Hello loyal Monks readers! It’s time for another edition of the celebrated blog series whose vast reach has helped upwards of a dozen people answer several simple medical questions. That’s right – it’s the Ostomy Files, volume four!
A New Breakthrough
This time around we’ll be tackling something new in the ostomy world. It’s such a new idea, in fact, thus far only one manufacturer has anything like it. Hollister’s CeraPlus series of barriers and accessories, introduced in 2018, is quietly in the process of revolutionizing the industry. They’re doing it by infusing their adhesives with a special compound that naturally protects against dryness, soreness and other skin issues associated with ostomies.
That compound is Ceramide. Read on to learn how this substance, already present in human skin, can help you or your loved one save time and money, while improving quality of life.
What is Ceramide?
Ceramide is a lipid (the chemistry term for a fat). Like collagen, it is found naturally in the human body, notably in the skin. In fact, it makes up over 50% of the skin’s composition, with highest concentrations in the uppermost layers.
If skin cells were bricks, ceramide would be the mortar. Its function is to help hold skin together by forming a protective layer that limits moisture loss and protects against damage from outside elements.
Ceramide and Skin Barriers
A skin barrier’s function, of course, is to adhere to the skin around the stoma, providing an anchor for the ostomy pouch, which collects the stoma’s output. We’ve already exhaustively documented the potential damage that can be done to peristomal skin when leakage underneath the barrier goes unchecked. But even folks who have largely conquered the leakage issue may still have skin problems like dryness, itching and general discomfort.
Products in the CeraPlus line aim to increase barrier performance for everyone with peristomal skin complications, be they minor or severe. The ceramide-infused adhesive reinforces the already-present “mortar” around the skin cells, thereby helping retain moisture. This, in turn, strengthens the skin and helps fight against itching, soreness and breakdown.
CeraPlus Tips and Tricks
The CeraPlus line of barriers and accessories are not outwardly different from their non-ceramide-infused counterparts, and they are generally used in the same ways. The barriers peel and stick in the same fashion. The rings are still moldable and help to fill the gaps around the stoma.
There is, however, one major piece of advice the manufacturer generally gives.
As has been explained in a previous post, skin prep, whether in wipe or spray form, is not an adhesive. While it may seem to add a bit of tackiness to the peristomal area, it is exclusively used as a skin protectant. That means, as it dries, it creates a solid barrier between the skin and the adhesive. This is exactly what you don’t want when it comes to CeraPlus products.
Hollister generally recommends folks forgo from using any kind of skin protectant when using the ceramide-infused adhesives. It will block the ceramide from sinking into the skin, thereby negating all the possible benefits.
All Possible Benefits
In a recent study, researchers found that patients using CeraPlus products had a fairly significant drop in ostomy-related expenses over a 12-month period. This is likely related to the findings in another, Hollister-sponsored study, which found that the majority of ostomy patients who were having trouble with frequent changings found some relief with CeraPlus products.
So There You Have It…
… CeraPlus products offer many potential benefits to your skin and your pocketbook. You can, of course, purchase CeraPlus barriers and accessories from Medical Monks at virtually the same price point as their non-ceramide brethren. If you have any questions or concerns about CeraPlus products, consult a medical professional. Medical Monks reps are also, as always, available to help with any questions you may have.