What causes nappy rash?
Nappy rash is usually caused by the skin's continuous contact with a soiled nappy. When a little one has been left in a dirty nappy for too long it can cause severe nappy rash. Even the best brands of absorbent diapers will cause moisture to come in contact with the skin causing it to become irritated if not changed soon enough. At the same time, in some cases, even if you change your baby's diaper often, he or she may still experience diaper rash if they have particularly sensitive skin.
Stomach upsets and bouts of diarrhoea can also make your baby more prone to nappy rash because the nappy is fuller and wetter than usual. Babies can also get nappy rash if they are allergic to certain skin creams, baby washes and wipes, or other skin care products. In this case it would be called allergic dermatitis.
Other causes include:
- Yeast infection
- Bacterial infection
- Rubbing against the diaper itself
- Allergic reaction to diaper
- Cradle cap/seborrheic dermatitis
Babies are more prone to diaper rashes as they get older, usually between the age of 9 and 12 months. You might also notice it more frequently when your little one starts eating solids, after taking antibiotics, or if you are on antibiotics while nursing.
Call your doctor if you start to notice?
- Your baby has a fever or starts to seem sluggish and overly tired
- The nappy rash does not start to clear or respond to treatment in a couple days
- Yellow, fluid-filled bumps and slightly crusty areas on the skin which may be signs of bacterial infection
- Signs of yeast infection like swollen red rash with white scales and lesions, small red pimples outside of the diaper area, redness on the folds of your baby's skin
In such cases your pediatrician may prescribe an antifungal medication to help clear it up.
Tips for treating diaper rash
Nappy rash is a fairly common problem with most babies. While it usually will clear up and go away on it's own, it can be useful to know how to quicken the healing process and limit your little one's discomfort.
- Wash your hands before and after each diaper change. If the bathroom is too far away to leave your little one on the changing pad unattended, keep a bottle of mild sanitiser handy at the changing table so you can use it whenever you need to give your hands a quick wash.
- Check your baby's diaper often and change it as soon as you notice it's wet. If you use baby wipes, use the ones that are mild and free of fragrances or alcohol. A damp washcloth can work just as well.
- If you use baby wipes, use the ones that are mild and free of fragrances or alcohol. A damp washcloth can work just as well.
- Use plain water for general washes and a mild cleanser for bigger messes.
- Gently pat the diaper area dry rather than rubbing.
- Be sure your little one is completely dry before putting on the new diaper.
- Allow your baby to have diaper-free moments to let the skin air out. Airing out the diaper zone can help prevent and heal baby diaper rashes. As a tip, only do this after bowel movement.
- Consider changing the type of diaper you're using for your child. If you find that cloth diapers hold moisture too close the skin and generally cause irritation, try switching to disposables, or change the detergent you're currently using. If you are using disposables already, try changing to another brand.
- Use hypoallergenic detergent for cloth diapers to promote gentler skincare for your baby.