With some considerable ground already covered and several of the “big players” in the field of incontinence related products already having had their due, the next one in line is Tena.
Like it has been the case with other skincare product series, Tena‘s offering is equally uneven and sort of incomplete. Things seem never to come together in one place, or in this case from a single vendor, respectively. You always have to mix and match. The part that Tena brings to the table are some paper-based products that aren’t that bad and perhaps an interesting barrier product. We’ll find out more on that later.
As far as commonalities between the products go, the most noticeable is a lemongrass scent which depending on the situation and specific product can be anything from okay to pretty annoying. Its intensity depends a lot on how long stays on your skin, so it’s more bearable when it quickly dissipates after a shower and in turn much less acceptable when your entire body smells of it, at least for me. Depending on your preference it may be just fine, but I’m hyper-sensitive to odours and get easily aggravated over them.
The package designs are contemporary and almost stylish, yet the color coding at times feels a bit unnecessary, given the limited selection of items. It’s not too much of a stretch of imagination to envision them all being just blue, even more so since the differentiation in some areas is limited, to say the least. Imagine a care nurse under stress taking a shampoo cap from the storage room instead of wet washing gloves and only realising the mistake in the patient’s room after a long walk! ;-)
The water-based cleaning department is represented by a single product – a combined shampoo and shower gel. Matching the color of the sticker on the bottle and the pump at the top it has been tinted green, but that’s pretty much all there is. I found it easy enough to use and it’s economical, lasting for quite a bit of time, but it has no specific hidden powers or secret ingredients that would e.g. make it easier to get rid of zinc cream.
Waterless cleaning features the same products commonly employed by pretty much everyone – a wet wipes, variations on the theme with wet washing gloves, foam spray and an emulsion. The latter comes in two package sizes, one as a 250 ml tube and the other as a 500 ml dispenser bottle. The wash cream is pretty “neutral” in the sense that it is neither particularly oily nor very water-y, providing a good middle-ground for most of these tasks. It is also very mild, so there is no risk of skin irritations should you not get it off right away. Sometimes this happens when I get a phone call at inconvenient times and then wander around my flat half-naked with these products still on my skin.
The foam is a different matter, and to be brutally honest, I found it mostly useless. It is extremely unstable, barely leaving you a blink-of-an-eye moment to apply it correctly. Its bubbles begin to collapse immediately as soon as they hit the skin, leaving you with a wet puddle. This behavior also makes it impossible to apply the product indirectly via your fingers – that dab of foam literally melts on your fingertips. To make matters worse the spray can again is of the stand-on-your-head variety as opposed to what would be a more useful perpendicular nozzle. Still, even if it were, getting the foam where you need it would require some practice and experience. As it is currently, this product needs some major attention and is clearly a candidate for a major overhaul.
The wet wipes are a bit of an oddity as they feel a bit “dry” when taken out of the package even though they actually aren’t. Of course I’m not complaining about this, as I’m not friends with soaking wet wipes. So arguably I should perhaps just shut up about it and accept things as they are. I’ll be the first to admit that. ;-) One advantage of this perceived dryness is the need to really proactively rub the wipes on the skin instead of just letting the cloth slide. Therefore the actual cleansing effect should in fact be even better. The downside could be that for people with very thin or sensitive skin this could already be too much and they could experience painful abrasions or their coarse skin cracking open. This is really a “your mileage may vary” thing in the end.
The wet wash gloves are an extension of the previous item and where Hartmann ask you to use up to eight of these things, Tena only require five of them by ways of a somewhat convoluted, or if you will elaborate, scheme of using the front and back sides of a single glove. Which is better is for the practitioners to decide since naturally for our purpose of cleaning the intimate regions inbetween diaper changes just one glove will do just fine most of the time. Here you even get to pick between the standard scent and an odourless variant.
Finally, there’s the shampoo cap mentioned earlier. Since I have very short, cropped hair I haven’t found a good excuse to actually use it, so I can’t offer any first-hand experience. This is by all means intended as a hair fresh-up for bedridden or otherwise immobilized people who may be too weak to make it to the bathroom. I would imagine, though, that in a pinch it could be used when you’re stuck camping out in nature or on a summer festival and access to water is limited. The product can be used both warmed up in a microwave or cold fresh out of the bag.
Complementary Paper Products
This section is one of the more unique things about Tena‘s portfolio that so far I like a lot. Okay, granted, you can find these paper products from other manufacturers, too, but typically they are more marketed for medical use than homecare/ incontinence care and they may not be available in retail, but only in bulk/ large quantities e.g. for hospitals. What also makes this particular product line stand out is that they come in boxes. Yes, you heard me right, plain old cardboard boxes with die-cut tear-open fronts that make it easy to take out an item even if you only pincer it with your oily, dirty fingers. No awkward foil bags, no nonsense. You really will appreciate what a godsend this can be when you are in a situation where you just want to reach for that dry wipe without contaminating something else. The only real downside is the bulkiness, but I’m sure you can make place on your shelf or bedstand.
