Diaper Rash is a very common skin problem found in babies. It is a kind of skin irritation that occurs in areas that are covered by the diaper. It appears in the form of red colored rashes that can sometimes be painful for the baby. The rash occurs mainly in warm and moist areas. Thus, taking proper care of diaper rash is very important.
Diaper rash occurs in all babies irrespective of their gender, skin color, and ethnic group. It can be found in babies as young as one week, though it is more common in 9-12-month old babies.
Moreover, the severity of diaper rash varies depending on the baby. For some, it can be mild without any discomfort, whereas for others, it can cause a lot of pain.
What Are the Causes of Diaper Rash?
There are various causes for baby diaper rash
- Contact: When the sensitive skin of the baby rubs against wet diaper rashes appear. This results in redness or erosion of the top layer of the skin. This type of rash does not affect areas that do not come in direct contact with urine and stool like the skin folds.
- Allergy: If the baby has an allergy to any cleaning product used or the fragrance or components of the diaper, then it can cause rashes. In case of allergy, the rash appears in a specific area of the skin with the top layer of the skin peeling off.
- Skin infection: Bacteria or yeast infection can also cause diaper dash. Rashes caused by an infection usually follow a set pattern with bright red zones appearing on the skin. Some type of infection also appears as tiny blisters in the diaper area. A laboratory test can be done to confirm bacterial or yeast infection.
In addition to this, malnutrition and improper hygiene can also result in diaper rash.
How to Identify it?
Diaper rash is very easy to identify. It appears as red rashes in the baby’s diaper area. In some cases, it even appears in the baby’s genital area. If the baby cries continuously after having rashes, then you can infer that the baby is under pain.
When Should You Consult a Doctor?
Under normal situation, diaper rash will go on its own when exposed to air. But if the outbreak does not get better even after 4-7 days or if the rash has spread to other parts of the body, it is best to consult a doctor. Similarly, if the baby develops fever or diarrhea or if a puss-like discharge occurs from the rash or blisters appear in the diaper area, then you should consult a doctor without delay.
Read more about when to see a doctor here.
What Are the Home Remedies for Diaper Rash?
The first home care you can give for diaper rash is air exposure. Leave the baby without any diaper for some time. Exposure to air can soothe the symptoms and reduce the rash. Give a good bath to the baby in warm water for 10-15 minutes. A warm bath with mild soap helps to wash out irritants.
In addition to that, much like in the case of treating baby acne, you can make use of the following home remedies:
- Home-made diaper rash cream: You can make a diaper rash cream with olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and zinc oxide and apply it every time after a diaper change. You can store the cream in the refrigerator and warm it with your hands before applying.
- Breast milk: If you are breastfeeding your baby, then take a few drops of breastmilk in your hand and apply it on the rash. The antibodies in breast milk help fight any irritant found in the rash.
- Use Apple Cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has an anti-yeast property, which helps to fight yeast infection on the skin. Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bucket of water and bathe the baby with it. Alternatively, you can also use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to wash the baby’s diaper area while changing the diaper.
- Use coconut oil: Coconut oil is an effective anti-fungal solution that can clear yeast from the baby’s skin. Apply the oil after every diaper change and leave open for some time. Leaving open helps the skin to absorb the coconut oil and create a protective barrier.
As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure.” You should try your best to prevent an onset of diaper rash rather than having one and treating it.
7 tips to prevent diaper rash:
- Change soiled diapers as fast as possible. Keeping it nice and fresh is the first step to prevent rash.
- Use fresh plain water to clean your baby.
- Avoid baby wipes with strong fragrances and chemicals. Use rather neutral and unscented baby wipes.
- Allow your baby some diaper-free time.
- Bathe your little one with mild soap regularly so that the onset of infection can be reduced.
- Switch your laundry detergent brand.
- Switch your diaper brand.
Another overlooked factor that may help prevent this type of baby skin rash is a well balanced nutrition. Make sure to include some probiotic sources in your baby‘s/toddler’s diet.
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The most important thing is to look for a doctor if the rashes do not get better after a few days and even spread out to other parts of the body. Look for signs of severe irritation, blisters and fever.
It must be said that these types of rashes are not 100% preventable. So most babies and toddlers will experience these rashes at least once in their lives.