After all the theoretical stuff in our series on skincare we are now getting to the good bits and will have a look at some branded products, some of which are dedicated quite specifically to dealing with issues that people with incontinence problems may have. I’m choosing my words extra carefully here because the relevance for each individual hugely varies, of course. Some people get by effortlessly whereas others spend a lot of money, time and energy on this and still suffer irritations.
On a “First come, first served” basis today’s article will center around TZMO‘s Seni Care line of products. They were the first to send in an assortment of their various offerings (thanks to them for that) and I have been using it for the past months as much as I could within what is reasonable for me. The portfolio is quite comprehensive and thus the time needed to check out the products in combination with the usual effort required to edit the photos managed to screw with my schedule once again, so this article is a bit late.
When resorting to a branded product series there are of course certain expectations. Most importantly you expect products to go hand in hand to offer a streamlined experience and eliminating the need to buy other products as well. In addition everything should of course be tailored as best as possible to the target demographic and cover a wide range of usage scenarios, ideally also eliminating the need to look for more products from outside parties. Third and no less important is the fact that things should be rather cost-effective. The typical incontinent person is going to need quite a bit of some things, so they shouldn’t cost him or her an arm and a leg. The following chapters will reveal how that works out for Seni Care.
Before we delve into the specifics a few notes on some commonly shared properties of the products and procedures for the article. For the most part I’m simply going to assume that you all know what the basic ingredients and constituents of skincare products are – there’s always water, glycerine, oils and a few other things involved. I’m only going to point out specific differences where appropriate like possibly risky substances or uncomfortable smells to keep everything brief. With that in mind, let’s have it.
All Seni Care products come in white bottles and tubes that are kind of color coded to designate their purpose. I say kind of because ultimately it doesn’t really work. I find myself still having to read the text almost every time to not mix up products. The pastel-y tones may be pleasant to the eye, but are simply not distinct enough. You literally have to keep things stored separately to not accidentally rub washing cream on as body lotion. This could definitely be improved e.g. by color coding the caps, my reasoning here being that in particular elderly people with poor eyesight might struggle to keep things straight in an overcrowded bathroom.
Speaking of the elderly, I have to mention the scent here. To quote Willy Wonka at the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Johnny Depp version): “You smell like old people and soap. I like it.”. While it’s meant endearingly in the movie, I’m not sure it’s a good statement for cosmetics products. I don’t mean this to be offensive in any way, but that typical “almost, but not quite there” mixed scent along the lines aloe, camomile, watermelon and cucumber is something I immediately associate with people of a certain age. So there you have it. Another of those things that could use improvement. Admittedly, though, it’s not as bad as it may sound. Thankfully the odor is not that intense, after all, and wears off after a time.
Moving on to specific products, the first in line are the wet cleaning ones, meaning your shower gel/ lotion. There are two different ones on offer in this line of products, but ultimately in my opinion they are not really that much different, at least with regards to how they work on my skin. The cream gel on the right in the picture just feels a bit more oily, which can be pleasing on sore skin whereas the other product is more of a normal shower gel.
What stands out is that both variants need quite a bit of water to actually spread on your skin. Directly from the bottle they almost feel “dry” and don’t want to go anywhere on their own accord. As a result you may end up using way too much. The rule here is to really soak your skin first or mix a good amount of water into the product on your hand before applying it. This is even more important for the oily flavor as otherwise you may simply end flushing down large wads of it without them having had any effect.
Dry/ Waterless Cleaning
Things being that you can buy a pretty decent shower gel in every cornershop, our focus is of course on products where this would not be the case, i.e. the ones that you use for inbetween small cleanups without water off the tap at hand. Depending on the situation this can be simple or rather convoluted and then of course there’s other considerations I laid out in the previous article of this series like environmental considerations or potential residues on the skin. Regardless, those things have their value.
In the “serious” medical care business they would often be used for immobilized or bedridden people. For independent people with incontinence issues other factors are important, ranging from mere sensory enjoyment of certain sensations to more practical things like disposable products being super handy when you soiled your diapers due to fecal incontinence. This is achieved with a bunch of products that almost every vendor in this business has on offer: some kind of cleaning gel/ cream, a similar cleaning foam, washing gloves to go with the previous products, additional dry wipes/ paper towels and for minor incidents everyone’s favorite wet wipes. Some manufacturers include other products like the depicted dry shampoo or pre-moisturized washing gloves.
The Seni Care Wash Cream is a mixture of watery and oily components, meaning a very liquid emulsion. Since it needs to be actively spread on the skin, it’s not really useable for fecal incontinence, at least not without some previous relatively thorough cleanup. I works to get off this leftover last thin layer of smear, but that’s about it. It’s much more useful when you want to freshen things up a bit while changing your diaper if you have urine incontinence. Since it contains lipids, it has a skin-calming effect and works very fast. It also nicely “pulls” the smell out of your skin. The downside is that you really need to be super careful to remove every bit of the cream again. It essentially never dries and disappears by itself, which could cause trouble.
The cleaning foam is a somewhat different story. Because it can be applied directly from the spray can it can also be used on more severe contamination where then in a combination of the bubbles collapsing and releasing water plus the physical effect of those tiny explosions it can work its magic to loosen and soften the dirty stuff. The Seni Care foam is relatively stable, so you can take your time and also spread it carefully with your finger tips if you missed some areas. What’s not so great is that you are supposed to stand the can on its head with the vent shooting out the foam straight. This can be quite difficult when it’s still full due to the weight. I would imagine that people with very little strength in their hands or suffering from bone issues (rheumatism, arthritis, deformities) will really struggle to use this effectively. A conventional spray cap for using this upright would be easier.
