Children’s skin issues start right from the time of birth and stretch out well into their adolescence. Diaper rash or diaper dermatitis is one of these issues that is found in the area covered by the diaper. In mild cases, the skin may appear just red and irritated and clear up within 3-4 days, but in more severe cases, there may be painful open lesions.
Diaper rash or nappy rash is a generic term and refers to bright red inflamed rashes on the skin of the buttock region and could be due to skin irritation or infection. In severe cases, it may spread to skin folds and genital areas. Though rashes are most common in between the age of 4 and 15 months in babies, even incontinent or paralyzed adults can become prone to them.
Some of the common causes of diaper rash could include the following:
Irritation – Infrequently changed diapers could result in accumulated urine or feces irritating the baby’s tender skin. The acidic pH of these products is enough to inflame the skin when left soiled for too long. Some of the cleaning products used for the diaper area or the material of the diaper itself could be irritating the skin leading to its inflammation.
Friction – When baby skin remains wet for too long, it begins to break down, and when such skin is chafed or rubbed by moisture from a soiled diaper, it damages the skin further, resulting in a red, shiny rash on the affected areas.
Allergic reactions – Some of the perfumed alcohol-based diaper wipes end up irritating the baby’s tender skin leading to the formation of rashes. The baby’s skin is very sensitive and can also be allergic to the type of diaper being used or its elasticized parts or even the soap or lotion being used on the baby. Parents need to be vigilant whenever introducing new products for the baby and watch out for reactions.
Infections – Candida, which is a fungal infection, thrives in warm moist areas and a soiled diaper provides an ideal hideout. It usually causes rashes with a beefy red appearance and is commonly seen after antibiotic use in either the baby or the nursing mother.
Other instances when babies get rashes more frequently are when they start on solid foods, when they have diarrhea or when they aren’t kept clean and dry.
Though rashes can be alarming for parents, most rashes clear up spontaneously with simple home remedies like air-drying whenever possible, use of thick ointments containing zinc oxides or petroleum jelly and frequent diaper changes. Do not rub the buttocks, but pat dry when there are rashes.
If the rash persists and is very painful or you suspect an allergy or infection or presence of other associated symptoms, you might need to consult a skin doctor who could recommend mild steroids, anti-fungal creams or antibiotics and prescription ointments to speed up recovery.