Skin Care

National Continence Helpline

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

Skin has a rash

Get help from a health care professional, or talk to your supervisor or care coordinator if you think the person has a skin infection. Look for the following signs:

  • hot or painful skin
  • swelling or oozing fluid
  • bad smell
  • fever


The skin between the legs (the perineum) and between the buttocks (the perianal area) is easily damaged. Help the person you support to keep their skin dry and clean to prevent skin damage. If this skin stays damp and warm, bacteria (germs) and fungi might grow. 

Don't put anything on a skin rash unless it is recommended for that person by their general practitioner (GP) or other health care professional.

What is a rash?

A rash is a change in the skin that affects its colour, how it looks and how it feels. A rash can be any size, with different colours. Some rashes have blisters, bruises or splits in the skin. Rashes can be itchy or painful.

What do you do if you find a rash?

  • Check that any continence pads fit properly and are changed regularly. Loose pads can rub and cause a rash.
  • Check that no urine has leaked out of the pad. Urine can damage the skin.
  • Help the person wipe themselves properly after they use the toilet. For more information go to Cleaning after going to the toilet.
  • Check the ingredients of the person's skin care products. Stop using them if they contain alcohol, perfume or disinfectant.
  • Dry the skin completely after washing. Pat gently to dry, but don't rub the skin.
  • Avoid using soap on the rash area.
  • Check if the person has any allergies (or sensitivities) to a product or ingredient. Always read the ingredients list on the packet or bottle before using any product.
  • If they have a toileting plan or schedule, make sure it's followed.
  • If their GP or nurse practitioner has prescribed any creams or treatments, make sure these are being used as directed.

How can you tell how bad the rash is?

If the person you support has a rash, look at the rash and give the following information to your supervisor, care coordinator or a health care professional.

  • How big is the rash and where is it?
  • What colour is the rash?
  • Is the skin bleeding, peeling or broken?
  • Are there blisters or leaking fluid?
  • Does the skin feel hot?
  • Is the skin itchy or painful?
  • Is the rash getting worse?

What may have caused the rash?

Occasionally, rashes are caused by a change that might have happened in the person's life around the time the rash began. Ask the person if they recently started using:

  • a new brand of washing powder, deoderant, soap or skin cleanser?
  • a different brand of toilet paper, wet wipe or continence pad?
  • a new medicine? Don't stop the medicine, but tell the person's GP.

Ask for help from your supervisor, care coordinator or a health care professional if the person you support gets a rash.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpine 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.