Diaper rash is a common problem that affects the babies who wear diapers. It is a form of inflammation of the skin that appears as a rash.
Signs and symptoms of diaper rash
The skin affected by diaper rash is usually bright red, and the redness may be forming patches. In most cases it affects the belly, the genitals, bottom and thighs, as well as folds of the skin. The skin affected by the rash is usually warmer than other parts of the skin. Baby who has diaper rash is likely to be irritable and seem uncomfortable, especially during diaper changing and washing of the area.
In more severe cases, diaper rash may evolve into open sores which are very painful and prone to infection, which is why in those cases consulting a doctor is highly recommended.
Causes of diaper rash
Diaper rash is usually caused by irritation from stool and urine, too tight or poor fitting diapers, plastic panties worn over diapers, friction and rubbing, but also by introduction of new foods, certain foods that a mother who nurses ate, bacterial or yeast infection, use of antibiotics and certain cosmetic products.
How to treat diaper rash
Since diaper rash tends to affect babies who spend more time in wet diapers, it is essential to change them often, and to keep the skin as clean and dry as possible. Wet environment in the diapers is particularly favorable for bacteria and fungus, which may lead to an infection.
Babies who have diaper rash should spend more time without diapers, and wear those that are slightly bigger that their appropriate size, at least until the rash subsides.
There are many products that aim to solve the problem with diaper rash. It is better to use those that are designed especially for babies, because their skin is very sensitive and prone to irritation.
Parents may want to try an antifungal cream or hydrocortisone ointment. Creams and ointments that contain steroids should be used only after consulting a doctor.
Some of the effective over-the-counter ointments and remedies for diaper rash are A+D, Balmex, Desitin and zinc oxide paste. Zinc oxide is the main ingredient of many products designed to relieve diaper rash, it soothes and protects the skin and can even be used on healthy skin to prevent diaper rash.
Certain ointments, even though they soothe the skin and relieve irritation, form a barrier on the skin which does not allow any air in, and skin needs air in order to heal. Fortunately, there are creams that dry on the skin when applied and let the air in, this promoting faster healing.
Strongly fragranced cosmetic products like lotions, soaps and wet wipes are not recommended for babies with diaper rash. All products should be as natural and neutral as possible.