Diaper rash can be caused by a baby's skin chafing against the diaper.
A diaper rash can form due to a wet diaper.

Diaper Rash Treatment for Babies

Diaper rash is an extremely common skin problem that affects most babies at some point in time. It can cause discomfort and distress, leaving many parents wondering how to get rid of diaper rash. Here we will look into a diaper rash treatment so your little one does not have to suffer.
In this article, we will also discuss the causes of diaper rash, along with how to prevent and treat it. Read on to find out more.

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a form of dermatitis, or skin inflammation. It is very common in babies, especially those aged nine to 12 months, or babies who are trying out new foods for the first time.

Diaper rash appears as patches of bright red skin that may look tender or sore. It usually occurs on the baby’s bottom or genitals but can also spread to the thighs.

In addition to having a rash in their diaper area, babies with this problem may show signs of discomfort such as fussing or crying. These may be especially pronounced during diaper changes or when washing or touching their bottom.

How Diaper Rash Forms

Diaper rash forms due to wet diapers. They provide a warm and moist environment which is perfect for bacteria or yeast to grow. Furthermore, babies have very sensitive skin, which can easily be irritated by urine and feces in an unchanged diaper.

Although most babies will get diaper rash at some point, there are certain factors that make it more likely. These include the following:

  • Infrequently changed diapers
  • Skin conditions such as atopic eczema or seborrheic dermatitis
  • Diapers that are too tight, leading to chafing
  • Diarrhea or frequent bowel movements
  • New foods, which change the consistency and frequency of bowel movements
  • Sensitivity to new products that come into contact with the skin (soap, detergent, wipes and even diapers themselves)
  • Antibiotics, which can kill the helpful bacteria that keep yeast under control. They also increase the risk of diarrhea.

So, if your baby is suffering from diaper rash, what can you do to help?

Preventing Diaper Rash

There are several steps that you can take to reduce your baby’s risk of developing diaper rash. The most important thing that you can do is check and change diapers regularly. As often as every two hours is ideal.

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It is also a good idea to follow some general guidelines when changing diapers:

  • Rinse your baby’s bottom with warm water. You can do this in a bath or basin using your hand as a scoop or a squeeze bottle filled with water.
  • Gently pat the area dry with a clean towel. Do not rub or scrub as this can irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
  • Allow your baby to spend some diaper-free playtime every day. After washing is the perfect time to do this. Just remember to place a large towel underneath them to avoid accidents.
  • Before putting on a fresh diaper, apply cream or ointment to your baby’s bottom. This will offer an extra layer of protection. Look out for products containing petroleum jelly or zinc oxide which are time-honored ingredients for preventing diaper rash.
  • Do not use baby powder or corn starch as these can damage your baby’s little lungs if breathed in.
  • Do not fasten diapers too tightly as this could lead to chafing.
  • Wash your hands before and after changing to prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast.
  • If using cloth diapers, wash them in hot water using mild detergent and bleach. Do not use fabric softeners as these can irritate your baby’s skin.For heavily soiled diapers, pre-soak before washing.

Although following this guidance should reduce the risk of diaper rash, there is still a chance it could occur. In this case, you will need to be familiar with the different types of diaper rash treatment.

Diaper Rash Treatments

If your baby does develop diaper rash, there are a wide variety of products available to help. Most of these are over-the-counter creams and ointments.

The main difference between the two is that ointments are thicker than creams and take longer to absorb. Ask your doctor which type of product is most suitable for your baby.

Some of the most common brands of diaper rash treatment include:

  • Triple Paste
  • A + D
  • Balmex
  • Desitin

Stronger preparations are also available on prescription. These include hydrocortisone, which is a mild steroid cream and helps to reduce inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotic or antifungal creams if an infection is present.

There are also a variety of natural remedies for diaper rash. Most of these contain soothing ingredients such as:

  • Witch hazel
  • Calendula
  • Aloe
  • Bentonite clay
  • Oatmeal

Some people even recommend using breast milk as a diaper rash treatment! However, the evidence to support its effectiveness is conflicting.

Consult your doctor before using any medicated products for your baby’s sensitive skin. You should also seek medical attention if your baby’s diaper rash does not improve within a few days of treatment.

Other warning signs include fever, swelling, bleeding, itching and oozing, all of which could indicate a skin infection. If any of these symptoms occur, or if your baby’s diaper rash becomes worse in spite of treatment, see your physician as soon as possible.