The first, and at this point having become mundane, item are the washing gloves. They are available as a foil-lined version and one without. Just look at those huge numbers! Used sparingly, a single box could last you half a year. From a practical standpoint, Tena‘s gloves feel a bit stiff so even if you only want to (mis-)use them as a dry wipe, ever so slightly moisturising them with just a drop of water will make them more comfortable to use.
On to the next – so far easily one of my favorite products in this series – the dry Soft Wipes. These are universally usable wipes for all kinds of things. They can be used dry, but just as well soaking wet. Their texture is much denser and firmer than Seni‘s Air-Laid tissues, yet they are almost as soft and gentle. I often use them as a way of getting rid of excess moisture after having used wet wipes or after having had to do a thorough wet cleaning after messy accidents in the posterior regions. The smaller version of the product is way sufficient, but you can of course indulge and get the larger flavor just as well.
The other significant product is Cellduk, a more conventional multi-layered paper product akin to napkins, Tempos/ paper hankies or the similar tissues of this sort used in the medical business e.g. as sterile swabs after blood tests to stop the bleeding once the needle has been pulled out. As such the product shares the rather coarse and rough feel of this product and while it’s possible I would not necessarily use it dry. Similar to the wash gloves this works much better if it is a bit damp. It becomes more malleable, allowing you to literally get better into every (butt-)crack. Due to its layered nature it has also a pretty good absorbency, making it an ideal candidate for wiping away all kinds of splotches and stains, which of course can include mundane household stuff like wine or ketchup as well.
Truth be told, none of these paper products are admittedly essential and there’s nothing wrong with holding on to your cheap household paper towels, but I find especially the Soft Wipes a nice alternative when dealing with my poopy problems. It’s more efficient to have a single large, stable piece rather than using up endless sheets of toilet paper or being afraid to poke holes into cheap paper towels, if you get my meaning. As such I’d be ready to buy this product again every time. On some level even the price would balance itself out, depending on how much toilet paper/ kitchen towels you actually use/ have to use. To me it sometimes feels like I buy a family pack of this stuff every week…
The skincare department is as sparsely populated as pretty much every other area and only features two items – a lotion and a thicker cream. Neither of the two were particularly suitable for my skin type. Understandably the cream is aimed at people older than me, but even so I found it unnecessarily greasy. I have serious doubts that it would easily get absorbed even into the most dry and brittle elderly skin. On the other hand the lotion feels a bit too dry and sticky for its own good. It just doesn’t flow nicely on the skin and I inevitably ended up using an extra dab here and there to cover up spots that I didn’t catch right away. The advantage here is of course that it doesn’t feel sweaty like with some other products, so I’m a bit torn whether that’s all fine and good or if it needs to be changed.
The protective products are going to be a bit of a walk of shame for me because I honestly totally forgot about the zinc cream. At the time when I received my samples it wasn’t available anywhere and as I went along with my testing efforts, shooting the photos and other preparations for the article I lost sight of the matter. It only re-entered my conscious thoughts when I sat down for writing the text. I would argue, though, that you can’t really do much wrong with a zinc ointment, so unless I’m missing something fundamental, it probably will not be worth worrying about it too much. Still, there’s always a chance for those follow-up articles, of course.
As a saving grace (and also saving my deriere for this article), the alternative transparent barrier cream is actually pretty good. I was a bit skeptical, since it is as thick as honey on the verge of crystallizing and also looks like that – a rich golden color. As a catch, this also requires quite a bit of strength to squeeze it out of the tube. Once you have successfully managed to get a portion on your fingers it will begin to melt nicely, though, so actually applying it to the regions you want to isn’t a problem. This goes to show how finely tuned the liquifying point is to the body temperature. Once in place, the film it creates is more or less a somewhat dull/ matte layer, which is neither particularly sticky nor very slide-y like with some other products. I actually quite like it, even more so since it stays put for extended durations without requiring to be renewed. It survives multiple diaper changes if you don’t do excessive cleaning inbetween and completely rub it off.
My overall impression with the Tena skincare line is quite similar to the one from Attends – if one thing is missing, it’s a consistent user experience and some products are almost unusable. At least I consider the cleaning foam spray a total dud. Thankfully the cellulose-based products and the barrier cream make more than up for it, but still – this shouldn’t happen with such a big brand. Once again this is quite a mixed bag.
Thanks to SCA/ Essity for providing the product samples for this article.