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Ostomy Wound Manage. 2005 Dec;51(12):30-42.

A controlled, three-part trial to investigate the barrier function and skin hydration properties of six skin protectants.

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ConvaTec Wound Therapeutics, Deeside, UK.


In the treatment of incontinence dermatitis, a skin protectant primarily prevents skin breakdown due to moisture and biological irritants in urine and feces. To assess the barrier and skin hydration properties of six currently available skin protectants with different formulations, a controlled, three-phase study was conducted at a research facility in the UK among 18 healthy volunteers. The study addressed each product's efficacy against insult from a known irritant (sodium lauryl sulphate), skin hydration potential, and maintenance of skin barrier and barrier efficacy against maceration. Using white petrolatum (glycerin) as the positive control and untreated sites as the negative control, the results show that each one of the products tested has different performance properties. Products containing petrolatum demonstrated protection against irritants (P = 0.006 at 24 hours) and maceration (P < 0.005) and provided some skin hydration. Products containing dimethicone varied in protection against irritants (P < 0.005, or P > or = 0.806 at 24 hours) and have good skin hydration potential and low barrier efficacy (P > 0.500). Zinc oxide-based products showed protection against irritants (P < 0.005) but poor skin hydration and barrier properties to prevent maceration (P = 0.262). Overall, only the water-in-oil petrolatum- based product performed effectively within all the parameters tested. This study suggests that skin barrier protection involves more than the inclusion of an active barrier ingredient. Further testing and use of barrier products in the clinical setting will provide additional evidence for appropriate product selection.

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