Effects of a Skin Barrier Cream on Management of Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis in Older Women: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a skin barrier cream with moisturization and skin-protectant characteristics for improving the severity of incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) pertaining to the skin physiology and appearance. We measured the following outcomes: (1) skin physiological characteristics indicating skin protection and enhancement of the skin's moisture barrier (stratum corneum hydration, dermis hydration level, transepidermal water loss, and skin pH); and (2) changes in skin appearance (the degree of erythema and pigmentation, and the sulcus cutis condition).


Single-blind, cluster randomized controlled trial.


The study was conducted in a long-term care facility in Japan between November 7, 2011, and May 6, 2012. We used block randomization to obtain a random sample of 6 (4 experimental and 2 control) out of 10 available wards. All subjects were elderly women with IAD of the buttock or inner thigh. We assessed 295 patients, but only 33 met inclusion criteria; 18 were allocated to the experimental group and 15 were allocated to the control group.


All participants were managed with cleansing with a skin cleanser and application of a moisturizer daily. In addition, a skin barrier cream designed to enhance the skin's moisture barrier and act as a protective barrier was applied to the skin of patients in the experimental group 3 times a day when absorptive briefs were changed. Skin physiological and appearance characteristics were scored only at the buttock or thigh area. All data were collected on days 1 and 14 of the study.


Univariate analysis found that the erythema index was lower in the intervention group than in the control group at day 14 (P = .004). Multivariate analysis found significant associations between use of the skin barrier cream and increased stratum corneum hydration (β= .443, P = .031), decreased skin pH (β=−.439, P = .020), and magnitude of erythema (β=−.451, P = .018).


Study findings suggest that a barrier cream designed to enhance the skin's moisture barrier and act as a skin protectant increased stratum corneum hydration, reduced cutaneous pH, and reduced erythema.

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