Moisture Associated Skin Damage (MASD)

MASD develops when the skin has prolonged exposure to excessive moisture; The skin

becomes over-hydrated and is prone to maceration, this makes it easier for irritants and

micro-organisms to penetrate the skin damaging its protective function and making it more

susceptible to breakdown.

MASD describes a range of inflammatory skin damage that occurs in response to the

prolonged exposure of an individual’s skin to substances such as, perspiration, urine, faeces,

or wound exudate. The harmful effects of excessive moisture are often associated with

incontinence, which leads to incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD). It can often be

difficult to distinguish between pressure ulcers and IAD however, it is important that the

correct diagnosis is made, as these conditions have different aetiologies and treatment


Education and awareness are key in MASD reduction and management. Importantly,

managing incontinence to preserve skin health with suitable consumables and skin

protective regimes; inspect the skin for signs of problems; consider nutritional status;

implement a preventative plan of care; think about mobility and changing position; identify

MASD correctly; provide appropriate skin care; and educate staff and patients.

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