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Diaper Rash treatment

Diaper Rash

What is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is a common form of inflamed skin that appears as a patch of bright red skin on your baby’s bottom. It is often related to wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin sensitivity, and chafing. It usually clears up with simple at-home treatments such as air drying, frequent diaper changes, and topical applications. If it does not, do visit your doctor. Also, visit the doctor if the rash is severe or unusual, bleeds, itches, oozes, causes burning or pain with urination or bowel movement, and/or is accompanied by fever.

What triggers it?
Diaper rash can be caused by different sources, including irritation from stool and urine; chafing or rubbing; irritation from a new product; bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection; introduction of new foods; skin sensitivity; and use of antibiotics. Actually evidence points out to a bigger role of faecal matter in triggering the rash. It is essential to use a mild cleanser to wash the perineal area after child passes stool. Usage of disposable pant style diapers also increases the risk.

Babies get a diaper rash more often when they get older (between 9 and 12 months of age), sleep in soiled diapers, have diarrhea, and start eating solid foods.

How is it diagnosed?
Diaper rash is characterized by skin signs (red, tender-looking skin around the buttocks, thighs, and genitals) and changes in the baby’s disposition.

The best treatment for diaper rash is to keep the baby’s skin as clean and dry as possible. Dr. Divya Sharma is an advocate of ABCD regimen to prevent diaper rash.( Please watch this video to know more about diaper rash)

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If home treatment does not work, your doctor may prescribe a mild hydrocortisone (steroid) cream; an antifungal cream (if required); topical or oral antibiotics, if the baby has a bacterial infection;


Diaper rashes usually require several days to improve, and the rash may come back repeatedly. If the rash persists despite prescription treatment, your doctor may recommend a visit to a dermatologist

Prevention or Care
The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry.

Change diapers often. Remove wet or dirty diapers promptly. Rinse the baby’s bottom with warm water as part of each diaper change. Do not use wipes with alcohol or fragrance. Gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel or let it air dry; do not scrub. Do not overtighten diapers. Avoid using diapers all the time. Consider using ointment during each diaper change. Use diapers that are larger than usual until the rash goes away. Avoid items containing baking soda, boric acid, camphor, phenol, benzocaine, diphenhydramine, or salicylates. Until the rash clears up, daily bath with warm water and mild, fragrance-free soap can help.

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This is the most important of all the steps to prevent diaper rash.

There are a few basic precautions like:

Always clean the area from front to back, especially in girls to prevent urinary tract infections from the fecal bacteria near anal canal.

Never try to pull apart the foreskin in boys which is fused for the first two to three years.

It should be ensured that the creases and the folds are cleaned and that there is no hint of moisture left. Moisture is a breeding ground for infections.

Please use a sheet whenever you change the diaper in public places to prevent transmission of infections.

Air drying is better than pat drying. The latter is still preferred over rubbing or not drying at all.

DO NOT use wipes which contain alcohol or fragrance. The wipes should be used only when cleaning with water is not available. Minimize the use of wipes as much as possible.

  • Firstly follow proper cleansing practices as outlined above. 
  • Avoid using harsh soaps and hot water. Try and use a gentle cleansing lotion (pH of around 5.5) to a soap bar. 
  • Always try to wash the area with cleanser and water rather than a wipe whenever  possible. 
  • Apply a skin moisturizer first followed by a barrier cream. A barrier cream, generally containing zinc oxide in higher percentage, forms an occlusive film to prevent contact of the skin with faeces. 
  • This should be done at every diaper change. 

The chances of getting a rash are same for all types of diapers-- whether they are stick on type diapers or pant sized diapers. The only type of diapers that are slightly better than others are the ones which are super absorbent as they can be used for a slightly longer duration.

As a Dermatologist and a first time parent, I was also bewildered while making the right choice for my child. I hope this addresses few of those doubts and concerns. Please feel free to ask any queries related to diaper rash and I shall be happy to help you.

Multiple factors predispose this area to irritant diaper rash. Prolonged contact with faeces, urine and repeated cleaning disturbs the sensitive skin in this area, hence causing rash. Not using proper cleaning practices or neglect can result in diaper rash.

Actually a disposable diaper is preferable to cloth diaper. The cloth diaper should be promptly changed once soiled. The disposable diaper can be changed every four hours or so. There is no difference in rash if either is used.

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