Everything that gives you comfort has its own demerits and one of these is diapers which come with diaper rash. Diaper rash in babies is quite common among infants and toddlers and can cause great discomfort.
Diaper dermatitis is an inflammatory reaction of the skin around the diaper area. It is the most common skin disorder seen in young infants. It results due to a combination of multiple factors such as increased moisture, prolonged contact with urine or feces, and other irritants like detergents. Major signs of diaper rash are as below.
Signs of diaper rash
- Patchwork of bright red skin on your baby’s buttock.
- Peeling and scaly skin.
- Blisters or open sores.
- Pus- filled sores.
- Fussiness and uncomfortable.
Causes of diaper rash in babies
Dirty diaper: Dirty diaper is the main culprit of diaper rash in babies. The enzymes in poop can cause irritation in our baby’s sensitive skin and urine releases ammonia which makes these enzymes more active and causes skin damage. There are many nights when parents don’t realize that the baby is in need of diaper change and that prolonged exposure of urine and stool causes diaper rash in kids.
Irritation and friction: Sometimes tight fitting of diapers causes irritation and constant rubbing results in rashes. Friction between the diaper and skin breaks the protective barrier of the skin, even worse when the skin being wet under the diaper.
Yeast infection: Warm and moist area is the perfect surrounding for bacteria and yeast to grow. A group of fungi called candida normally lives in the skin and can make the normal diaper rash even worse.
Irritants: Baby’s skin is super sensitive and isn’t used to scents, soaps and other products. Diapers and wipes you are using can be the reason for diaper rash in babies. Also the harsh detergent used to wash cloth diapers may cause rashes.
In case of any specific skin condition: Some infants are particularly prone to diaper rash and may get it very frequently, especially if they have an underlying skin condition, such as eczema. ( How to treat eczema?)
Introduction of new foods: Babies take time to adjust with any new food. When the baby starts eating solid foods the content of their stool changes. The frequency of the blow movement may increase, which can lead to diaper rash. Frequent cleaning of the baby’s bottom with water or wipes make it dry out and skin loses its natural moisture which results in diaper rash. (How to introduce solids?)
How to prevent diaper rash
Babies have very delicate skin and even after parent’s best efforts, diaper rash occurs. These basic tips can help hold off diaper rash.
Change the dirty diapers as soon as possible:
The first and the most important step to prevent diaper rash in babies is to change their dirty diapers. Keep checking the diaper often and if required change it immediately. This may reduce the chances of rash to a great extent.
Properly cleaning the diaper area using warm water or baby wipes that are alcohol and fragrance free, is the second step to avoid diaper rash. Don’t rub the area as scrubbing or rubbing can further irritate the skin by damaging it. After cleaning, pet the area dry and be sure that the diaper area is completely dry before putting on a fresh diaper.
Give your baby diaper free time:
between every diaper change give your baby some diaper free time. Exposing skin to air is the best natural way to let it heal.
Change the diaper brand or detergent:
If your baby develops a diaper rash frequently, it can be because of the diaper you are using, in that case change your diaper brand immediately. In the case of cloth diapers, harsh detergents used to clean the diapers could also result in diaper rash. Choose the diaper brand and the detergent to wash baby’s clothes carefully.
Take care of the size:
Always make sure that the diaper is not too tight, as it can irritate the sensitive skin of your baby. Tight diapers can also cause chafing at the waist or thighs. Opt a larger size of diaper with the baby’s growing age.
Applying ointment during every diaper change prevents your baby from irritation. There are many barrier creams and skin soothing ointments containing zinc oxide and petroleum jelly available in the market, which may help in preventing and healing diaper rash in babies.
When to see a doctor:
Although diaper rash is painful and irritates your baby, it usually clears up with simple prevention tips discussed above at home. However if your baby’s rashes don’t improve after a few days of home treatment you must consult your doctor. These are the cases when you should seek medical help.
- Rash doesn’t get better even after 5 to 7 days of home treatment.
- Causes burning sensation or pain with urination and bowel movement.
- Swelling in the diaper area.
- If rashes spread beyond the diaper area.
- Skin around rash bleeds, itches or oozes
- When you are not sure what is causing rashes
- Pus or discharge from the rash
- If your baby develops a fever
- Rash is accompanied by a bacterial infection.
Home remedies for diaper rash in babies
Diaper rash is annoying and very painful for babies , so it is very important to take some immediate action at home to give them some relief. Here are some home remedies for diaper rash in babies, let’s know why it works and how you are going to apply.
Coconut oil helps in protecting and retaining skin hydration with the help of fatty acids present in them. Baby’s skin is quite sensitive. Rashes caused by diapers can be treated with the help of coconut oil. Since coconut oil has soothing and hydrating properties, it reduces the inflammation thus giving relief from itching and irritation. (Home remedies to treat heat rash). Coconut oil also contains lauric acid and other essential fatty acids, it possesses antimicrobial, anti fungal and antiviral properties and thus helps in prevention of further infection. (what are some other benefits of coconut oil?)
We all know the importance of baking soda for baking, but apart from this it works wonders on diaper rash in babies. It has anti-pruritus effects, which will eliminate the itching and restore the pH balance of the skin, which reduces the inflammation caused by the rash. Baking soda is both antibacterial and antifungal, making it a great natural solution for any infection. Add Two tablespoons of baking soda in a warm bath, don’t rub the area, just let the baby soak for about 10 minutes, and wipe with a soft washcloth.
Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar can be used for many health issues as a home remedy. It cleanses the rash and disinfects it. It has anti- inflammatory properties which help in reducing the redness and pain of the rash. You can dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and wash your baby’s bottom with it each time you do a diaper change. ( Other benefits of apple cider vinegar)
Olive oil contains Vitamin E and Vitamin K. It is also loaded with antioxidants which can help to prevent skin inflammation. Olive oil acts as a great moisturizer and also improves skin dryness as it is loaded with healthy fats, oleic acids and squalene, it has a regenerative effect on skin tissues. Olive oil effectively treats diaper rash. Take two tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tbsp. of water, mix well and give a gentle massage to the baby’s bum. ( Best oil for baby massage)
Homemade rash cream:
A wide variety of diaper rash creams are available in the market. But if you are sure not to use them, then you can make one for yourself at home by using simple ingredients.
How to make it: Take 1 cup coconut oil, 1 cup olive oil, 8 drops lavender essential oil, 6 drops lemon essential oil and 4 drops of tea tree essential oil. Mix them all together and store it in your refrigerator. Apply every time you change your baby’s diaper.
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