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Diaper Rash Treatment for Babies: A Complete Guide

Diaper Rash Treatment for Babies A Complete Guide

It’s normal for babies to experience diaper rash. But that certainly doesn’t mean we should just ignore it until it goes away!

The best way to treat and prevent that is to keep your baby’s skin clean and dry. However, there are also other ways of treating and preventing diaper rash from reoccurring.

In today’s article, I’ll discuss:

  • Extra measures to cure and prevent diaper rash
  • Different types of diaper rash
  • Causes of diaper rash 

By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to keep your baby comfortable and itch-free in their diaper!

What Is a Diaper Rash and How Does It Look Like? 

What Is a Diaper Rash and How Does It Look Like

A diaper rash is a very common skin infection for babies — and it appears as red patches of inflamed skin. 

Other diaper rash symptoms include:

  • Red pimples on the skin near or in the diaper area
  • Peeling skin
  • Flaking skin
  • Scaly skin

Diaper rashes frequently involve sensitive skin and infrequently changed diapers. Anyone who often uses a diaper can get the infection, but babies are typically the ones who are affected.

Most diaper rashes are caused by friction when wet diapers rub sensitive baby skin. It can also be caused by contact diaper dermatitis, which is triggered by prolonged contact with urine and feces. 

This can make babies fussy, cranky, and restless. That’s especially the case during diaper changes or when their skin comes into contact with urine or stool. 

How to Cure Diaper Rash

How to Cure Diaper Rash

Getting rid of diaper rash can be easier than you think. Try out the following ideas:

1. Keep the Skin Clean and Dry 

To keep the baby’s diaper area clean and dry, use a soft cloth or gentle wipes to clean the diaper area thoroughly. 

Pat it dry to remove any moisture, and give your baby some diaper-free time to let their skin breathe. 

Avoid using alcohol-based wipes or soaps, and don’t rub the skin too hard. The best wipes for diaper rash are those specifically formulated for sensitive skin. 

This helps keep their skin clean and dry because they are milder and less likely to cause irritation.

2. Change Diapers Frequently

Keep an eye on your baby’s bottom and promptly change diapers when wet or soiled. 

Urine and feces can irritate the baby’s delicate skin, leading to diaper rash and discomfort. 

So, don’t let them sit in a wet or dirty diaper for too long. 

This is also a good way to familiarize babies with basic personal hygiene.

3. Try on a Different Diaper

Sometimes, the best cure for a diaper rash is finding the perfect fit. This could be looking for the right diaper size, brand, or type.

A different brand or type (say, a cloth diaper) may give better absorption or breathability. Or, a smaller or bigger size may provide a better fit. 

You can find a diaper that provides optimal comfort and protection for your baby by trying different options.

Diapers aren’t a one-size-fits-all — so what might work for your nephew might not work for your own baby.

4. Use a Diaper Rash Cream

A diaper rash cream forms a protective barrier on the skin to soothe irritation and aid in healing. 

Look for a cream containing zinc oxide or petrolatum, known for its skin-protective and healing properties. 

You should apply them as often as necessary — most importantly at bedtime or when exposure to wet diapers may be prolonged.

5. Consult Your Pediatrician

You can try natural home remedies for treating diaper rash since it can come and go quite easily.

However, if nothing seems to be working or the condition is getting worse, it’s best to have your babies checked.

More urgency should be prioritized when babies have other symptoms — such as a fever, lack of appetite, or a stiff neck.

How to Prevent Diaper Rash

How to Prevent Diaper Rash

Prevention is better than cure, so it’s also an excellent idea to know how to reduce your baby’s risk of getting diaper rashes.

1. Keep the Diaper Area Clean and Dry

Keeping the diaper area clean and dry is not only helpful for treating diaper rash but also a key preventive measure

Maintaining proper hygiene practices can prevent the development of diaper rash. This includes regular diaper changes and gentle cleaning with mild wipes.

