What is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is a term often generalized which indicates any skin irritation that develops in and around the diaper covered region. it is associated mainly with babies. Even adults get diaper rash.
Diaper rashes are very common to babies, which is a patch of inflamed skin, reddish in color that becomes visible on the buttocks or the genital area as rashes grow in moist places.
Though it can happen to anyone using a diaper, it is usually linked with babies.
Nappies rash or Diaper Dermatitis is associated with insensitive skin, wet diapers infrequently changed, stool irritation, new food products, and too tight diapers.
How Does It Look Like?
Diaper rash generally looks like a skin sore, red in texture, tender and scaly.
Though depending upon the type of rash the symptoms change slightly.
At times it looks like pink or red patches; at times it is identified by a yellow crust, sores, bumps, and pimple like formations varying from child to child.
Types of Diaper Rash
Diaper rashes can generally be classified into four types.
1. Irritant diaper rash/dermatitis
It is the most common type of dermatitis which is caused due to long time contact of the skin with stool and urine.
Irritant diaper rash is spotted by red or pink patches and the swelling of the skin in the area covered by a diaper.
The wet diaper is the cause of this type of rash.
2. Candida dermatitis/Yeast infection
This is a type of diaper rash, which is fairly traced.
These types of rashes are caused due to the extra growth of fungus or yeast which grows rapidly in moist, warm places and diapers are an ideal place, thus it thrives.
Though the presence of yeast is a very normal part of the microbes surviving on our skin, the overgrowth is caused due to the imbalance in the microbes.
Yeast infection can be spotted by bright red and pink patches which are often shiny with sharp edges, bumps and may look like pimples.
In severe cases the sores may bleed. A baby yeast diaper rash is usually worse than irritant diaper rash.
Tight diapers during diarrhea, ammonia in urine, the acid in stools may yield to Candida dermatitis or baby yeast infection.
Even the yeast rash may develop after the intake of antibiotics or after trying new soap products.
Breastfeeding moms too can pass on yeast infection when they are under medication.
3. Allergic Dermatitis
Allergic dermatitis is occasionally found in babies with sensitive skin, who have a reaction to wipes, creams or any diaper ingredients, which includes elastics, dyes, fragrances and preservatives.
This may also happen after switching brands of diaper. However allergy is not a thing to be generalized and thus each case should be investigated separately.
This kind of dermatitis is harder to spot, but it generally makes its presence visible with redness.
4. Bacterial Dermatitis
Bacterial dermatitis is generally caused by some kind of bacterial infection. Impetigo is another name for it.
Bacteria like Staph (Staphylococcus) and Strep (Streptococcus) are the cause of the growth of bacterial dermatitis or bacterial rash.
Staph rashes are spotted by blisters filled with pus that rupture and form yellow (honey-colored) crusting or scab.
Strep rashes are spotted by bright red rashes around the anus. Strep rashes are also found in older children.
It causes pain in elimination of stool.
Other than these four broad categories, there are some rare conditions that can cause diaper rash.
Seborrheic dermatitis, which is caused due to overproduction of oil in the skin due to deficiency of zinc also rashes may appear in the diaper area.
Causes of Diaper Rash
The causes of Diaper Rash are wet diaper and tight diaper from which several problems originate.
Most of the rashes are triggered by enzymes in the baby’s poop. Diaper friction, yeast infection is another common culprit.
The main causes of diaper rash which you need to be aware of:
1. Irritation From Urine & Stool
The baby’s skin is very sensitive. If it remains exposed for a long time to stool and urine, it can cause irritation.
Diaper rash may also increase if the baby is experiencing frequent bowels or affected by diarrhea.
This is because stool is more irritating and dangerous than urine.
2. Chafing or Rubbing
Chafing and rubbing is another dominant cause for a newborn diaper rash.
It is one of the most common causes for the development of rashes around the diaper area.
Tight fitting diapers, that rubs against the sensitive skin of the baby causes friction resulting in sores and patches which further leads to rashes.
3. Irritation Due To A New Product
Diaper rashes may also happen from the reaction of the use of new products to a baby.
The products from which rashes may develop are baby wipes, detergents, and bleach or fabric softener.
Even new creams, ointments, oil, powder too may cause rashes if it doesn’t suit the baby.
4. Bacterial or Yeast (Fungal) Infection
Yeast infection is a fervent cause for diaper rash. Bacteria grow fast in warm and moist regions.
The diaper being such is an ideal place for it to thrive and areas like buttocks, thighs and genitals are exposed to this kind of rash.
5. Introduction of New Foods
The contents of a baby’s stool start to change as it starts consuming solid food.
And due this rashes increase because the skin was not accustomed to certain enzymes or excretions emitted previously.
And in the new setup it reacts to it.
Habits related to Food Consumption and changes related to diet for older children may also result in rashes.
And due to this change, the child’s stool frequency if increased can also lead to diaper rash.
