March 2021 Newsletter

                            1Charlotte County Ostomy Support Group Newsletter for March 9, 2021

                                                                   Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and able to get your vaccine shots. I hope everyone has had a nice Valentine’s day and will have a great St. Patrick’s Day. It doesn’t seem possible that another month has gone by. It looks like most of the country has had its fair share of severe cold weather with plenty of snow. Hopefully March will bring better weather with less cold and snow and get ready for Spring. We are lucky to live in such a great area with just a little cold, but mostly nice weather.

I have been having a hard time finding articles for the newsletter, but I did find a few that I hope can address your needs or be informative. If anyone has ideas or articles that may be of interest, please let me know.

Ken: My tips for ostomy skin care

How Ken went from having sore and patchy skin to finding the recipe for healthy skin.

Sore skin and detached barrier

About five years ago when I first became the owner of an ostomy (which I named ‘It’) , I was really concerned about how my skin would cope with being covered by the adhesive layer and barrier. I was careful to apply barrier cream and anything that was recommended to assist in the care of that area of skin.

The barrier had a tendency to come detached in those days, which does cause us all so much stress and embarrassment. My skin was also very sore and patchy especially close to my ostomy.

Start from scratch

On changing from a one piece bag to a two piece system I determined to start my regime again from scratch and see if I could establish the reason for the problems I was experiencing.

I determined to change my barrier at the slightest sign of a tingle (I’m sure you know what I mean) even if the barrier seemed fine. A good quality adhesive remover used copiously was always part of a careful removal of the barrier. The emphasis being to be as gentle as possible to my skin by supporting it as the adhesive gave way.

Showering as nature intended

Secondly I only used soap and water to clean my skin and showered with old ‘It’ naked as nature intended when changing the barrier.

Using an ostomy cup helps to get in and out of the shower without ‘ incidents’ and only dry wipes to dry the skin before applying the barrier ensures an additive free skin surface.

Keeping skin dry around ostomy can help in barrier fitting

Result: No ostomy worries

To my great delight that regime resulted in my skin healing really well and virtually no incidents of the barrier ‘letting go’. On the occasion when that happens now I can usually put it down to my mistake.

Having the barrier on too long when I’ve been very active is mostly the reason. I have continued looking after my skin around my ostomy in this way for the past couple of years and I’m content with it.

I suspect we all have different skin types but for me this simple formula is perfect and keeps me free of ‘ostomy worries’.

How to avoid flaky skin

One of my biggest skin problems generally since ‘It’ is that of dry flaky patches on my face and legs. I generally had put this down to inadequate hydration of my skin for whatever reason. Because we do not have the water, which would normally be extracted from food in our colon, there is a natural shortfall in our hydration, I’m informed.

It’s been recommended to me that I should drink about 2 ½ to 3 liters of water a day. I’m able to achieve this by sipping often during the day. I find that when I do this, and also use a moisturizer on the effected parts, my skin returns to normal. I also take a good quality omega-3 fish oil capsule daily.

A recipe for healthy skin

I did think that because of my age my skin was having a hard time anyway so short of having a Ready Mix lorry load of anti aging cream delivered I made use of Google to investigate solutions.

It turns out that wearing sun screen above factor 30 when outdoors (I do), eating a healthy diet (I do my best) and not smoking (I don’t) are the main contributors to a vibrant healthy skin. There are vitamin supplements of vitals C and E, which are meant to work so I will have to try those or just accept this craggy old face as it is.

Glass is definitely half full. Have Fun.

Guide to healthy skin

Apply. Remove. Check. By following this procedure correctly, you will be able to keep the skin around your ostomy healthy most of the time.

Maintaining healthy skin is more than simply checking if you are applying and removing your ostomy pouching system correctly and with the right frequency. The length of time between changes will vary for each individual.

Using the following ‘Apply Remove Check’ process described here will help ensure you are in the right routine.


Make sure the skin is clean and dry before applying.

The barrier should fit snugly around your ostomy.

Accessories, such as rings or a paste, can help you achieve a good seal around the stoma.

Ensure that the barrier has made full contact with the skin by applying gentle pressure to the barrier during application – begin in the area closest to the stoma, and then move outwards towards the edges.


Protect the skin around your stoma by gently removing the ostomy barrier

Pull down on the removal tab to loosen the barrier from the skin

Gently push down on the skin as you pull down on the barrier going side to side to gently release the adhesive from the skin- This is called the push-pull technique

Note! Regardless of your pouch-change routine, you should change your barrier if you feel itching or burning.

Observe or Check

Observe the skin underneath the barrier

If necessary, use a mirror to check your skin

Check the back of the barrier

If you see one or more of the following signs, it may be because you need to change your barrier more often:

Erosion of the barrier

Leakage on the barrier or your skin

Irritated, broken or red skin

Experiencing skin irritation?

If you see any changes in the appearance or color of the skin around your stoma (compared to the skin on the rest of your stomach), if you see a rash, or have skin issues, call your ostomy nurse or healthcare provider.

These articles came from Coloplast Care.

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