Managing incontinence-associated dermatitis: Comparing the 3-step process and 3-in-1 wipe


22nd August 2023


Incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) is a common and under recognised problem, caused by breakdown of the skin in individuals with incontinence, especially those with faecal incontinence.[1] It can be accompanied by redness, blistering, erosion and secondary infection.[2]

Proper skin care is essential in managing IAD and preventing its recurrence. Traditionally, a 3-step process involving cleansing, moisturising, and protecting the skin has been followed. However, an alternative approach using 3-in-1 IAD wipes has gained popularity due to its perceived advantages. In this article, we will explore both methods, highlighting their respective benefits.

Time efficiency

Global guidelines champion the use of 3-step skin care regimes[2], however, they also suggest that traditional cleansing isn’t suitable for preventing and managing IAD.[2,3]

The 3-step process involves assembling multiple products, and completing each application while following manufacturer instructions during an extended care episode. In contrast, 3-in-1 IAD wipes streamline the process by eliminating the need for multiple products, as the cleansing, moisturising and protecting properties of these wipes significantly reduce the time spent on each care episode.

Consistent care

Standardised care delivery is crucial for the effective treatment and prevention of IAD. This is particularly important in healthcare facilities where multiple carers are involved. Utilising a single product for IAD management reduces treatment variations and minimises the risk of inconsistent care occurring.

Reduced cross-contamination

Basins used for patient bathing have been shown to be contaminated with multidrug-resistant organisms.[4]

The 3-step process, involving the use of water basins for bathing, poses an infection risk to vulnerable or immunocompromised individuals. The use of 3-in-1 IAD wipes reduces the risk of spreading pathogens, promoting a safe and hygienic care environment for patients and residents.

Streamlined training

Extensive training is required to effectively carry out the traditional 3-step process of cleansing, moisturising, and protecting. The carer needs to understand:

  • Proper skin care techniques
  • Suitable skin-neutral pH products
  • How to apply them correctly with appropriate quantities
  • Adherence to the required drying time between each application

A simplified approach to skin care is possible with 3-in-1 IAD wipes. These wipes make it easier to train caregivers to deliver care consistently. With a single product, the training process can be streamlined, focusing on proper technique, and understanding the specific needs of individuals with, or at risk of, IAD.

Efficient stock management

From a logistical standpoint, the 3-in-1 IAD wipe simplifies stock management. Healthcare facilities and caregivers need to stock only one product instead of multiple items for each step of the traditional process. This can lead to reduced forecasting and costs, and increased convenience. The potential for a reduction in suppliers also provides operational and cost efficiencies.

The choice between these methods ultimately depends on individual preferences, available resources, and specific end-user needs. Both approaches aim to provide optimal care for individuals with incontinence-associated dermatitis, and caregivers should make an informed decision based on their unique circumstances.

Want to learn more about managing IAD? Order your FREE Contiplan IAD Care Pack today!


[1] Rippon, M., Colegrave, M., & Ousey, K. (2016). Incontinence-associated dermatitis: reducing adverse events. British Journal of Nursing, 25(18), 1016-1021.

[2] Beeckman, D., Campbell, J., Campbell, K., Chimentao, D., Coyer, F., Domansky, R., Gray, M., Hevia, H., Junkin, J., Karadag, A., Kottner, J., Arnold Long, M., McNichol, L., Meaume, S., Nix, D., Sabasse, M., Sanada, H., Yu, P., Voegeli, D., & Wang, L. (2015). Proceedings of the Global IAD Expert Panel. Incontinence-associated dermatitis: moving prevention forward. Wounds International

[3] Best Practice Statement. Care of the Older Person’s Skin. London: Wounds UK. 2012 (2nd edition). Available to download from: Accessed Mar 16, 2023.

[4] Dror Marchaim, Alexis R. Taylor, Kayoko Hayakawa, Suchitha Bheemreddy, Bharath Sunkara, Judy Moshos, Teena Chopra, Odaliz Abreu-Lanfranco, Emily T. Martin, Jason M. Pogue, Paul R. Lephart, Sanjeet Panda, Sorabh Dhar, Keith S. Kaye, Hospital bath basins are frequently contaminated with multidrug-resistant human pathogens, American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 40, Issue 6, 2012, Pages 562-564, ISSN 0196-6553, (



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