Nursing Skin Care
Since the skin acts as the first line of defense against the external environment, it behooves us to pay attention to the condition of the skin and take steps to ensure its integrity. According to the journal "Practice Nurse," nursing care of the skin involves examining the skin and caring for skin.
Function of the Skin
The "British Journal of Nursing" describes the primary function of the skin as its protective role to prevent harmful substances, such as infectious organisms, from entering the body. The skin's second purpose involves the role of maintaining the body temperature. The ability to sense pain comprises the third function of the skin. The skin contains three layers of structure. The epidermis comprises the thin outer layer that contains hair and pores. The dermis sits beneath the epidermis to supply structure, blood vessels and nutrition support to the top layer. The subcutaneous fat comprises the level below the dermis. The fat layer provides padding to absorb shock and injury.
Health History of Skin
A health history provides the caregiver with a background of relevant information for care of the skin. Reviewing the general medical history may uncover associated conditions affecting the skin such as diabetes, vascular disease and allergies. According to "Practice Nurse," if the caregiver finds skin conditions, further questions must be asked about the length of time the skin condition has been present and what, if any, the person used as prescribed or over-the-counter treatments for the skin.
Examination of the Skin
During the physical examination, the nurse employs four sensory organs to assess the skin. Touch determines temperature, textures such as roughness, raised masses, wetness or dryness. Visual inspection identifies patterns like rashes, scars, openings, foreign objects, acne, flaking or changes in the color of the skin. Hearing may pick up sounds of rushes of air such as with an injury in the chest wall or gushing of blood as occurs with stab wounds. The sense of smell detects odors related to infection, soiled skin or topical applications on the skin.
Identification of Skin Problems
The nurse documents the skin abnormalities assessed by the skin health history and examination of the skin. According to the "British Journal of Community Nursing," the health record note encompasses all the following factors when uncovering a skin condition. The nurse charts location and size of any abnormality on the body. The nurse obtains information on the color, regular or irregular borders, an edge that is or is not well-defined, a surface that is or is not ulcerated, and presence or absence of associated blood vessels. Inclusion of a drawing in the health record may assist in clearly delineating a skin condition.
Maintenance of the Skin Surface
The nurse maintains the skin's integrity by bathing it to remove flaking skin, dead cells, bacteria and sweat. Unless an individual requires a special soap, regular bar or liquid body soap cleanses the skin. According to the textbook "Clinical Nursing Skills and Techniques," dry skin may need super-fatted soap for cleansing. Physicians may order medicated bath substances or topical products for specific skin conditions. The nurse applies moisturizers and barrier creams on individuals with urinary and bowel incontinence.
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