For most people washing the skin daily with a mild soap and rinsing
with water is appropriate. If there is a lot of wound drainage or incontinence, more frequent cleansing with a pH-balanced
wash may be needed. If the skin is very dry, bathing every other day may be enough.
Skin Care & Nutrition
- Consult with your healthcare professional about the specific skin
care procedure that is best for you to use.
- Inspect the skin daily for problems: reddened areas, breakdown areas,
corns or calluses.
- Most experts recommend using a three step process for skin care:
Cleansing (see Wound Cleansing)
c. Using a moisture barrier (if needed)
- Almost everyone benefits from moisturizing the skin with lotions
or creams, especially during the cold months of the year. Once or twice a day moisturizing is usual.
- After showering or bathing, pat (don't rub) the skin dry with a soft
towel, then moisturize. Moisturizing right after a shower or bath is best.
- Many experts suggest using skin care products that are fragrance-free,
lanolin-free and hypoallergenic in order to minimize allergic reactions.
- Special lotions or creams may be useful for people with diabetes.
These contain urea which helps minimize the build-up of callus.
- Moisture barriers are the third step in the skin care process. If
there is a wound with drainage or incontinence, using a thick layer of moisture barrier (about 1/8") will help to protect
- Wear clothes made of a natural, breathable material, such as 100%
cotton, to enhance skin health.
- Evaluate the person's fluid intake to improve skin hydration - Normalize
fluid intake - unless contraindicated for another medical reason - Drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of liquid a day.
- Less is more: Use small quantities of skin care products on a regular
basis for optimal skin care.
- Consult with your healthcare professional about the specific nutrition plan that is best.
- Wound healing is aided by adequate calories, fluids, protein, vitamins and minerals.
If any of these are lacking, supplementation may be needed.
- Nutritional supplements may take many forms, including additional:
·all of the above
- Diabetes and high blood sugars slow wound healing. Be sure the diabetic diet is followed carefully.
- Ask for a consult with a Registered Dietician if you need help planning or following a special diet.
- Check body weight weekly. If you find the weight suddenly increases or decreases, a special diet and
vitamin supplements may be needed (AHCPR, 1994).
- An unplanned weight gain or loss of ten pounds or more in six months should be looked into (AHCPR, 1994).
For more information about nutrition, you can contact the Consumer Hotline of the National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics
- If you are incontinent of (lose) urine, limit bladder irritants like caffeine
(chocolate, coffee, tea, cola), aspartame (Nutrasweet) and alcohol. Unless other medical conditions limit your fluid intake,
drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of fluid each day.
- If you are incontinent of stool, discuss dietary fiber and developing a bowel program with your healthcare
- Smoking impairs wound healing. Consult your healthcare professional about methods to control or stop
- Enhance the nutrition management plan with an exercise plan, as suggested by your healthcare professional.
Treating pressure sores. Consumer Version Clinical Practice Guideline Number 15. Agency for Health Care
Policy and Research (AHCPR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 1994.