A double blind controlled trial was carried out to measure the efficacy of Sudocrem, compared with zinc cream BP, in the treatment and prevention of incontinence-associated dermatitis in an elderly inpatient population. Three objective measures of skin condition were used to assess efficacy. Sudocrem was shown to be superior to zinc cream BP in the treatment of dermatitis, with no significant difference shown in terms of prophylaxis. The objective measures of skin health seemed to be a promising advance on earlier, subjective methods, and their further development is recommended. There was some indication that the normal skin of an incontinent patient does not deteriorate when managed with Sudocrem or zinc cream.