What is Diaper Rash?

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a skin problem that develops in the area beneath the diaper. Appearance of this condition ranges from irritated, reddish skin to pimples and blisters in the diaper area. In mild cases, the skin will be slightly reddish in color and warm to touch. For some infants, it appears in the form of small prickly red spots that may extend to the thighs and tummy. In a few others it may appear as a bright red patch of skin on the bottom.

Diaper rashes are common in children younger than 2-years-old, and it is also seen in people who have paralysis or incontinence. Infants get this skin condition at least once within three years. It is most common in children who between 9-months-old and 12-months-old, when they start sitting and having solid food. Identification of diaper rash is rather easy by the presence of red, irritated skin under the diaper and sometimes upper thighs. The rashes may or may not be present in the folds depending on the cause.

Here are some of the common causes of diaper rash:

  • Friction between skin and wet diapers – The friction leads to the formation of rashes on the part of the skin exposed to the diaper
  • Presence of irritants – Irritants like urine and fecal matter present in the diaper may result in red skin in those areas where it touches the skin.  
  • Fungal infectionCandida is a fungus which grows in moist places in human body like beneath the diaper. This fungal infection cause bright red, irritant skin in babies. This is common in babies who had antibiotics or whose breast feeding mothers are on antibiotics.
  • Sensitivity to chemicals – Allergens like soaps, lotions or even elastic may cause rash formation in the skin.

Children with diaper rash are usually irritable, especially when changing the diaper and cleaning the area. It is possible to treat this condition at home without taking the child to the doctor. Rashes can be controlled by cleaning and keeping the diaper area dry.

Medical attention is required if:

  • The rash spreads to other parts of the body
  • There is no significant change in the condition even after a week of home treatment
  • The rash seems to be infected with open sores and fluid-oozing yellowish patches
  • Diarrhea accompanies the rashes and continues for more than two days
  • The cause of rashes is not clear or evident

Here are a few home tips for alleviating this condition:

  • Change diapers more often
  • Clean the diaper area with a mild soap and ensure that it is dry
  • Leave the skin diaper-free for sometime after cleaning and drying
  • Avoid foods that may trigger rashes
  • Avoid using those detergents and soaps that may cause rashes
  • Use topical, anti-fungal cream if the rashes are caused by fungal infection