Also, ensure the skin is thoroughly dried before putting on a fresh diaper to minimize moisture-related irritation. 

2. Avoid Tight-Fitting Diapers

Just like we wouldn’t want to squeeze into uncomfortable clothes, our babies deserve the same consideration. 

We must prioritize our baby’s comfort by choosing diapers that fit just right.

Tight-fitting diapers can create friction, restrict airflow, increase moisture, and potential irritation.

Diapers with a snug but comfortable fit allows for better air circulation and reduces the risk of chafing. 

4. Change Diapers Frequently

Promptly change wet or soiled diapers to minimize prolonged exposure to moisture and irritants. This reduces the risk of diaper rash. 

Frequent diaper changes ensure that our babies stay dry and comfortable.

6. Use a Mild Soap for Bathing

Choosing a mild soap for bathing is also essential in preventing diaper rash. 

We want to treat a baby’s delicate skin with the utmost care. After all, we would pamper ourselves with gentle skincare products. 

Use a mild, fragrance-free soap designed for babies. This helps preserve their skin’s natural moisture balance without causing unnecessary irritation. 

This helps protect and nourish their sensitive skin.

7. Give Your Baby Diaper-Free Time

Give your baby some diaper-free time. This gives their delicate skin a chance to breathe and reduces the moisture buildup contributing to diaper rash. 

Just make sure to spend this diaper-free time at home so you’re ready for unexpected mess. Also have a soft, washable surface available. 

What Are the Different Types of Diaper Rashes

What Are the Different Types of Diaper Rashes

We can tell if your infant has rashes if their skin is red, raw, cracked, or bleeding. However, diaper rashes can appear differently, depending on its type.

1. Yeast Diaper Rash

Yeast diaper rash is caused by the overgrowth of yeast (typically Candida) in a diaper’s moist and warm environment. 

It appears as bright red patches with defined edges and may be accompanied by small red bumps or pimples. 

This type of rash can be stubborn and persistent. However, using antifungal creams and keeping the diaper area clean and dry can be effective solutions.

2. Irritant Contact Dermatitis 

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the skin encounters irritants — like urine, feces, or harsh chemicals in certain wipes or detergents. 

It manifests as red, inflamed patches on your baby’s bottom. This may cause discomfort and itchiness.

One effective remedy is to give your baby’s bottom a soothing bath using warm water and mild, fragrance-free soap. 

Then, gently pat the area with a soft towel to dry.

3. Eczema

Eczema, known as atopic dermatitis, also appears as dry, itchy, and red patches on the skin. 

Various factors can trigger it, including irritants, allergens, or genetics. It can be especially challenging to manage when it affects the diaper area. 

Keep the skin well-moisturized by applying a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer multiple times daily. 

This helps to lock in hydration and prevent dryness and itching. 

You should also dress your baby in soft, breathable fabrics and avoid tight-fitting clothing that can further irritate the skin.

4. Bacterial Infection

This is also called impetigo. It’s caused by harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus or Streptococcus.

This is characterized by redness, swelling, and sometimes pus-filled bumps or blisters on the baby’s skin. 

Gently clean the diaper area with warm water and mild soap to remove bacteria or irritants. 

You may apply over-the-counter (OTC) Lotrimin cream or some ointment that doctors prescribe if the home remedy doesn’t work. 

5. Psoriatic Diaper Rash

Although rare, psoriatic diaper rash can be challenging to manage. 

Psoriatic diaper rash is specific in babies or young children with psoriasis. This is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches. 

You can try home remedies in managing it. Avoiding potential triggers, such as certain foods or skin irritants, can also help manage flare-ups on babies’ skin.

6. Intertrigo

Intertrigo occurs when there’s skin-on-skin friction and moisture in the diaper area. This creates the perfect breeding ground for irritation and inflammation. 

Other diaper rashes primarily affect the buttocks or genital area. However, intertrigo occurs in the folds of the skin where moisture, heat, and friction are more likely to occur. These parts include the groin, thighs, or armpits. 

