Disclaimer: The information in this post is based on product knowledge from product information direct from the manufacturer and also personal use of products within my own stoma care. All experiences given here are my own and should not be taken as medical advice. If you require advice or support about any aspect of your stoma care, please contact your SCN in the first instance or your GP.

What is it?

‘Barrier’ refers to sprays, wipes and creams that add protection to the peristomal skin.

The common aspects and ‘selling points’ of these products are:

  • Creating a thin breathable barrier that protects the skin from damage.
  • This damage commonly comes from the use of adhesives, output from the stoma and friction.
  • They are safe and effective even with frequent use.
  • There is no residue build-up.
  • Protection can be on-going for up to 72hrs.
  • Once applied, they dry within seconds.
  • Some barriers can prevent perspiration penetrating the baseplate.

When it comes to barrier cream; whilst it creates a long-lasting barrier, it will also help manage sore, dry or irritated skin with its moisturising content. It will not compromise the adhesive of the baseplate or the use of tapes.

Who uses it?

Usually those with higher output or acidic output – so ileostomies and urostomies. Typically colostomies wouldn’t need protection from the output but if a patient is experiencing looser output from either medication or an illness, barrier could also help, on an ad hoc basis.

How is it used?

The barrier – either in spray form or wipe form – can be applied directly to the skin surrounding the stoma, once it is clean and clear of any output or residue.

Sprays as more cost-effective – as they usually come in 50ml bottles, where as wipes are individually wrapped. Whilst both provide adequate application of product, wipes can get into the dips and creases around the stoma. Also, they are handy for travelling.

Both can be applied more than once, but would require time between to dry – this takes less than 30 seconds.

It will dry clear and shouldn’t be sticky. It provides an invisible, thin layer.

When is it used?

As a product that is used for protection, it can be for short-term and long-term use.

It should be used to add protection to already sore peristomal skin – in the short-term – but to prevent soreness and leaks, it can also be used continuously. For some, myself included, I would be lost without my barrier. With an ileostomy and a urostomy, the output can be acidic and cause a breakdown of the baseplate, and thus the skin underneath too. I use my barrier to create a layer of protection to ensure I can keep my bag on for more than a day at a time.

My experience

I go back and forward between sprays and wipes. For my travel supplies, it was always wipes as they don’t take up too much space. But I’ve found in recent times, wipes are more helpful at getting into the areas I can’t quite see from above. There are multiple products on the market as barrier – most big companies will carry spray and wipes to appeal to both sides of the same coin.

My barrier is essential to my routine. I find without barrier, I get sore skin from the paste I use and from my own output. With the added barrier, I find that my bag peels away easier too.

Samples

NB: all products are available on the UK Drug Tariff and should be available on prescription. For those with a permanent stoma, they are entitled to stoma products under a Medical Exception Certificate, valid for 5 years. Some GP’s are governed by a Clinic Commissioning Group (CCG) Formulary – which dictates qualities and expected usage of products. It is worth enquiring about this, if needs be. 

Do you have any questions or queries? Or just want to share your own experiences? You can leave me a reply here or leave comments via my social media accounts – on Twitter, find my blog page on Facebook and over on Instagram

 

Further Reading:

VeganOstomy – A mini Guide to Barrier Wipes & Sprays (with video!)

Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) – Basic Ostomy Skin Care: A Guide for Patients and Healthcare Providers (pdf)

ConvaTec – Preventative Ostomy Skin Care   –   Maintaining Health Peristomal Skin

Disclaimer: The information in this post is based on product knowledge from product information direct from the manufacturer and also personal use of products within my own stoma care. All experiences given here are my own and should not be taken as medical advice. If you require advice or support about any aspect of your stoma care, please contact your SCN in the first instance or your GP.