Extended Wear vs. Standard Wear Skin Barriers

When choosing an ostomy skin barrier, it’s important to consider both wear time and skin health.

Find out which type of skin barrier might be right for you.

By Meredith Hill, BSN, DNP

Finding the right ostomy pouching system can be a challenge, considering the many options available. The best ostomy pouching system is the one that allows you to maintain healthy skin around the stoma (or peristomal skin) and achieve the longest wear time (i.e., how long you can wear the skin barrier before it fails). With guidance from a local healthcare professional or ostomy nurse, you can choose between an extended wear skin barrier or a standard wear skin barrier.

Extended wear skin barriers generally provide longer wear times than standard wear skin barriers. They offer strong adhesion and flexibility, and are also very resistant to erosion – which can be helpful for ostomates with liquid, corrosive, or high-volume output. People with ileostomies or urostomies and those who sweat heavily would benefit the most from using an extended wear skin barrier. Extended wear skin barriers are available on many drainable ostomy pouching systems.

Standard wear skin barriers may have shorter wear times than extended wear skin barriers, but provide a good balance of durability and gentleness. They have a moderate level of adhesion, are erosion-resistant, and are suitable for all skin types. A standard wear barrier would be appropriate for people with colostomies or for children, including toddlers and infants. They are available on both drainable and closed pouching systems.

Regardless of whether your skin barrier is extended wear or standard wear, it is important to change your pouch as soon as possible if it is leaking, or if the skin around your stoma is sore or itchy.

If you have questions about which type of skin barrier to order, ask your local ostomy nurse.


Disclaimer: Prior to use, be sure to read the Instructions for Use for information regarding Intended Use, Contraindications, Warnings, Precautions, and Instructions. Contact the manufacturer of your skin barrier directly to get answers to specific product questions.

Meredith Hill is a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Department of General Surgery-Wound Care at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. She has Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a Doctorate of Nursing practice degree from the University of Kansas School of Nursing. Meredith is an active member of several professional organizations including the United Ostomy Associations of America, and the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society.

Financial Disclosure: Meredith received compensation from Hollister Incorporated for her contribution to this article.