Diaper Rash

1 What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a form of dermatitis that appears as a patchwork of bright red skin on a baby's bottom.

It may be caused by wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin sensitivity, and chafing. Although it can affect anyone who wears diapers, it mostly affects babies.

Home treatments, such as air drying, more frequent diaper changes and ointments can help the rash to clear up.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of diaper rash include:

  • Red, tender-looking skin in the diaper region- the buttocks, thighs and genitals
  • Baby is uncomfortable than usual, especially during diaper changes. The baby fuses or cries whebn the sensitive diaper areas are touched or washed.

3 Causes

The causes of diaper rash may include the following:

  • Irritation of the skin caused by stool or urine
  • Tightfitting diapers that rub against the skin
  • Irritation due to a new product, such as baby wipes, a new brand of disposible diapers, detergent or fabric softener used to wash diapers
  • Bacterial or fungal (yeast infection)
  • Introduction of new foods which may cause changes in stools
  • Conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis (eczema), which increase the risk of diaper rash
  • Chronic use of antibiotics 

4 Treatment

Keeping the baby's skin clean and dry is the best treatment for diaper rash.

The following may be recommended in cases where this treatment fails:

  • A mild hydrocortisone (steroid) cream
  • An antifungal drug in case of fungal infections
  • Topical antibiotics if the diaper rash is as a result of a bacterial infection

Several days are required for the diaper rash to disappear. In some cases diapers rash may reappear.

In such cases, the baby may require to see a skin specialist (dermatologist).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

5 Prevention

Keeping the diaper area clean and dry is the best way to prevent diaper rash.

The following tips can be used to prevent diaper rash form developing:

  • Changing diapers frequently.
  • Rinsing the baby's bottom with warm water during each diaper change.
  • Gently patting the skin with a towel or letting it air dry.
  • Avoiding overtightening diapers.  
  • Using ointments during each diaper change especially if a baby gets rashes often.  
  • Carefully washing the hands after each diaper change to prevent the spread of bacterial or yeast infections.

 If cloth diapers are used, they should be carefully washed to prevent irritating the baby's skin.

6 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Alternative remedies used for diaper rash include:

  • Apply an ointment of witch hazel (winter bloom) to the diaper rash
  • Applying human breast milk to diaper rash

7 Lifestyle and Coping

There are different ways to adapt your baby's lifestyle in order to treat diaper rash.

Diaper rash can be treated at home by:

  • Keeping the diaper area clean and dry by changing the diapers immediately they are soiled. Applying certain creams, such zinc oxide and petroleum jelly   can be used to protect the skin from moisture.
  • Letting the baby's bottom airdry during each diaper change.
  • Avoiding tightfitting plastic pants and diaper covers.
  • Applying ointment, paste, cream or lotion to the baby's bottom. Some over-the-counter products that can be used include A+D, Balmex, Desitin, Tripple Paste and Lotrimin ( for yeast infections).  
  • Giving a baby a daily bath until the rash clears.