term (weeks over days) so buying in bulk might be especially helpful.
Finnegan Medical Supply carries a large variety of all the products listed and more. Ostomy supply and wound care technology change regularly, so we frequently update our product listings to keep up with the best and latest products. And with warehouses across the country, we will never run out of a product you need.
If you are interested in learning more about ostomy supplies or wound care products, be sure to check out our blog tags for more interesting posts on the subjects.
SuLauren Wilson is the founder of Finnegan Medical Supply, an online medical supply store based in Little Rock, Ark. She blogs regularly on issues affecting the company’s patients. Although, she has many years of experience in the healthcare industry, she is not a licensed medical professional, and the content of her posts should not be considered medical advice.