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Daily Skin Care and Hygiene Tips

UPMC Content 3

There are things you can do to help protect and take care of your skin after your spinal cord injury. You may have done many of these things before your injury without thinking about them.

Daily Skin Care Routine

  • Check your skin twice a day. Check areas that may have had pressure when you were lying down and when you were sitting.
  • Check all bony places below the level of your injury: ankles, elbows, heels, hips, and tailbone. Use a mirror if needed.
  • Look for and check out anything that seems different, such as:
    • Reddened areas
    • Scrapes
    • Bruises
    • Blisters
    • Cuts
    • Lumps or tender spots
  • Check specific clothing areas:
    • Thick seams, like those found on jeans
    • Binding in the groin area
    • Tight shoes
    • Socks with elastic tops
    • Straps holding the urine drainage system


It's important for people with spinal cord injuries to practice good hygiene. This involves staying clean and making sure that you do not let dirt and grime settle on your skin for long periods of time.

Although you may not need to bathe every day (doing so can actually make the skin drier and is not always recommended), you should clean your armpits and groin area every day. You also should wash your skin any time it gets dirty.

Here are some additional hygiene points that spinal cord injury patients need to keep in mind:

  • Wash your groin area before going to bed. Thoroughly dry it after washing.
  • Air out the groin area at least once a day.
  • Be careful not to use too much powder in your groin area if you use powder. Too much powder can lead to irritation, rashes, and cracks in your skin.
  • Dry between your toes and fingers after bathing.
  • Put lotion on dry skin, except between your toes. Dry skin may crack open.
  • Clean your fingernails and toenails daily. Keep them short for your safety.
  • Clean your urine-collecting equipment every day.

Expert Care for a Brighter Outlook on Living

If you've had a stroke, transplant, or severe injury, inpatient physical rehab can help you restore function.

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers expert inpatient and transitional rehab care for a range of health concerns, including:

We can start your rehab while you're still in the hospital.