Diaper Rash – Types, Causes and Treatment

As a new parent, you may be both elated and exhausted at the same time. Caring for a baby requires a lot of work. One of the most common health issues that new parents face is nappy rash, also known as diaper rash. Newborn nappy rash affects between 7% and 35% of all infants.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about baby nappy rash, including causes and nappy rash remedies to try.

What is Nappy Rash?

Nappy rash is a condition that happens when a baby’s sensitive skin becomes irritated, usually by prolonged treatment with urine or feces. When a baby sits in a dirty nappy, which is impossible to avoid at times, the irritation may cause redness and discomfort for your baby.

As we said above, baby nappy rash is common. While most cases of nappy rash are mild and clear up with the application of nappy rash cream, severe nappy rash is sometimes a problem.

What Does Nappy Rash Look Like?

How do you know if your baby has bad nappy rash? Here are some symptoms to look for.

  • The appearance of red patches or blotches on your baby’s bottom or in the nappy area
  • Skin that is hot to the touch
  • Pimples, blisters, or spots in the nappy area
  • Fussing and irritability

If you see any of these symptoms, then it’s possible your baby has nappy rash.

What Causes Nappy Rash?

While the most common cause of nappy rash is sitting in a dirty diaper for a little too long, there are other potential causes.

  • A diaper that is too tight may irritate the skin
  • Detergents and other cleaning products can cause irritation
  • Fungal or bacterial infections can cause nappy rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Antibiotics

In some cases, it may be obvious what has caused your baby to have a bad nappy rash. In others, you may need to use trial and error to figure out the cause of the problem.

Nappy Rash Treatments to Try

It is rare for a case of nappy rash to be so severe that it requires medical intervention. In most cases, the use of a nappy rash ointment can clear it up.

The first nappy rash treatment to try is to clean your baby’s bottom every time gently and thoroughly whenever you change a nappy. For the best results, use a non-alcoholic wipe or warm water. Avoid using any scented items, as babies are sometimes sensitive to fragrances.

You may want to leave your baby’s bottom bare for a while, allowing it to air dry before you put on a fresh nappy. Once the skin is dry, you can apply a thin layer of nappy cream to the nappy area before putting on a fresh nappy.

You should bathe your baby daily as you wait for the nappy rash treatment to work. If you aren’t sure which nappy creams are best, you can ask your local pharmacist for a recommendation. You may also find it helpful to talk to other parents about the products they use.

When Should You See a Doctor for Nappy Rash?

While most cases of nappy rash will clear up on their own with the use of a nappy cream, that may not always be the case. When nappy rash is caused by a fungal infection on the skin, for example, your baby will likely need an antifungal treatment to clear up the rash.

If your baby has a nappy rash that persists for several days and doesn’t clear up with careful bathing and application of nappy ointment, you should schedule an appointment with your pediatrician. You should also schedule an appointment if your baby has the following symptoms:

  • Red, pus-filled blisters in skin folds or other areas
  • Bright red, moist patches on the skin
  • Ongoing distress that can’t be resolved

If the nappy rash is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, your doctor will prescribe topical medication to treat the infection.

You should be aware that not every rash is nappy rash. If your baby has a rash that doesn’t disappear when you press a glass against it, it may be a sign of meningitis and you should seek emergency treatment immediately. Other skin conditions that can cause rashes include eczema, cradle cap, and thrush.