If a baby is in the breast fed stage and develops rashes, it may be a response to something the mother has intake.
6. Sensitive Skin
The skin of babies is always sensitive.
But among them, there are some babies who have more sensitive skin conditions like atopic dermatitis or eczema, and are more likely to develop diaper rash fast than any other condition.
7. Use of Antibiotics
The best part of antibiotics is that they kill bacteria.
But the problem that occurs is, they kill both the good and bad bacteria in the body and misbalances the natural function of the body.
When antibiotics are taken by the child, the bacteria responsible for the control of yeast growth may get depleted which may result in diaper rash.
Mothers of breast fed babies taking antibiotics can increase the risk of bacterial diaper rash.
Even babies medicated with antibiotics which in some cases leads to diarrhea too risks the chance of diaper rash.
Best Treatment For Diaper Rash
The most safest and practical way to treat diaper rash is to use a baby diaper rash cream.
You should buy and use only the best baby diaper rash treatment creams like SebaMed baby rash cream or Himalaya diaper rash cream.
They are from the most reputed diaper rash creams which suits all skin types. They are soothing and extremely effective.
They have shown great results for babies of all skin types.
Also there are home remedies which are discussed in the article that need to be implemented.
The role of the diaper cream is to keep the baby’s skin clean and dry as much as possible.
As diaper rashes require several days to improve, and rashes come back repeatedly and increase, it is always better to contact the doctor.
And on the prescription of the pediatrician or dermatologist, the diaper rash treatment that can be done is the usage of mild hydrocortisone cream or antifungal cream.
Some topical or oral antibiotics can also be used as a diaper rash remedy if prescribed.
Though, it is better to avoid antibiotics because it may have some severe side effects.
We would recommend you follow a clean hygiene at home itself once you see diaper rash on your baby.
The following are several home remedies that you have to follow in order to keep your baby comfortable until the diaper rash goes away.
Home Remedies For Diaper Rash In Babies
There are some diaper rash remedies that can be done at home. These may be pointed out as follows:
- Keep the diaper area dry and clean by checking and changing diapers frequently.
- Use baby creams as the diaper area is dry and clean. Petroleum jelly works very well in this case. Don’t scrub the ointment, just run it gently. Later to remove this, cotton balls can be used.
- To heal the diaper rash, increase the airflow in the diaper area by not tightening the diaper too much. Even the baby may be kept without a diaper to increase the exposure of the air.
- Diapers of larger size than the usual must be used until the rash goes so that air passage can take place.
- Zinc oxide may be used as an important diaper rash remedy.
- Baby body lotions can be used. But ointments are a better option as they are less irritating.
- Avoid items containing baking soda, boric acid, camphor, phenol, benzocaine, diphenhydramine, or salicylates.
- Daily bathing is a must for the baby during the time the rash persists. Use mild hot water, disinfectant, and fragrance-free soaps.
- Breast milk as an ointment can be used as a diaper rash remedy. It has been tested safe and effective.
- Aloe Vera and Calendula can be used for the diaper rash treatment.
Precautions To Be Taken:
The precautions that can be taken to prevent diaper rash are:
- Change the Baby’s Diaper Often: Changing the peed or pooped diaper with dry one plays an important role in preventing diaper rash. Replacing the diaper is the best way to avoid wet diapers because from this wet diapers irritation occurs that leads to rashes.
- Clean The Skin Gently: While changing diapers cleaning is a necessary thing to do. Use wipes which are fragrances free. Use soaps or gentle cleansers.
- Loosen Up: A little space should be kept while the diaper is at work. This helps in the passage of air.
- Avoid Fragrance: It is better to avoid perfumed soaps and scented baby wipes because fragrant wipes or soaps may cause irritation. Avoid alcohol products as much as possible.
- Coat The Skin: This is a very useful and important technique. Before making the baby wear the diaper, coat a layer of petroleum jelly or Zinc oxide like a paste, so that urine or stool in the diaper can be prevented from coming in direct contact with the skin.
- Change Diaper Brands: Though the changing of diaper brands raises acquaintance problems, if the diaper rash persists, it is better than the brand should be changed. This experimentation with diaper brands sometimes results well and cures the problem of diaper rash.
- Choose Highly Absorbent Diapers: It should be kept in mind that diapers with high absorbent power are good for babies. The better the absorption, the best remains the skin. Though there is no proper evidence as to which diaper is highly absorbent, still through the changing of diapers it can be understood.
- Use Talcum Powder Or Baby Powder: Talcum powder can be used to keep the diaper area dry. While replacing diapers, the powder can be used so that the area remains clean and dry.
- Pat Wipe the diaper area and do not scrub.
- Avoid using fabric softener.
- Allot a Diaper-Free Time for the baby which is very useful.
- Dress up Babies in Less Fancy, tight, and breathable fabrics to prevent providing a warm and moist environment in which bacteria breeds.