What is a Barrier Cream?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2019
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The traditional use for a barrier cream is to provide a barrier between the skin and the outside environment. These creams are often used by people who work with caustic chemicals or other hazards that would damage their skin. A more common use for barrier ointments is for people that suffer from urinary incontinence.

Urine is an irritating substance, and the skin in that region is very sensitive. It is common for people who suffer from urinary incontinence to experience irritation and even infections where their skin is exposed to urine.

Using a barrier cream is an effective way to keep the skin from becoming irritated. There is a variety of creams that are widely available. The type that you choose for your skin will depend on your budget as well as the degree of irritation you are experiencing.

If your skin is in good condition, but you want to make sure it stays that way, a barrier cream alternative, such as Vaseline® or other petroleum jelly may be all you need to keep your skin in shape. If you are already experiencing irritation, you may need something stronger. An over the counter cream, like the type parents use on a child’s diaper rash, is an effective and affordable choice.


If the irritation is more severe, or it appears that you have developed a skin condition in the area, it may be necessary to use an antibacterial or antifungal cream to treat the area. You may want to add a protective layer of petroleum jelly over the top of the antifungal or antibacterial cream. Neither of these are traditional barrier creams, so they will not provide a sufficient level of protection from moisture. They will only treat the existing condition.

Through the vigilant use of barrier creams, it is possible to prevent many of the skin conditions that develop as a side effect of urinary incontinence. It is important to realize, however, that complications may still occur. If you develop a skin condition that does not respond quickly to treatment, see a physician. The skin is a marvelous organ that can quickly heal itself. If it does not do so after you begin applying a barrier cream, it is possible that you have developed a serious complication.


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Post 5

You should try out an amazing skin cream called Formula II. You can buy it online.

It contains three types of waxes that function as great barriers for skin protection. I have used it for years for severe dry skin on my hands and elbows. Many people also claim it is great for eczema and in aiding the prevention of pressure ulcers. Good luck!

Post 4

I've been reading some of the comments with great interest. Unfortunately, some barrier creams are either to greasy and they block the pores as well as impede mobility or they wash off after exposure to water and detergents and therefore you have to remember to reapply every time you wash your hands.

A true barrier cream allows the skin to breathe and heal naturally without allowing the external environment (whatever that may be) to affect the natural healing process that our skin requires. One great product on the market today is called 'Hand Shield'.

Post 3

Has anybody used Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream? I'm looking for a good one for my great aunt, since her bladder control isn't so good these days.

Any information on Cavilon? I'd really appreciate it.

Post 2

I've heard that there are also some industrial occupations for cream barriers. For instance, some mechanics use a hand barrier cream to keep their skin from absorbing excess oils or toxins from all the materials they use.

I know that some doctors prescribe it too for people with contact dermatitis, though that's usually a dimethicone barrier cream or a zinc oxide barrier cream, rather than an industrial one.

In very severe cases, for instance, when a person may need to block their pores all together to keep from absorbing something, they can use a barrier cream that has clay in it to physically block the pores.

Post 1

Unfortunately, skin barrier cream is one of those things that you never think about until you need it. My father was in and out of the hospital for quite some time because of an infection he developed at his nursing home due to urinary incontinence.

They had failed to use a barrier skin cream on him, and he got a severe skin condition that later got infected.

Needless to say, now that he's doing better, we keep a protective barrier cream on him all the time. It's not the most pleasant thing to think about, but believe me, the consequences are much worse if you don't use a moisture barrier cream than if you just do it.

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