The primary goal of skin care for the person with a stoma is prevention of skin breakdown. The first step is careful maintenance of the skin from the time of surgery forward. The patient and family should be taught every step of protecting the skin and recognizing early signs and symptoms of potential breakdown. The loss of peristomal skin integrity affects the person's entire well-being. Pouches will not adhere as well and accidental leaks occur. The impact on psychologic well-being is difficult to measure, but can be assumed to be significant. A circular effect can begin in which the skin irritation leads to accidents, which further compromise the skin integrity. Time may be lost from work or school. Damaged skin is also painful. The cost of treating peristomal skin breakdown can be high. The products used in ostomy care are relatively expensive. A single skin barrier may range from $3 to $5. Frequent changes will be necessary to assess and treat the lesions adding to the cost. Prevention is in the realm of effective nursing care and will include assessment of the skin, selection and application of appropriate pouches and skin barriers, patient and family teaching programs, and follow-up evaluations after hospitalization.