Sprinkled in in the various other articles in this series I’ve mentioned certain aspects wearing diapers and how they are relevant to your body hygiene, especially skin issues. It’s time to expand on that and share a few words on what to do to retain that perfect skin and avoid allergies, irritation and infections. Let’s begin by summarizing all the stuff that could be potentially annoying or even dangerous.
- Urine is a mostly water, but also contains salt, minerals, enzymes and remnants of food and medications you ingest – anything that your body filtered out through the kidneys. That being so, you may begin to see the problem. Just like sea water burns on your skin, so will this after a while.
- Moisture causes your skin to swell and makes it less resilient toward external influences. Pores will open up more and even tiny cracks will widen up, allowing germs and spores to settle. This can cause anything from harmless pimples/ akne to more serious inflammations or mycosis. The humid and warm micro-climate will also accelerate growth and reproduction of germs.
- Your stool contains intestinal bacteria that are critical to your digestive functions, but can be infectious in other places. Likewise, if you suffer from infections in your urethral tract, you may spill out bacteria that could cause infections.
- Sweat accumulating in wrinkles and crevices can have all the same effects described above plus of course contributes to any olfactory issues.
- The absorbent pad and other components of your diaper will dry out your skin.
- A tight-fitting diaper may cause minor abrasions or contusions/ bruises.
- Constant exposure to all these factors may lead to allergies in the long run.
As you can see, there is quite a bit going on and you should take care to protect yourself. Let me preface this by saying that I’m certainly not a skin care expert, since I don’t use that many products. While my skin is not perfect in the sense of a perfect complexion, it is resilient enough for most stuff. It has gotten a bit more sensitive due to taking corticoids continuously for several years now, but it’s not hyper-sensitive or anything like that. If you have specific skin issues, definitely consult with a dermatologist when unsure what to do. Taking care of your skin in your most intimate regions could be seen as a three-tiered strategy: Preparation, Protection and Repair. What does this translate to?
First and foremost it is of course necessary to prepare your skin for any successive diaper use. Pretty obviously this means keeping the area clean and that can be done easily during your daily bath or shower. Using a mild soap, shower gel or dermatoligical washing agent will be more than enough followed by rinsing with clear water. As always do not overdo – having a shower two times a day is way enough plus any additional ones after heavy activity when you are really sweating a lot. Either way, it is not necessary to have a shower with every diaper change.
This brings up another interesting topic – the use of wet wipes. This is a matter of much debate, since there are a few things that make this a bit ambiguous. First, that nice scent is coming from somewhere, meaning they can contain perfume. Second, they contain chemicals that keep them moist and prevent them from rotting. Third, medical wipes may also contain desinfection agents. As a result, those substances come in touch with your skin and if you are sensitive may exacerbate any irritations. The moisture and chemicals may also reduce immune response in critical areas. Therefore use commercial wet wipes sparingly like when you are on the road and need to change in a public toilet or when medical reasons require it like being unable to get out of bed. Whenever you can, however, prefer to use a simple cloth with water, normal dry toilet paper/ paper towel and other alternatives. This also helps your purse.
Getting a bit more intimate, we need to talk about shaving your bush. While it’s ultimately up to you, the “less is more” axiom is more than fitting here. Hair presents a large surface area where all this nasty stuff can stick around and it’s simply a lot more difficult to get it off. Especially if you are suffering from fecal incontinence, you should definitely consider keeping the area between your buttocks and your legs clean. That said, of course shaving itself may be dangerous when you accidentally scratch your skin, so once more – don’t overdo. Having a wet shave every week or two will keep your hair short enough or even just trimming it to a suitable length will be just fine, too.
This is perhaps the most easy part to explain: The best thing to do is to not even let any harmful stuff get to where it can do damage. This mostly means applying insulating creams and powders and the good part is that there is just so many of them since you can use any baby products, normal skin protecting cosmetics, specialized stuff that industry workers use, specifically tailored medical products or even trivial stuff like ordinary vaseline. All of this either alone or in combinations as long as your skin can handle it and it is good for you (and your purse).
The critical point here is to have a even, thin layer of additional coverage, not so much use copious amounts of those products. However, every product you use needs to have a certain minimum amount of oil/ grease/ fat or another combination of agents that create that thin impenetrable film on your skin and make it last a while. On the other hand it needs to be somewhat breathable at least, so natural products are preferable to e.g. ones that contain silicone oil.
It is also not necessary to cover your entire abdomen, just the parts that are exposed the most and give you trouble. For me as a male for instance e.g. the underside of my testicles is particularly critical as – pardon the language – having your balls in the sauce for periods at a time causes itching. Likewise with my rectal incontinence a small daub in that area will ease any burning pain. Other areas like the outer sides of my buttocks and thighs do not (yet) need anything rubbed on.
One thing you should consider in all this are the practical aspects. Since I’m quite often putting on my diapers while standing, rubbing on some Penaten cream obviously works better than using powder, but as it gets warmer outside and the creamy products get more liquified it may become somewhat less convenient to use them, so I might use powder more often and wrap myself when lying on the bed. Also note that many of those products are very greasy and sticky, so washing your hands after applying them or using gloves in the first place should figure into your routine.
Every once in a while you will need to top off your normal skin care with additional treatments. You may have worn a diaper too long, it may have been too hot or too cold outside or you may simply have been a bad boy/ girl and scratched an itching area and now as a result may have an abrasion, a small open wound or picked up some infection. Is time to help your body out a bit in the healing process then.
Aside from the obvious fact of cleaning the area you need to make sure your skin barrier is repaired as quickly as possible. One way of doing that is using foam sprays with Panthenol as depicted in the image (don’t be distracted by it being a pedi-care variety). They have the huge advantage of neither being oily/ greasy and thus sealing your skin nor do they take long to really sink in, so they don’t interfere with your other stuff too much. In contrast to that I would therefore not recommend using creams, lotions and ointments for the exact opposite reasons.
If things get a bit more severe and you are oozing liquid on your scratched skin, I recommend using coagulating/ absorbing powders or liquid bandage as sealants until a crust has formed. If this doesn’t help, definitely go see a doctor. The same is true if you detect odd colorations that can’t be explained as normal scratch marks or hematoma. You may have picked up some fungae and since there are so many of them, only your PhD can tell you which treatment will help.
Once more I hope this gave you some directions and with the next article we will more or less finish this series (Or will I squeeze in just one more? ;-) ), so I’ll be seeing you around.