Effectiveness of topical skin products in the treatment and prevention of incontinence-associated dermatitis: a systematic review

Priscilla Pather, Sonia Hines, Kate Kynoch, Fiona Coyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


EXECUTIVE SUMMARYBackground Incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) is inflammation of the skin resulting from repeated contact with urine and/or feces. It causes pain, redness, swelling and excoriation, and may lead to complications such as fungal skin infections and pressure injuries. It is important to prevent and treat IAD to avoid complications and improve patient outcomes. A number of products are available for protecting skin, but evidence on their effectiveness is limited. Objectives The current review aimed to establish the effectiveness of topical skin products in reducing the occurrence and/or severity of IAD. Inclusion criteria Types of participants Adult patients over the age of 18 years with incontinence and/or diarrhea. Types of intervention Topical skin products as individual interventions or part of a skin care regimen. Types of studies Both published and unpublished study designs including randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental, before and after, prospective and retrospective cohort, case-control, analytical cross-sectional, descriptive study designs including case series, individual case reports and descriptive cross-sectional studies across all care settings for inclusion. Outcomes The primary outcome of interest was the absence or non-development, reduction or resolution, new development or increase in the occurrence of IAD or the increase in severity of IAD. The secondary outcome was any adverse effect caused by the skin care products used. Search strategy A three-step search strategy to find both published and unpublished papers was utilized in this review. Studies were limited to those published in English from 1980 to 2016. Methodological quality Papers selected were assessed by two independent reviewers using the Joanna Briggs Institute Meta-Analysis of Statistics Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-MAStARI). Data extraction Data were extracted using the standardized data extraction tool in JBI-MAStARI. The data extracted included specific details about the interventions, populations, study methods and outcomes. Data synthesis Studies were assessed for methodological quality and statistical significance to determine validity and generalizability of study results. It was not possible to pool studies to conduct meta-analysis or test for heterogeneity. Results There were a limited number of clinical trials that compared products for efficacy in preventing and treating IAD. Assessment tools and severity scores used to measure skin damage outcomes were dissimilar and prone to subjectivity. It was difficult to ascertain superiority of any individual product. Conclusion Information on barrier protective efficacy, side effects and cost can be valuable to both clinicians and care providers. More randomized controlled trials on product effectiveness for prevention and treatment of IAD are highly recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1496
Number of pages24
JournalJBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Incontinence-associated dermatitis
  • nappy/napkin rash
  • perineal dermatitis
  • rash
  • treatment


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