Intertrigo is often caused by the combination of moisture and friction. That’s because it leads to skin irritation, inflammation, and infection.

What Causes Diaper Rashes

What Causes Diaper Rashes

For the best treatment and preventative methods to work, it is essential to comprehend what causes these diaper rashes in the first place. 

Below are some common factors that trigger diaper rash:

1. Dirty Diapers

When a dirty diaper is unchanged for too long, the urine and feces can create a moist and warm environment. This causes skin irritation

Substances like ammonia in urine and feces may contribute to skin inflammation and irritation. 

The material that prevents diaper leaks can also stop airflow. That can trigger bacteria and fungi growth and lead to a rash. 

Plus, urine impacts the skin’s pH levels, making it easier for bacteria and fungi to grow. 

2. Diaper Friction

When diapers rub against the skin during movement or due to improper fit, it can create friction and abrasion. 

This can harm the skin’s outer layer. Once the skin’s protective barrier is broken, there’s a higher chance of developing rashes.

Friction combined with moisture creates the perfect storm for diaper rashes to appear.

3. Yeast

Yeast, particularly Candida, is a common fungus that can overgrow in warm and moist environments —  such as the diaper area. 

When the balance of the skin’s natural flora is disrupted, yeast can thrive and cause an infection known as yeast diaper rash.

Frequent antibiotic use can upset the body’s normal bacterial balance. That and a baby’s compromised immune system are all risk factors for yeast infections.

These rashes can be stubborn and may not respond to regular diaper rash treatments like an OTC hydrocortisone cream alone.

4. Irritants

These irritants include urine, feces, soaps, detergents, fragrances, or certain diaper materials. 

These irritants can strip the skin’s natural oils and damage the skin’s barrier when they’re in contact with it for a prolonged time.

This can lead to redness, inflammation, discomfort, and allergies in our babies. 

5. Diet Changes

Certain foods, especially when given to infants, could affect bowel habits and the composition of urine. This can raise the risk of diaper rashes. 

For instance, sweet, acidic foods, and spicy foods can irritate the digestive system and lead to more acidicurine and stool.

In some cases, babies may have specific food sensitivities or allergies that can manifest as diaper rashes.

To prevent diet-related diaper rashes, introduce new foods gradually, observe any changes in your baby’s stool or urine, and take note of any patterns or reactions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before I wrap up this article, let me address some questions related to diaper rash treatment soon-to-be parents have also asked:

How Long Do Diaper Rashes Last? 

Diaper rashes can start to heal within 2 to 3 days, and they tend to improve within a few days to a week with proper care and treatment. 

Diaper rashes can clear up quickly if you take quick action and follow the proper treatment methods. 

However, some rashes may persist longer, especially if a fungal or bacterial infection causes them.

When Should You Consult the Doctor Regarding Baby Diaper Rash? 

If, despite your best efforts, your child’s rash doesn’t appear to improve, call the doctor immediately.

You should especially consult your doctor if there are other unsettling signs like fever, pus-filled blisters, or persistent weeping. 

Conclusion 

With patience, dedication, and the right knowledge, you can keep your baby’s skin healthy and itch-free.

I hope this guide has given you the knowledge and confidence to combat diaper rashes and keep your babies comfortable and itch-free. 

Remember to also reach out to other parents, healthcare professionals, and support networks for extra advice.

Josie Mariano
Josie Mariano

Hello, my name is Josie Mariano, and I’m proud to say I’m a soon-to-be mom.
Although my partner and I are still waiting for our firstborn to arrive, we’re already doing whatever it takes to prepare for our baby’s needs.
I’ve been joining a lot of parenting forums and asking my doctors for advice on how to prepare for my baby. They’ve all been very informative and I was able to spot the areas I still need to work on.
At the same time, I also rely on my mom for tips on what to do during my pregnancy journey.
With everything that I’ve learned so far, I’d like to share these experiences to fellow parents and soon-to-be parents!