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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Kid's Health Kids Health Arrow to Diaper Rashes Rashes Arrow to Diaper Rashes Diaper Rash

diaper rash
As babies start to eat solid foods,
the content of their stool changes,
increasing instances of diaper rash.


Poor baby, a rashy bottom is so uncomfortable.

What can parents do to help their little ones avoid diaper rash?

It depends on how sensitive your baby's skin is and how acidic the diaper's contents are, but rashes in your baby's diaper area are pretty common even for babies with the most excellent parents.


Diaper rash and food allergies

Babies who are fed only breast milk tend to have a lower incidence of diaper rash, but even in these babies rashes do occur.

Diaper rash is most common in infants 8–12 months old — which also tends to be the time that more solid foods are introduced to baby's diet. If you notice that eating any specific food increases the redness in your baby's diaper area, try eliminating it and see if the rash improves.


The most common cause of diaper rash

Little ones who wear diapers and training pants can, and commonly do, develop all sorts of rashes. Having a wet diaper or underwear in contact with baby's skin is the most common cause of rashes in the diaper area. Wetness from contact with urine is a powerful promoter of rashes. When you add in the effects of bacteria, other microorganisms and enzymes that are found in healthy babies' stool you have the perfect environment for developing a diaper rash.

Contact with the diaper's contents raises the pH of baby's skin and increases friction against baby's tender bottom. Combine those conditions with the damp, warm area and you can understand why damage to the skin is almost unavoidable.

Once the protective barrier of the skin is damaged, the microorganisms sitting in the diaper's contents and on the baby's skin begin to grow which leads to the painful, red bottoms parents dread.

Thankfully, a majority of diaper rashes are not serious and usually go away by themselves or with the aid of over-the-counter creams or medications. Vaseline, creams and lotions may also be advised to add an additional layer of protection to the skin to avoid getting rashes and help soothe any accompanying painful burn or itch.


baby with diaper rash

Diaper rash is just no fun!


The American Academy of Family Physicians offers advice to parents worried about diaper rash...

  • Check your baby's diaper often and change it as soon as possible after it is soiled. This reduces the amount of time baby's skin is in contact with the contents and reduced the damage to the skin.

  • Whenever you change your baby's diaper, use warm water and a mild soap to make sure all of the enzymes, microorganisms and acidic residue is removed.

  • Pat your baby's skin dry after a bath or diaper change. Never scrub baby's sensitive skin. Remember that friction contributes to the skin damage that causes diaper rash.

  • Make sure your baby is completely dry before you put on a clean diaper and use a zinc oxide ointment or petroleum jelly to protect baby's skin from wetness. The more you control the wetness, the less chance that moisture loving microorganisms will decide to invade.

  • Don't use scented baby wipes or wipes containing alcohol. Many babies have skin sensitivities to the ingredients used to scent the wipes. Alcohol tends to dry out baby's tender skin too much and kills some protective skin bacteria that help fight rashes.

  • Although diapers with plastic edges, or plastic pants may keep the area around your baby dryer, plastic does not breathe and keeps more moisture in contact with sensitive baby bottoms. Avoid using plastic or rubber pants or diapers with moisture trapping edges.


Other causes of diaper rash

Check to make sure that your baby is not sensitive to lanolin. It's an ingredient in many skin products and baby ointments. If your baby is allergic to lanolin, using these soothing products will make the skin condition worse. If you are using a disposable diaper or pull-ups, try changing brands if a diaper rash refuses to disappear. If you are using cloth diapers or 'big kid' undies, changing your laundry detergents or softeners may ease the irritation. Contact dermatitis, a rash caused by skin irritation from contact with any offending substance, can easily be confused with diaper rash.

If your baby develops a diaper rash during or after taking antibiotics, check with your doctor. Yeast and fungal infections are common following these treatments and require special medicines to make the rash go away.

If your baby develops a rash that doesn't go away after a couple of days or a rash that seems redder or nastier than normal diaper rashes, go see your doctor. It may seem silly to make an appointment to talk about diaper rash, but what looks like a simple diaper rash may be a yeast or fungus infection that has to be treated with specific medications.

Find out more about diaper or nappy rashes in our Web guide to the topic offering identifying pictures, typical symptoms, and expert advice on preventing and treating those uncomfortable bumps, spots and blotches ...


More about diaper rash around the Web:



Diaper Rash - What Causes Diaper Rash and What Can You Do? - Here's a good article with plenty of information on common diaper rash as well as some less common causes with links to related information.

Treating Diaper Rash - An extensive guide to the most common causes of diaper rash with good suggestion for treatments when rashes refuse to clear up.

The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) - Nappy Rash - Pictures and information on common causes, symptoms and treatments of diaper rash in children.

DermNet NZ- Napkin Dermatitis - Information from the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated on what causes these rashes and how to prevent and treat diaper rash...

 

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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