Digestive Health Diarrhea Print Tips for Treating Skin Irritation From Diarrhea By Amber J. Tresca Updated November 23, 2018 Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician More in Digestive Health Diarrhea Daily Care Bloating & Gas Exams & Procedures Celiac Disease Constipation Inflammatory Bowel Disease Irritable Bowel Syndrome More Digestive Diseases Peptic Ulcer Disease Heartburn SIBO Gallbladder Disease Stomach Flu Hemorrhoids View All Most healthy adults experience diarrhea a few times a year. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may have diarrhea for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes diarrhea can burn the skin, especially if the stool is very loose and acidic. Having surgery such as j-pouch (ileal pouch-anal anastomosis) or an ileoanal anastomosis, in which the colon is removed, can result in acidic, burning stools. This can be very irritating to the skin and difficult to treat. Here are some tips on how to reduce the skin irritation, including what foods can make diarrhea worse and what foods can help. Illustration by Brianna Gilmartin, Verywell 1 Keep the Area Clean After a bowel movement, clean the area gently with wet wipes or baby wipes. At times, however, even gentle wiping can be painful. Another tactic is to rinse your bottom in a sitz bath or use a shower head to spray off. Let the area air-dry or use a blow dryer on the cool setting. 2 Apply a Barrier Cream "Barrier cream" means anything that will coat the skin and protect it from stool and moisture. Diaper rash cream that contains zinc oxide work very well when applied to clean, dry skin. Reapply after a bowel movement. Petroleum jelly or vitamin A and D cream also work to protect skin from diarrhea. 3 Avoid Hot Baths and Showers It may seem as though a soak in a hot bath would be the best thing for your sore and broken skin. However, hot baths and showers can actually dry skin out. A soak in lukewarm water may be helpful. Use a barrier cream after a bath or shower to lock moisture in. 4 Drink Plenty of Liquids If you have diarrhea, and especially if it's chronic, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Drinking water and other hydrating liquids can help you prevent dehydration and also work to keep your skin from drying out. Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol, which have a dehydrating effect. 5 Avoid Problem Foods Some foods may trigger or contribute to diarrhea or make your stool more acidic. A few foods to avoid include: Artificial sweetenersCitrus fruits and drinksFatty foodsFried foodsGreasy foodsSpicy foods 6 Be Wary of Supplements Many people take various supplements along with medications, and people with IBD are no exception. Some types of supplements can cause stool to become more irritating to your skin. This includes: CayenneGinsengGlucosamineMilk ThistleSaw Palmetto 7 Avoid Dairy Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, and cheese can worsen diarrhea, especially if you have lactose intolerance. Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet from other sources such as green, leafy vegetables and salmon or shrimp. 8 Avoid Prolonged Sitting Sitting for a long period of time is not easy on your bottom, especially if you also have hemorrhoids. Avoid sitting too much if possible—lying down will be easier on your bottom. 9 Sit on a Cushion Avoiding sitting for long periods of time is a great idea, but in reality, most of us must sit for part of the day to go to work or attend school. If you are unable to take a few days off to deal with your diarrhea and your irritated skin, try sitting on a cushion. It does not need to be anything special—even a bed pillow will do in a pinch. 10 Treat the Diarrhea Ultimately, the best way to help your skin heal is to get to the source and slow down your diarrhea. Aside from treating your IBD or other condition that is causing diarrhea, the following foods may be helpful: Fish (broiled or baked, not fried)Fruit, such as bananas or peeled applesCanned fruitRefined pastasWhite rice or breadSmooth peanut butterWell-cooked vegetablesCheese (if not lactose-intolerant) Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Gas pain? Stool issues? Sign up for the best tips to take care of your stomach. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. (May 2012). Diet and IBD.