HomeAboutClassesEventsNewsSupport GroupsVideos & Media Search LIFE Center
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: LIFE Center
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: LIFE Center

Skin Care Overview

Reviewed June 2016
Author: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago - Nursing Practice Council
The skin is an important part of the body that works in many ways to maintain health:

• Protects from outside injury or illness;
• Prevents germs from entering the body;
• Keeps fluids and nutrients inside the body;
• Helps to control body temperature in hot and cold weather;
• Helps the body form Vitamin D from sun exposure.

Skin is made of several layers of tissue. Some tissues are filled with tiny blood vessels that move oxygen and nutrients to the skin. The skin also has nerves, which send messages from different parts of the body to the brain about touch, pain, and temperature. Other nerves give information about where the body and body parts (arms, legs) are positioned in space.

Keeping Skin Healthy

Healthy skin is intact, well lubricated with natural oils and nourished by a good blood supply. Here are a few tips for keeping the skin healthy:


• Keep skin clean, dry and intact. Skin that is wet from urine, sweat or stool is more likely to break down.
• Dry off well after bathing, but do not rub hard with a towel. Rubbing can hurt the skin.
• Do not bathe everyday unless it is really needed. Daily baths wash away natural oils that lubricate the skin.
• Do not use alcohol for massaging bony areas of the body. Alcohol dries skin. If a back rub helps you to relax, use lotion or oil instead.
• Use a moisturizer for excessive skin dryness. Do not moisturize between toes; use baby powder if desired instead.


• Eat a balanced diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein. A dietitian, nurse, or physician can answer questions and help you plan a good diet.
• Drink 6 8 glasses of fluid every day.
• Remember that pureed or chopped foods have nutritional value. Tube feeding formulas provide all necessary nutrients for healthy skin.

Skin Inspection

• Check skin at least twice a day morning and evening – and more often if you are increasing sitting or turning times. It should be done when you change position.
• Look for sores, blisters, rashes, skin color changes, or boggy/mushy skin when they are just starting.
• If you need help with skin inspection, clearly explain what someone should be looking for.
• Remember to check entire body, especially bony areas.
• Use a long handled mirror to help check backs of legs, buttocks and back.
• Be alert to areas that have been injured and healed. Scar tissue breaks very easily.
• Look for red areas, blisters, openings in the skin or rashes.
• Check groin area. Men who wear an external catheter should check penis for sores or other problems.

Back to Top

Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
LIFE Center
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
345 E. Superior Street, First Floor
Chicago IL 60611

1.312.238.LIFE (5433) Fax 1.312.238.2860
The content of this Web site is for informational purposes only.
It does not replace the advice of a physician or other health care professionals.
Please see our Terms of Use which are located at the link at the top of the page.
Please see our disclaimer for more details.
All material is the property of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
All rights reserved.

Copyright 2016 Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
medicine on the net web excellence award     Bobby WorldWide Approved 508
The development and ongoing growth of the LIFE Center is made possible exclusively through contributions by individuals and community agencies. If you or someone you know wants to support the LIFE Center, please contact Nadia Joseph 312-238-1257 or click “here” to make an online donation. We are grateful for your generosity.