Written by Pradeep
Almost every parent has to deal with diaper rashes, especially during the first year of the baby’s life – when parents are also catching up on things and the babies’ skin is so sensitive. Many parents get very upset with diaper rashes and tend to feel that they have been negligent – which is just not the case.
Diaper rashes are more common than you think and come as a part and parcel of childcare. Many reasons can actually result in diaper rashes in the baby. It’s not because you are not taking care of your baby properly – but it can be definitely due to laziness in changing diapers frequently. Simple changes in the diapering routine will actually help prevent diaper rashes most of the time.
In This Article
The most common skin problem in infants is diaper rash. It is a common type of irritated skin (dermatitis) that appears as inflamed patches on your baby’s bump. It is usually caused by moisture in the diaper area, which creates a moist environment that encourages bacterial growth.
Wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin sensitivity, and chafing are all common causes. It usually affects babies, but anyone who wears a diaper on a regular basis can get it. Diaper rash usually goes away with simple home remedies like air drying, more frequent diaper changes, and ointment. However, when it comes to diaper rashes, prevention is the best option.
It is no rocket science as to why diaper rashes appear! A baby’s skin is super sensitive. Soiled diapers that are left on for too long, or friction between the baby’s sensitive skin can cause redness and soreness on the bums. The skin can become tender, and look reddish with painful blotches, and needless to say, this irritation can cause rashes and make your baby uncomfortable.
Some common reasons for diaper rashes are
Even if you change the diapers after only a few hours, the baby’s bums may still show reddening. This could be due to yeast called Candida albicans (a type of fungus) that results in a red, swollen rash with red dots towards the end. This usually happens if the baby or the breastfeeding mother is on antibiotics fighting some other infection. However, these antibiotics can cause the natural bacteria that fight off candida Albicans to grow weak. Additionally, diarrhea only makes the rashes worse.
Diaper rash may be classified into six categories and treatment differs depending on the type of rash. We’ll go over the symptoms and causes of each one.
Irritating contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is irritated by something contacting it. The most frequent kind of diaper rash. Irritating contact dermatitis in the diaper region can be caused by:
Irritant contact dermatitis diaper rash frequently begins as a flat, pink rash in regions where the irritant has come into contact with the skin. Protected areas of skin, such as those tucked deep behind skin folds, frequently remain normal and appear healthy. The longer an irritant is in contact with the skin, the more severe the discomfort and redness become.
A newborn may develop an allergy to a substance that you apply to their skin. This sort of rash might appear immediately after using a new substance, or it can take many weeks. Fragrances, colorings, and other compounds found in baby wipes, creams, ointments, detergents in which the cloth diapers are washed, and chemicals used in the manufacture of disposable diapers can trigger diaper rashes.
Babies with allergic contact dermatitis will develop a red, scaly rash in regions where the allergen comes into contact. The rash can spread to the skin outside of the diaper, including places that did not even come into contact with the allergen. Allergic contact dermatitis might be moderate at first, but it will worsen if the allergen is not removed.
Candida albicans is a yeast (fungus) that resides in the intestine. It’s also found in feces. It causes diaper rash because the warm, humid environment inside a diaper encourages yeast growth.
Furthermore, wet skin, such as that in a baby’s diaper area, is more sensitive to bacterial invasion than dry skin. A painful yeast rash can form when yeast remains for an extended period of time against a baby’s wet, susceptible skin.
A yeast diaper rash appears as hundreds of small circular dots that range in color from pale pink to blazing red.
Bacteria can occasionally aggravate diaper rash. Because germs may enter the skin and produce an infection, this is more likely to occur when the skin is already irritated or injured. Staphylococcus aureus, particularly certain antibiotic-resistant strains (MRSA), is frequently to blame. The bacterial diaper rash looks like a red pimple with a white or yellow core. If it pops, pus can drain.
