Nappy Rash

Nappy Rash

Nappy rash describes any irritation in the nappy area that causes the skin to become red and sore. Nappy rash affects most babies at some time in their first year, particularly when changing over to solid foods or when introducing new foods into their diet. Breast fed babies are less likely to develop nappy rash than bottle fed ones.


  • Red patches on the baby’s bottom
  • Whole area can look red
  • Skin looks sore & hot to touch
  • Spots, pimples or blisters

What causes Nappy Rash?

Nappy rash usually results from prolonged contact with urine and faeces (poo), although sometimes it can occur if the skin is sensitive to soaps, detergents, bubble bath or baby wipes. Illness or diarrhoea can also lead to nappy rash, as can rubbing or chafing.

How to treat Nappy Rash

The longer a nappy is left on a baby before changing, the more time that the skin has to become soft and open to attack by enzymes. The key to preventing nappy rash is to ensure the baby does not sit around for any length of time wearing a soiled nappy. When changing the baby’s nappy - always clean the area first (with warm water and a small amount of baby soap rather than wipes) and pat dry with a soft towel (rather than rubbing dry) before putting on a new nappy.

If the baby already has a rash, apply nappy rash creams such as zinc and castor oil cream, purchasable from the pharmacist. Drapolene, Metanium and Sudocrem can be applied to act as a barrier to urine and faeces and to soothe the irritation.

If the condition worsens and the baby develops a bright red rash with white or red pimples which spread into the folds of the skin you will need to use an anti-fungal cream available from the pharmacist or on prescription from a doctor. If the area is particularly inflamed a weak hydrocortisone cream (steroid) may get prescribed or antibiotics if there appears to be an infection.

If a nappy rash occurs frequently despite good hygiene, you may want to change your brand of nappies or switch from towel to disposable nappies. If using towel nappies, avoid washing them in biological washing powder which may cause skin irritation.

Alternative Remedies & Self-help

Let your baby be nappy-free for short periods to allow air to circulate freely