Continence and Skin Care

Why Good Skin Matters in Managing Incontinence

Incontinence is irritating and distressing on so many levels. Skin often bears the brunt of the irritation, but it’s not an inevitable consequence of incontinence. There are ways to avoid and treat skin irritation due to incontinence. First, let’s take a look at why the skin is complaining.

Skin Irritation

Skin is your largest organ and your first line of defence against bacteria and infection. It tends to be in best shape when it is kept clean, dry and in its natural pH.

Unfortunately, incontinence changes the skin and disrupts its environment. When it is regularly exposed to urine and faeces along with frequent washing, the skin’s protective barrier (the acid protection mantle) is weakened.

This can trigger a vicious circle of painful irritation, inflammation and infection called incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD)(1). What starts off as a minor rash can rapidly become something that causes discomfort and distress(2). When that already irritated skin is exposed to more urine or faeces, you may see redness and the person is likely to experience itching, tingling and/or a painful, burning sensation. As the skin breaks down, they become more vulnerable to bacterial or fungal infections.

No one wants to be in that position. So, how can you avoid skin irritation (or treat it if it happens)?

Clean, protect and care with MoliCare®

MoliCare Skin is a comprehensive, 3-step routine that helps you clean, protect and care for your skin in order to make it healthier.


It’s important to keep skin clean and dry – but not with soap and water.

The acid protection mantle, the skin’s natural barrier, can be damaged by both repeated washing as well as the alkaline properties of most soaps. That’s why for incontinence affected skin, it’s important to clean with products designed to help avoid the damage caused by frequent washing.

MoliCare’s products are specifically formulated to clean irritated skin gently while helping maintain a healthy skin pH.

Clean using MoliCare’s pH-balanced products such as Cleansing Foam, Moist Skin Care Tissues and Wash Lotion


The first step to protecting skin is to choose the right absorbent products – MoliCare offers pads, pull-ups, fixation pants and all-in-ones for male and female needs. Each person’s needs are different. You might need to sample a few products to find the right solution – if you’re not sure, please reach out to Surgical House to discuss and ask for absorbent samples.

An important part of protection is also changing absorbent products as soon as you are aware they are wet or soiled to remove the source of skin irritation.

After you’ve cleansed with MoliCare’s Cleansing Foam and Moist Skin Care Tissues, gently apply a thin layer of pH-balanced Barrier Cream or Protection Foam to nourish and protect the area from moisture and irritants. The MoliCare Skin Barrier Cream and Protection Foam are specially formulated not to clog continence product so they continue to do the job of absorbing urine quickly.

MoliCare Skin Barrier Cream and MoliCare Skin Protection Foam have been specially designed to protect and nourish stressed, sensitive skin. They contain the Nutriskin Protection Complex with natural essential fatty acids, creatine, amino acids, and almond oil to strengthen and regenerate the skin’s own protective barrier. Both products deliver long-lasting protection by leaving a transparent film that stays on the skin.


For ongoing care of the skin, apply a body lotion such as MoliCare Skin Body Lotion, it also contains the Nutriskin Protection Complex and is an intensive moisturiser you can use all over the body. This continues to nourish skin by supplying essential oils.

Following these steps helps towards keeping skin to stay in good shape, making incontinence far less irritating to live with.

View the MoliCare range of absorbent continence products and skin integrity products.

To discuss your concerns with a Continence Nurse Specialist to develop a personalised care plan download our information flyer:

Content for this article was supplied by HARTMANN MoliCare®


  1. Healthline, What is Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis and How Is It Treated?, [Accessed 18 April 2023]
  2. NSW Government Clinical Excellence Commission, Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD) Best Practice Principles, [Accessed 18 April 2023]

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