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Ostomy Skin Issues: Your Solutions

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
05/01/18  10:11 AM PST
Ostomy Skin Issues

Both here, on our Shield HealthCare community site, and on our Facebook page, we have had the most amazing outpouring of support. Sometimes these suggestions come as comments on our instructional videos, or as answers to a fellow community member’s question. No matter where they come from, these outpourings of support make us proud to be the platform that ostomates choose to help each other.

What do to about weepy, irritated skin:

In an email to Laura Cox, our Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist: “I was watching your video on changing your appliance and it reminded me of my issues with weepy, irritated skin many years ago. I also tried the powder which I found messy and cumbersome. I found life changing information on the internet about spraying Nexcare Liquid Bandage around my stoma before putting my appliance. I have extremely sensitive skin and this spray does not irritate it at all but protects my skin from the wafer which sticks very well to the dried spray. After the shower, I dry the area around my stoma. I then spray about five squirts around my stoma then dry that with a hairdryer. I repeat the spraying and the drying then put my appliance on with a spread out Eakin cohesive seal which surrounds the stoma. This a much easier, and quicker process. My skin very rarely develops a small spot of irritation under the wafer. This has been a game changer for me! I hope that more people will be able to give this a try.”

Community question: “I’m curious if anyone has suggestions for skin irritation from appliances?” (find the original Facebook post here)

Laura: “Cortisone it worked for itching and burning!” though Christine cautioned, “It may feel good but can also cause the barrier close to the stoma to break down.’

Jennette: “Adhesive remover, so your not tearing skin and removing all excess adhesive. Wipe with a damp paper towel (water only) to remove adhesive remover. Then apply skin prep liberally, let dry. Apply wafer, I use a ring instead of paste. In the beginning my skin was raw because I was literally ripping it off when removing my pouch. I also use nystatin powder if I have irritation around stoma or other small spots. Using the crusting method with the skin prep. Feel better soon.”

Marie: “I’m only five months into being an ostomate but I’ll say that I love the Cavilon barrier wipes the best. Using them, I have very little irritated skin but some of the other products have not worked as well. I can also go about a week in between wafer changes before it’s even beginning to be compromised so that helps too – as well as a barrier ring.”

Sarah: “I use 3M Cavilon skin barrier wipes or spray. After cleaning my skin really well, I’ll do 3 or 4 layers of it. Let it dry really well after each layer and before you put the bag on.”

Tiffany: “Depending on if it is from frequently changing or an allergic reaction. Crusting with powder and a change brand could help.”

Myrtle: “My son recently was diagnosed with bleffritis so I done some fact finding to see what addresses bleffritis and found that hypochlorous acid(?)- I think I spelled that right- is excellent for bleffritis and also for wounds. Not sure about issues with the stoma site but will find out when I bring him to the wound care center.”

Nadine: “Bordeaux butt paste is wonderful for skin irritations and skin health….it works! Make sure you get it all off before putting on the wafer….use skin prep before.”

Karen: “Just started removing bag to shower and it has totally changed my skin for the better ! Takes a lot of planning but seems to have made a huge difference in the skin close to my stoma . I’m able to run again and that was having a negative effect on my skin BUT mentally sacrificing a few raw areas is worth it.”

Michael: “Powder has been awesome.”

Christine: “Use your finger to push the skin away from the barrier instead of “pulling it off”. I hope that makes sense. I use an adhesive remover wipe. I could not use long wear appliances. I have to change every other day. I am careful when I push the skin away as I take off the barrier. When I did try a long wear barrier, it took 8 weeks to clear my skin up. I used an anti fungal powder and Cavalon wipes before I put a new appliance on. I also think that the long wear use a heavier adhesive so I went back to the very basic Hollister cut-to-fit two piece. Good luck.”

Alyssa: “I use Coloplast and have been told that many people have problems with skin irritation with the wafers from Coloplast.”

Jacquie: “Do you use a skin barrier? Protects your skin.”

Becki: “Lately I’ve been spraying OTC Benadryl itch spray on my skin, letting it dry and then applying my flange. Been working like a charm.”

Fionoa: “Cavilon cream on very well dried skin I use my hair dryer on low setting!”

Community question: “I’m trying to find out how to do crusting for sore skin. My mom and I watched a video, but I’m not quite sure we did it right.” What’s your best advice and what are your favorite products?” (find the original Facebook post here)

Kelly: “Convatec has a new no sting spray and it’s not messy or overly sticky . Apply a light dusting of powder dust off excess spray with the prep then apply powder again dust of excess perform a couple times always end with the prep.”

Jennette: “Is your ostomy new? In the beginning I didn’t know my stoma was oval 1″ x 7/8″ that made a huge difference. I use Hollister adapt powder and skin prep or nystatin powder and skin prep. 1 layer of skin prep just around very edge of stoma then powder dust off excess with dry paper towel then dab more skin prep don’t wipe repeat until crust forms. I like the adapt applicator but feel the nystatin works without a crust just as long as a little gets on there. When I have sore skin I try to change my wafer every other day to clean the area really good. On average I get 5 days wear time.”

Lauren: “Always use the ostomy powder first then spray or dab the skin prep I prefer Cavilon as the wipe has more liquid. You must identify and fix the cause of the sore (denuded) skin or it will keep happening. -Lauren (WOC nurse).”

Nadine: “The very best skin healing aid is Bordeaux Butt Paste extra strength(red box, or tube). Put it in the skin and let it sit for 20 minutes….then shower it off.be sure to remove all of it or your wafer won’t stick. It works wonders.”

Amy: “Use Brava powder, it doesn’t have alcohol and doesn’t seem to burn my husband. Then us the barrier film to protect the skin, I have been using a lot of the barrier film lately and my husbands skin has been great. We have had the struggles with VERY IRRITATED skin but have been lucky lately.”

Mark: “Dab the skin with ‘skin prep’ dust stoma powder, or nystatin power, let dry, repeat three or four times. Dab the prep on and do not wipe it.”

Thank you to our wonderful community for all these great comments. If we could sum up all their answers, we’d have to write: the answer is out there! Keep searching until you find what is right for you!

For more information, see related articles and ostomy resources here:

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
Hey Laura, I’m a new ostomate and just got the clearance from my doctor to resume a regular diet. Any tips for things I should watch out for?
Hi Susan, Excellent question!
I would say there are three important things you can do to reduce your risk of problems when returning to a more normal diet...

Recent OstomyLife


  1. Just reading your comments about skin prep, irritation, etc. I use the skin prep wipes after I have washed the area around my stoma,(BTW- I have a urostomy & use a two piece pouching system from Hollister.) then I use Tincture of Benzoin to put on the skin area. I use make-up arounds,etc.to apply it. If you don’t use them already, use gloves, as the Benzoin will stain EVERYTHING so be careful! (Unless you use the clear type.) If there is any irritation,(or a cut on your finger.) it will sting- BADLY!!! So have a fan or something you can use to blow on the skin area. However, once your skin clears up you will never have any more skin irritation issues. I know it’s one more step, but it’s worth it. I have been using the Benzoin for years, & I hardly ever have any skin irritation. I don’t know if this will work on colon type ostomies, however.

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