Another kind of bacterial diaper rash is Streptococcus pyogenes. S. pyogenes causes strep throat and other issues in older children and adults. In newborns, however, strep can produce a severe diaper rash known as “perianal strep.” Perianal strep manifests itself as an angry, bright red area around the anus.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFM) is a contagious viral illness that affects young children. Fortunately, it is seldom serious – but newborns and toddlers who have HFM illness frequently develop rashes on their hands, feet, cheeks, and diaper region. The diaper rash caused by HFM illness appears as dozens of pink or red dots.
The following are symptoms and signs of diaper rash:
Diaper rash is often diagnosed based on the location and appearance of the rash during your child’s physical checkup. Furthermore, your child’s health care practitioner may do a skin scraping to help in the diagnosis.
When it comes to treating diaper rashes in babies, always remember that less is more. Keeping the baby’s diaper area clean and dry is the most effective treatment for diaper rashes – and giving the baby some diaper-free time 2-3 times every day.
Some other things that may work are:
It may not be possible never to see your baby with a diaper rash, but a bit of attention and some precautions can help prevent diaper rashes largely.
Below are tips that would be helpful:
Also, try putting in the diaper slightly loosely so that the skin does not get brushed up and hence prevent chafing. Ideally, diapers should be changed every two to four hours, but if the baby has pooped, the diaper should be changed immediately.
A diaper is a diaper after all. Though cloth diapers are better in terms of breathability, they also need to be changed frequently to prevent diaper rashes. You will need to be careful when washing the cloth diapers – use mild detergents and always run an extra rinsing cycle.
Avoid using other chemicals like cloth conditioner or fabric softeners – a baby’s skin is too sensitive and can be easily irritated by any foreign particles. Dry the cloth diapers in the sun to kill any remaining bacteria. More on washing cloth diapers here.
Some home remedies that can help cure diaper rashes are:
The healing properties of baking soda can help treat a diaper rash as well. Create a mixture with 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Every time you change your baby’s diaper, wash the area with this mixture.
Lightly pat the skin dry with a dry washcloth. You can also mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda in your baby’s bathtub and fill it with warm water. Bathe your baby in this water 3 times a day, for about 10 minutes each time. Pat your baby dry and dress her up
A lot of doctors advise coating the baby’s bottom with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. It will keep the harmful bacteria from pee and poop from coming in contact with the baby’s tender skin.
Coconut oil not only has a soothing effect on any kind of rash, but its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties also make it a great moisturizer and an antiseptic. A tub of warm water can have some coconut oil mixed to give relief to your baby from diaper rashes.
The chemical compound saponin and the high protein content of oatmeal help preserve the skin’s natural barrier that does not let unwanted particles get inside the skin pores. Soak your baby for about 10 minutes in a mixture of a tablespoon of dried oatmeal and with the baby’s bathing water twice a day to heal and prevent diaper rashes.
Vinegar is one of the best ingredients that can balance the skin’s pH levels. If you are using disposable diapers, administer a teaspoon to a cup of water, making a weak solution, and wipe your baby’s bottom with this when changing the diapers. Cloth diapers can be rinsed in a vinegar solution for maximum benefits.
If you are changing diapers on time, yet there are rashes or signs of irritation on the baby’s skin, you could see a doctor. When the rashes are severe, a good doctor will recommend products like anti-fungal zinc oxide-based ointments, etc. Use these creams only in the minimum amount as, after all, they are chemicals! If your baby is running a fever along with rashes or develops pus, reach out to your pediatrician for treatment.
Diaper rashes may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but they are unlikely to harm your baby as much as you believe. The sole exception is when the rash develops into an infection, which can be excruciating at times.
Most diaper rashes clear up in three days with proper treatment.
If your child has a milk allergy or is lactose intolerant, they may get a diaper rash. Diaper rash might arise because of changes in your baby’s nutrition. Diaper rash is a common symptom of the transition from breast milk to formula or from formula to solid foods.
Yes, petroleum jelly may be used to both act as a moisture barrier and assist in the treatment of diaper rash.
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