How to Crust Around Your Stoma

When the skin around your stoma gets damaged, it’s hard to get it to heal. Applying your ostomy pouching system can irritate skin even more, making it difficult to adhere. This can cause leaks, which further damages the skin.

The crusting technique can help. Crusting creates a dry barrier over raw and weepy skin, protecting it and giving it a chance to heal. Crusting must be done carefully, however. Overusing the technique can prevent your ostomy skin barrier from adhering properly. And if your skin is often injured and irritated, then you’ll need to address the root cause: a poorly fitting pouching system. Consult your healthcare provider if your skin gets worse and won’t heal.

This quick guide will show you how to crust around your stoma.

Step 1: Clean and dry the skin around your stoma

Clean the skin as your healthcare provider recommends, either with water or with a gentle soap. Rinse and dry the skin. Don’t use any alcohol, lotions, or oils on your skin.

Step 2: Apply a small amount of stoma powder

Apply powder only to raw and weepy skin. Use gauze or tissue to gently press the powder onto the problem areas, then brush away any extra powder.

Don’t leave any stoma powder on the surrounding intact skin, because it can prevent your ostomy skin barrier from sticking properly. If the powder won’t stick to your skin, then you probably don’t need it.

Step 3: Apply barrier film to the powder

Use a spray-on barrier film or a skin protective wipe to seal the powdered areas. If you’re using a spray, lightly cover the area. If you’re using a wipe, gently dab it over the powder. If you accidentally wipe off the powder, go back to step 2.

Step 4. Allow the film to dry

You should see the crust turn white. You can repeat the process, if desired, to build up the protective barrier.

Step 5: Apply your one- or two-piece ostomy pouch as usual

If you have trouble adhering your skin barrier, an excess of powder or barrier film may be preventing it from sticking. When you remove your skin barrier, be sure to clean the area thoroughly to remove any buildup.