Peristomal skin complications or PSC are quite common experiences among ostomates. Since many things like a frequent change of pouch or the skin barrier like the ostomy discharge cannot be regulated but being well educated about your ostomy will help you improve health-related quality of your life. Due to sudden change in the shape of your abdomen or the stoma, your regular pouching system may not fit well as it did previously, leading to leakage and skin irritation.

However, thanks to medical advancements, innovative ostomy care supplies can be used to avoid peristomal skin complications. Available in abundance and reasonably priced, the ostomy powder is one such product to be used during skin prepping to control PSC.

What is Stoma Powder?

Stoma powder is a non-medicated formula used by ostomates for skin protection. This powder absorbs moisture from the parched skin around the stoma opening. This typically has the same formulation of baby powder or regular talc.

Ostomy powder can be used for all ostomy surgeries - Colostomy, urostomy or ileostomy. With moisture being absorbed, the barrier sticks better against the skin and allows the skin to heal.

Stoma powder is not a protectant or prevention against irritation. It only absorbs moisture from irritated skin and helps heal better.

What is in your Stoma Powder?

Stoma powders are available in both vegan and non-vegan variants. The non-vegan ones have Gelatin (made from animal bones or skin) in them. Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose is common in both the variants. Other ingredients include fermented polysaccharide and pectin.

Why does the skin around the stoma get irritated?

When ostomy skin barriers are either too large or too small, it is likely to cause leakage. Instead of going into the pouch, the discharge goes behind the barrier. The wetness of the skin and the corrosive nature of the digestive enzymes in the discharge is a major reason for skin irritation. Another reason for irritated skin can be too much of changing the pouch. Continuous removal and reuse of adhesive barrier tend to harm the skin. This is when two-piece pouching systems come handy. Two-piece pouches can be detached instead of removing the whole thing.

How to use Stoma Powder?

Before using a stoma powder, the stoma is supposed to be cleaned. The best soap to clean your stomach is one with no oils or lotions and unscented. These ingredients tend to interfere with stoma care products.

● Let the stoma region dry down completely.

● Apply a little amount of the powder in the open irritated skin. Apply it to the raw and moist skin only.

● If there is some residual powder, brush it off with a tissue.

● The powder should stick to the parched skin. No amount of the product should be on the rest of the skin.

What is Crusting?

Crusting is the process of sealing the stoma powder with a skin prep liquid or spray. After properly applying the powder as guided, a skin prep liquid or spray is used on top. The application is done in a gentle dabbing motion.

This is called crusting and makes the stoma powder work better. While the powder absorbs moisture around the skin, the prep liquid keeps the stoma irritation-free.

Bonus tips:

● The lesser amount of the powder used, the better. Using too much stoma powder can cause added problems to the skin.

● The powder is recommended to be used only if the skin is moist and weepy. Using it in normal skin has no advantage. It is not going to prevent irritation but can cause damage to the barrier.

● Stoma powders are prescribed for mild to acute irritation and any kind of chronic skin problem must be discussed with an ostomy doctor.

No skin irritation is a “normal” condition when dealing with the skin around your stoma. This can be a very uncomfortable and unhealthy situation to deal with, as it becomes inescapable when you must wear the pouching system over your sore peristomal skin. Therefore, if you see the peristomal skin red, broken or weeping, consult your doctor immediately and get yourself the essential ostomy supplies to make the condition smooth and hassle-free.