The ideal appliance will fit in a way that protects your skin while also providing a durable, and secure fit. Unfortunately, not every ostomate can achieve this balance so easily, so many will experience a breakdown of skin around the stoma.

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This happened to me a short while after getting my ostomy, as my new stoma was still shrinking down from its swollen state. I was quite inexperienced, so rather than change my appliance more often, I’d try to get 5+ day wear time, which meant that as my stoma became smaller, it left room for my output to eat away at my skin.

As you can see from the photos below, I had fairly deep erosion of the skin, and it hurt a lot. At the time, I had used the “crusting technique”, which involves putting stoma powder on the exposed, raw part of my skin, dust it off and apply a barrier using either barrier wipes or cavilon spray. You do this a few times to build up protection on the skin, and to allow the wafer to stick to something other than the powder. This technique does work for many people, but it worked very slowly for me.

Very painful peristomal skin 28 days post op

Very painful peristomal skin 28 days post op

More recently, as I’ve been in between wafer samples, I began to get more breakdown of the skin. I attempted to remedy this using the crusting technique, but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted; so instead, I opted to simply use a barrier ring without any powder or barrier wipes. The results impressed me, and my skin has probably never looked that good around the stoma.

Ostomy Barrier Ring on wafer

Barrier rings can be applied to a wafer (just remember to remove the release liner off the wafer first!).

Ostomy Barrier Ring on skin

Barrier rings can also be molded to fit around any size or shape of stoma.

Healthy skin around the stoma

Healthy skin around the stoma.

Now, I continue to use a barrier ring when I notice more breakdown of the skin. I may continue to use them more regularly, but they are quite expensive and I’m not done trying new appliances that might offer a better fit.

Here’s a video showing how I change my appliance, including how I use barrier rings.

Before you change your routine, you should check with your stoma nurse first, unless you’re willing to experiment on your own.
QUESTION: What techniques have you tried to heal up your skin?