Ostomy Paste vs. Barrier Rings
Ostomy paste and barrier rings both help protect the delicate stomal skin from caustic output. Ostomy paste has a caulk-like consistency and often comes in a tube. tube Barrier rings are tacky, pre-formed rings that usually come individually packaged. Neither one these products is necessarily better than the other, it just comes down to which format you prefer.
What is Ostomy Paste?
Paste for ostomy care is actually not a paste at all. It is the consistency of paste but it is used more like a caulk than a glue or an adhesive. The caulk like paste is used to fill in uneven skin contours to help create a flatter surface. A flatter surface is important because the ostomy wafer will adhere better if it is completely flush against your abdomen. The ostomy wafer will not stay in place if there are gaps between the wafer and your skin. If there are gaps, the ostomy wafer can become dislodged completely or it can cause leakage. Ostomy paste, like many ostomy supplies, is meant to increase the wear time of your ostomy system while protecting your skin from the stoma output.
3 Tips for Using Ostomy Paste:
- Clean the skin around your stoma thoroughly so the paste will stay in place better
- Never use soaps that will leave a residue because they can interfere with adhesion
- Make sure your skin is completely dry, modern ostomy products do not adhere to wet skin
Benefits of Ostomy Paste
- Ostomy paste can be placed on the wafer or directly on the skin
- Ostomy paste can be a cheaper alternative to barrier rings and seals
- Ostomy paste is messier than barrier rings or seals.
How to Use Ostomy Paste:
- If you are applying the paste to the wafer to fill the gap between the stoma and wafer, then you will need to gently squeeze the tube of paste and follow the small circle in the center of the wafer until you make a ring of paste.
- If you need to smooth it out with your finger that is fine, it is totally skin safe.
- Apply the ostomy paste on the same side of the wafer that goes against your abdomen.
- Once the paste is in place, you will want to let it set up for a minute so the paste remains in place when you apply the wafer to your stoma.
- Hold the wafer against your side for a good 30 seconds to make sure the adhesive forms a good seal. Remember, ostomy paste is not a glue, it is a caulk that will hopefully help your wafer last longer.
Ostomy paste can be used to fill in uneven areas like skin folds and creases to enable the ostomy wafer to be flush against the abdomen.
If your ostomy wafer is right against the skin it will adhere better which should improve wear time. Ostomy paste is not an adhesive but it does work like a caulk. The paste can be applied to the skin or to the wafer and you can place it where you need it.
If you have dips or scars around your stoma that keep the wafer from being completely against the abdomen then ostomy paste is a great solution. Once applied, it helps to let the paste set up for a good minute or so to help cut down on the messiness of the paste.
Popular Brands of Ostomy Paste:
- Convatec Stomahesive Paste - By far the most popular ostomy paste, people love the consistency and the aluminum tube because it is easy to get all of the paste out of the tube.
- Hollister Adapt Skin Barrier Paste- Low alcohol content makes this ostomy paste sting less and it is available in a convenient travel size tube.
- Montreal Ostomy No-Sting Osto-Paste - Alcohol free ostomy paste that won't sting or burn broken skin
- Coloplast Brava Sting Free Paste - Alcohol free ostomy paste that has a fresh soap like scent, ostomy paste resists dissolving and break down.
What are Barrier Rings?
Barrier rings serve a similar purpose to ostomy paste, but there are a few differences. Barrier rings are made from a more solid material, yet they are flexible and can be molded to fit your stoma. This gives you a custom fit to help prevent stomal output from leaking under your ostomy wafer. The barrier ring will swell up if it comes into contact with output, shielding the surrounding skin from irritation.
Tips for Using Barrier Rings
Barrier rings are versatile in the way they can be applied. You can either apply the barrier ring to your ostomy wafer or directly to your skin, whichever you prefer.
If you don't need to use an entire barrier ring at one time, you can just cut off a portion of the ring and save the rest for later. Barrier rings can also be stretched or stacked to help achieve the best seal.
Barrier rings should be applied to clean, dry, unbroken skin. This will provide the best adhesion and a long-lasting seal.
Advantages of Barrier Rings
Barrier rings are less messy than ostomy paste because of their solid design. They can easily be molded around the shape of your stoma for the best fit. Barrier rings are also more durable than ostomy paste. Some ostomy pastes contain alcohol that can cause skin irritation, but barrier rings do not contain alcohol.
How to Use Barrier Rings:
There are two different ways you can apply barrier rings. The first way is to apply the ring to your ostomy wafer.
- Remove the backing from your ostomy wafer.
- Take the barrier ring out of its packaging and stretch, cut, or mold them to your desired shape.
- Apply the ring to the adhesive side of your ostomy wafer. Either side of the barrier ring can be applied to the ostomy wafer.
- Apply your ostomy wafer as usual.
Another way to apply barrier rings is directly to your skin.
- Make sure your stomal skin is clean and dry.
- Mold the ring around your stoma, making sure there are no gaps between your stoma and the barrier ring.
- Apply your ostomy wafer as usual.
Popular Brands of Barrier Rings:
- Coloplast Brava Moldable Ring Seals - These resist erosion and absorb excess moisture from the skin.
- Hollister Adapt CeraRing Skin Barrier Rings - Infused with ceramide to prevent skin dryness.
- Convatec Eakin Cohesive Skin Barrier Ring - Available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to fit your personal needs.