Virtually all babies will suffer with diaper rash or skin irritation in the diaper area at some point. Diaper rashes typically result from friction from wearing the diaper and infrequent diaper changes, when urine or stool (especially with both together) stays on the baby's skin too long. Other causes include antibiotics, diarrhea, new foods, irritants, allergic reactions to commercial diapers or wipes, or infections on the skin like yeast or bacteria. Your doctor can prescribe the best treatment once the cause of the rash has been determined.
How Do I Know if It's Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is pretty easy to self diagnose. You will notice inflamed, bright red skin on the area typically covered by a diaper. A baby can get diaper rash at any stage and often as early as a few weeks old. However, the most common time is between 9 and 12 months of age. It is very common for babies to get diaper rash, and it isn't at all a sign of parental neglect. If it is an especially bad diaper rash, it can become secondarily infected by yeast or bacteria that are normally on the skin, treatable by topical antiobotic ointment.
How Do I Treat Diaper Rash?
For most diaper rashes, the following will help:
Change the diaper immediately when soiled, both day and night.
Clean the diaper area gently with warm water at each diaper change and allow to air dry after gently patting dry.
Apply a thick layer of any good waterproof barrier ointment to affected area. Some good ointments to try include Aquaphor, Triple Paste medicated ointment, or Boudreaux's Butt Paste, although there are plenty more. You can also use these daily as a preventative measure.
Keeping the diaper area clean and dry should be enough to prevent most diaper rashes. However, if the rash doesn't get better in 4-7 days, spreads, or blisters, please call the office.
This page was authored by Dr. Lauren Mitchell.