A while back I wrote about my success with Marathon skin protectant for my red weepy skin. Well........that crap came back to visit me again, and is now gone again.....for now. Here's what I'm learning.
The red weeping skin is fairly common in dermatology, but not well understood or treated. It's usually labeled Contact Dermatitis or Eczema (and sometimes cellulitis if the doc likes throwing big words at you), with the difference being what it looks like when it's really far progressed and getting ugly. Those are also 'catch-all' labels dermatologists like to put on skin problems they can't easily explain......so you hear them a lot.
In my particular case, I'm not sure which I have, if I have either. I was thinking I had the Contact Derm, and it was some reaction my skin had to the bandage portion of my Hollister barrier. Now I don't think that anymore, and the reason is if I was having an allergic reaction to the product then I'd expect all the skin under the bandage to be red........and that's just not the case. My skin under the barrier gets red wherever the hell it wants to, but never all over. It's also not leak or weepage related, as I've looked very closely and my barrier ring stays sealed to my stoma. Back a few months, it was recommended I try an antifungal, and I did. And it worked great!! And it continued to work great for a few months. And then without me changing anything in my barrier change routine.....the damn red weepy skin started coming back.
That's when I started using the Marathon skin protectant, which is like Krazy Glue, and it literally seals the skin from the barrier bandage material. That worked great initially too. But I noticed at some point that when I peeled the previous layer of Marathon off (yes, I know you can leave it on and apply a new layer over the old, but as someone who understands painting.......that's never a good foundation), primarily to see what my skin looked like under it.........I noticed the skin wasn't really healing. It was pretty much just staying the same, but protected by the Marathon. So I figured it was time to go back to the drawing board, or go see Professor Whoopee (a reference to Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumlee that you younger folks probably won't get.......go Google it). Ok, so it wasn't an allergic reaction and I tried the antifungal thing, which left me with only 2 other options ...a bacterial or viral infection. Now I don't appear to have any symptoms of a viral infection that I can tell......but you never know.
So ok, between viral and bacterial.......I'd rather have bacterial. I don't have a good arsenal of drugs handy to really mess with a viral infection.......so I started with bacterial, as common household antibiotics are everywhere. Let's see....I got Neosporin, Bacitracin, triple antibiotic stuff........and I also have my favorite anti-inflammatory steroid Betamethasone! So time to get busy!
But then a funny thing happened.........after about a week (3 barrier changes) of just hitting it with the Beta (and nothing else) my skin completely cleared up! Huh! Ok, so the problem hasn't cured itself.....it's still there....but the Beta knocks down the inflammation well enough that I don't see it reappear 2 days later. Which is good, as it gives me some more time to ponder my dilemma.
But the point to this post is that this red, weepy skin that many of us seem to get.........is a tough nut to crack. I mean if the professionals can't figure it out....how the hell are we supposed to?? So I'd like to hear from you fine folks regarding what your experiences are with this crap.........and what you do....or have done.....to rid yourself of it, whatever it's called. It sure would be nice to have a list of things to try to give the next ostomate who posts a question about how to deal with red, weepy skin under their barrier. So what says y'all??