Peristomal Skin: Here’s Why You Need to Keep It Healthy

Skin health means something very important if you have an ostomy. That is because the state of the skin around your stoma may affect your quality of life. Find out how and why here.

Peristomal Skin - Here's Why You Need to Keep it Healthy

Learn about the importance of peristomal skin care.

If you have recently had ostomy surgery, you might have heard about the importance of skin care or skin health. You may wonder what your ostomy has to do with skin. It might surprise you to learn that skin health is an important element of regaining and maintaining a healthy, comfortable lifestyle after ostomy surgery.

Why? Because the state of the skin around your stoma can either make caring for your ostomy easier, or cause complications that can decrease your quality of life.

What’s at stake
The area of skin around the stoma is called peristomal skin. This small area of skin can have a big impact on your overall health and comfort. Unfortunately, most people with stomas experience peristomal skin problems at some point in their lives. Some studies show that up to 75 percent of people with an ostomy experience a PSC. There are many negative impacts of PSCs, all of which can cause significant issues, such as:

  • Leakage
  • Pain
  • Irritation, itching and overall discomfort
  • Unpleasant odours
  • Additional healthcare costs
  • Additional time addressing these issues

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to keep your peristomal skin healthy and try to avoid these problems.

How peristomal skin can become unhealthy
It is important to understand exactly how your peristomal skin affects your ostomy. The condition of the skin around your stoma has a direct impact on how well your skin barrier adheres to your abdomen, which can affect your comfort, confidence and more.

  • Skin that is exposed to stoma fluid leakage is at significant risk for a PSC
  • Barriers that are changed too frequently can damage or injure the skin, a type of complication called “skin stripping”
  • Both leakage and frequent skin barrier changes lessen the ability of the barrier to work properly
  • When a PSC occurs, your skin continues to be at risk for further damage and a vicious cycle can result

This is why a properly fitting skin barrier made with the right ingredients is so important—it helps protect the skin from being irritated by stoma drainage. It also helps the pouching system stay in place.

Potential peristomal skin complications
Because PSCs are so common, many people have come to believe that these problems are just a normal part of living with a stoma. This is not true. You do not have to accept the pain and problems that can come with a PSC.

Start by learning some essential routine skin care habits. When selecting your skin barrier, you should also consider products that are infused with ceramide, a natural component of human skin that supports healthy skin.