For all products mentioned so far you can use the disposable wash gloves which come either as plain version or with an inner foil lining. They can be used to spread the cleaning agents on the skin, but also to wipe them off. When you suffer from fecal incontinence like I do, obviously the laminated ones are more relevant. You wouldn’t want any of the feces to seep through.
The regular version is also particularly thin, which you can see in the image with the piglet shining through. In any case, you are going to need more than one glove per cleaning most of the time, so be prepared that they run out quicker than you may think. I really only use them when I’m being “lazy” in combination with the waterless cleaning products. This to me makes even more sense since then I can wrap them up in my used diaper as well and throw them into my “dirty” bin. Never dispose these products in your toilet!
A complementary product to the whole cleaning proceedings are the Air Laid tissue wipes, an advanced version of your paper kitchen towel. Similar to the wash gloves you can quickly run out. Thirty pieces really isn’t that much. In addition having them packaged in a shrink-wrap bag has the disadvantage that you already tear them to shreds when attempting to pull them out (unless you have a quiet corner in your home where you can unpack the entire stack and have it handy). Because of those two points it would make more sense to me if Seni were selling the product in cardboard boxes with a hundred pieces or something like that. Would make life a lot easier.
A lot of people love wet wipes, but I don’t necessarily fall into that category. Again refer to the previous article in the series for some reasons. The Seni Care line has two variants of this product type – regular and sensitive. Since my skin isn’t particularly irritable and I don’t suffer from any allergies I can’t judge whether the sensitive lives up to the promise. The noticeable difference for me is in the smell, which is much fainter than on the regular, though not necessarily the perfumes are always what’s causing reactions. On that note, the scent also deviates from the standard smell in that it is more flowery-fruity-sweet and very pleasant. I guess they could adopt this for the creams etc. just as well and we’d all be happier for it.
The Seni wipes are rather large, making it easy and efficient to use them to clean up larger areas. Unlike some other products, you really only often need a single wipe instead of a handful. There’s a slight downside to that. The individual pieces are more difficult to pull from the package. It also seems that their overlap in the stack is a bit too large, so you often inadvertently pull out more than one and have to stuff in the rest again. This could pose a hygienic problem.
One thing that irked me a bit is that the regular wet wipes were extremely moist. This kinda defeats the purpose of a quick wipe as you really have to wait until things dry off again. This could be a flub with the specific batch I go my sample from, of course, but if it’s the norm, then perhaps they should take it down a bit to make things more user-friendly.
In addition to the various cleaning products there are some skin regenerating/ moisturising creams and lotions. They are by no means essential and like I said I’m not great with this stuff, anyway. There’s a neat twist with the body balm (yellow), however. It is a very firm and greasy product and therefore can be used as an alternative to genuine barrier creams if you feel like it. It leaves a thin, slightly sticky layer on your skin (at least on mine), which is just enough to offer some insulation against urine and slight soiling. The advantage here obviously is that it will wear off during the day, possibly sparing you extensive removal procedures.
Barrier products are a bit of a love-hate-relationship for most people with incontinence issues. You can’t do without them at least part of the time, but sometimes they are more trouble. As I already wrote, so far I haven’t found the perfect one for me, but at least Seni have two types on offer. The first is the more conventional one based on a Zinc oxide mixture with the other being solely built on forming a greasy layer. I’ve already discussed the Pros & Cons of every variant a bit and this isn’t much different here.
Where the actual use of the product is concerned, the grease-only product wins hands-down quite literally. The Zinc version is unfortunately a bit too liquid for its own good, so it’s almost impossible to apply without having it all over your hands. Whether or not you wear gloves – things can get messy with all the extra cleaning this may entail. To its credit one must say, though, that the liquid nature also makes the product dry and settle very quick, so you can move on without much waiting.
For the green version I would recommend that you really only use it cautiously for your crotch/ pubic region, but keep it away from your butt and other extended areas. It may not seem much, but this thin layer of grease is enough to give a very sweaty effect, which can get very uncomfortable in your Rima ani or even the skin folds in the groin area. In this case less is better.
The package I received came with the full line-up of products, so I’ll give the rest of the lot at least an honorary mention here, even though I don’t have much else to report. The creams are basically just variations on the normal body cream. I couldn’t say that they have made my feet much softer or any of that. ;-) Same for the oil, but who knows, it might come in handy for giving massages to some handsome guy one day.
In the grander scheme of things it becomes clear pretty quickly that the Seni Care products are not necessarily aimed at people of my age or even younger and cater more for the 60+ generation. That’s all fine, but offers little incentive to get the whole range. You really have to cherry-pick and be selective about what you use. Some items make sense, some not so much. Even so, the products in themselves are somewhat inconsistent even if you figure in the older age demographic, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. It’s often little things like the handling of the large foam spray can making no sense or the inadequate quantities and packaging for the Air Laid product. This should be possible to rectify easily.
On my own dime I’d simply leave out the extraneous products and focus on the barrier creams, the cleaning foam and the Air Laid wipes with one of the wet wipe variants thrown in plus possibly the thick body balm. In my little world everything else would be strictly optional. I’m of course not saying that this may not be totally different for you. Stranger things have happened and that very rich shower cream could be totally up your alley. In fact it could even be relevant for me one day, but I’m just not there yet age-wise. That said, as so often Seni surpasses many of its competitors when it comes to actual prices, so there’s nothing lost by just trying out some items. Depending on how much product you need the math could work out in your favor, after all.
Again thanks to TZMO/ Seni for providing the products for this review.