Skin Care

National Continence Helpline

8am - 8pm Monday to Friday AEST Talk to a continence nurse

Correct use of skin care products


People with incontinence need good skin care from their support workers and family. Urine and faeces can damage skin, which causes redness, irritation and soreness. This can be upsetting, uncomfortable and socially isolating. Careful cleaning of the skin every day, and after every time the person passes urine or faeces, helps keep the skin healthy and avoids damage, prevents smells and makes the person feel comfortable. These are all important factors for a good quality of life.

Skin care products and incontinence

  • Cleansers can be used instead of soap and water and are designed to keep the normal moisture level of the skin.
  • Avoid using scented soaps, deodorants or talcum powder. These products can irritate the skin.
  • Moisturisers are made to keep the skin's fluid in or add more moisture. If used to protect skin in the perineum, they should be perfume and alcohol free and made for sensitive skin.
  • Barriers are protective films or creams made to seal the skin off from contact with urine and faeces. Not all barrier creams can be used with continence pads as they can stop them absorbing fluid. A continence nurse advisor, the National Continence Helpline, or manufacturer's websites can tell you which barrier creams are suitable to use with continence pads.
  • Check the ingredients of any skin care products used. Stop using them if they contain alcohol, perfume or disinfectant. These products can dry out the skin too much and lead to broken skin or allergic reactions.
  • Check if the person has any allergies (or sensitivity) to a product or ingredient. Always read the ingredients list on the packet or bottle before using any product.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.

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This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.