When and How to Use Skin Protective Films

Skin protective products can protect your skin from stoma output and from the effects of repeated skin barrier application and removal.

Routine Ostomy Skin Care

Learn all about skin protective films.

Skin protective films go by many names, such as skin prep, barrier film, and skin protectant. They also come in different forms, such as wipes and sprays. Although these products are manufactured or named differently, they perform the same job: protecting the integrity of the skin around your stoma.

How Skin Protective Films Work

Skin protective products create a layer of film over the skin to help protect it from corrosive stoma output, and from skin stripping associated with improper or frequent removal of the adhesive skin barrier. Some products contain alcohol, which will cause a stinging sensation when applied to raw skin areas – so be sure to read the list of ingredients on the packaging.

How to Use Skin Protective Films

Below are some general suggestions for using skin protective films:

  1. Wash your skin with warm water and a mild soap (optional). Let the skin dry thoroughly.
  2. Open the packaging of your skin protective film (i.e., wipe, spray, swab stick, bottle, etc.)
  3. Apply the product directly to the peristomal skin
  4. Allow the area to dry completely
  5. Apply your ostomy pouching system as usual

Browse through our care tips for step-by-step instructions.

When to Consider Using a Skin Protective Film

If you are experiencing peristomal skin irritation such as redness, rashes, bumps, itching, or bleeding, contact your Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) nurse or other healthcare professional. They might inspect your skin, determine the source of the problem, and recommend the appropriate treatment – which may include a skin protective film.

Myths Regarding Skin Protective Films

Myth: Skin protective products are adhesives and will make the ostomy skin barrier stick better.
Truth: Most skin protective products do not contain adhesive properties. Although they may feel sticky upon application, they simply add a protective layer to the surface of the skin. Some manufacturers do not recommend using their skin protective products if you are using an extended wear skin barrier, because this may decrease wear time.

Myth: When using a stoma powder to absorb moisture from broken skin around the stoma, you must use a skin protective layer on top.
Truth: Skin protective films are optional. As mentioned, some may contain alcohol, which will cause a stinging sensation when applied to raw skin areas. It’s not necessary to use a skin protective product over stoma powder, but your WOC nurse may recommend it.

Myth: My skin has some normal irritation, so I need to use a skin protective film.
Truth: Skin irritation is not normal. If you have irritated peristomal skin, seek the assistance of a qualified healthcare professional. Skin irritation may happen for a variety of different reasons, such as leakage, allergies, sensitivity to skin barrier tape, etc. It is important to determine the source of the irritation in order to find the best solution for improving the condition of your skin. Don’t hesitate to contact your WOC nurse/healthcare provider if you are experiencing skin irritation.

Disclaimer: Prior to use, be sure to read the Instructions for Use for information regarding Intended Use, Contraindications, Warnings, Precautions, and Instructions. Contact your skin protective product manufacturer directly to get answers to specific product questions.