What is Diaper Rash ?

Diaper rash is a generic term applied to skin rashes in the diaper area that are caused by various skin disorders and/or irritants. Also known as "Diaper dermatitis" and "Napkin dermatitis" (dermatitis = inflammation of the skin).

What are the Causes of Diaper Rash?

The main reason for it is the prolonged exposure to moisture against the skin, caused by the baby's feces and urine. In addition, your baby's urine releases ammonia that together with the feces which contains enzymes, creates a chemical reaction that can cause further irritation.
A lack of air circulation is another cause, as the warm area is an ideal ground for germs and bacteria to grow.
It can also develop while the baby or the breastfeeding mother are on antibiotics. While antibiotics destroy the harmful bacteria, they also destroy good bacteria. When the right balance of good bacteria is disturbed, a yeast infection can appear.
Antibiotics may bring about diarrhea that might also cause a diaper dermatitis.
Chemical sensitivity - some chemicals which can be found in fabric softeners, detergents, baby lotions, fragrances, soaps, and baby wipes can be very irritating to your baby's skin and should be avoided.

10 Preventive Steps

It is essential to keep your baby's bottom dry, so change diapers frequently.
Clean your baby's diaper area at each diaper change, then pat dry the skin. Do not rub it.
If your baby has sensitive skin and seems prone to diaper rash, use a protective ointment at each change.
Loose diaper will help your baby's bottom stay dry as it allows an air circulation.
Avoid using plastic pants.
It is common for babies to get it when they start eating solid food, so waiting a few days between each introduction of new food will help you determine whether your baby is sensitive to that food.
Wash cloth diapers with a mild, hypoallergenic detergent.
Tip: a half-cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle will help remove alkaline irritants.
Unscented wipes are more suitable for babies because they are less irritating.
Tip:It is recommended to rinse out scented as well as unscented wipes with water before use.
Make sure that your baby's caregivers understand the importance of these preventive steps.
Breastfeeding your baby makes him/her less likely to need antibiotics, that can contribute to diaper rash thus breastfeed as long as you can.

What is the Best Way to Heal a Diaper Rash?

Changing diapers frequently, especially after bowel movements will keep your baby clean and dry.
Wash your baby's diaper area with water at each diaper change and pat dry. Do not rub as this will irritate the skin.
Some babies have more sensitive skin than others, so the use of generous amounts of barrier diaper ointment after every diaper change will help protect their skin from stool and urine.

There are two basic barrier ointments on the market:

White zinc oxide is a thick ointment that acts as a barrier against moisture. This ointment is recommended for babies who tend to get diaper rash.
A&D ointment - Petroleum ointment is less sticky and can be used as an every-day preventative ointment.
When the weather is warm, you can lay your baby undiapered on a few cloth diapers for part of the day. At night, place a plastic sheet under the cloth sheet to protect the mattress.
For a better air circulation, put your baby's diaper on loosely or you may even use a larger size diaper.
When using cloth diapers avoid the use of plastic pants.
If you prefer disposable diapers, try different brands.

When to Call Baby's Pediatrician for Diaper Rash?

It's probably not necessary but do call your baby's pedriations if:
The rash gets worse or does not go away in 2-3 days after home treatment.
You notice pimples, blisters, ulcers, large bumps, or pus-filled sores.
The rash spreads to the abdomen, back, arms, or face.
Your baby develops a fever.

Return from Diaper Rash to Diapering your Baby Step by Step

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