Diaper rash is a generic term applied to skin irritation, which develops in the diaper-covered area caused by different irritants and disorders. It is causing the baby’s skin to become red, tender, sore, and scaly. Severe diaper rash may cause blisters, pimples, and sores on the baby’s thighs, genital area, or buttocks. If the rash gets infected, it could become red, with the skin becoming swollen. Small red spots and patches could also spread beyond the primary part of the rash, even out of the area that is covered by diaper.
The common synonyms for diaper rash are napkin dermatitis, diaper dermatitis, ammonia dermatitis, and skin inflammation. Among all of the published causes of diaper rash, contact irritation is most likely the most essential factor. This skin irritation may develop as early as in the first week of a newborn baby. According to the survey, the highest risk of severe diaper rash has been recorded between nine and twelve months old. There are about 40% of children in this age range, which is going to be attacked by diaper rash.
Causes of Diaper Rash
- Bacterial infection – Bacterial infection is the result of a overwhelmed skin defence mechanisms within the diaper-covered area, along with a disruption of skin integrity. Visually, bacterial infections may be a small blisters ranging from 1 to 2 millimeters and pustules covering the buttock, anus, thighs, lower abdomen, umbilical cord and other parts of the baby’s body. When the urine of your baby mixes with bacteria from feces, it will break down and form ammonia, which may be very harsh.
- Allergic reactions – Allergic reactions because of allergens like materials and fragrances of the diaper like super absorbent gels and dyes, along with the laundry chemicals like softener, detergent, and bleach are another cause of severe diaper rash. These areas most commonly have well-defined zones of redness with superficial erosions and vesicles in the groin and on the legs area.
- Malignancies and immunodeficiency – Malignancies and immunodeficiency is likely to be one of the causes of severe diaper rash these days. There are times, when diaper rash can develop on a baby who takes antibiotics, or the baby is breastfed by mom who takes antibiotics. Antibiotics is reducing the number of healthy bacteria that fights with yeast, along with the harmful bacteria that are meant to be destroyed.
- Fungal or yeast infection – This kind of infection is characterized by bright red zone with slightly raised small dots that extend beyond the primary rashes. It is commonly painful, tender, and it appears in the folds of the genitals, creases, and legs of the baby. Alternatively to contact dermatitis, they are usually found in the skin folds creases, in the surrounding of the baby’s anal, which may spread to the back and front of the body.
- Nutritional or metabolic deficiency – Nutritional or metabolic deficiency may occur upon introducing solid food or new food to the baby. New foods will be able to change the composition of baby’s feces, increasing the bowel movement as well. This may lead to a diaper rash, with the rashes getting worst through diarrhea. If the baby is being breastfed, their delicate skin may even be reactant on those foods that the mother is eating.
Handy tips to use for the Prevention of Diaper Rash
- Changing your baby’s diaper – During severe diaper rash, you should change the diaper of your baby diligently as soon as it is soiled and wet. Newborn babies are urinating and passing loose stools very often and there is always a trace amount of moisture left on the skin of your baby. You need to keep the baby’s skin clean, cool, and clean as possible so as to remove the urine and feces that irritate the baby’s skin.
- Soaking the baby’s bottom with running water occasionally – Soak your baby’s bottom with running water rarely in between the change of diaper, or by squirting with a water bottle. If possible, use only warm water with or without mild soap.
- Putting on the diaper loosely – When you put the diaper loosely, you will be able to prevent chafing and thus, preventing severe diaper rash. You can use a bigger diaper to leave more rooms for better air circulation. Ensure that the diaper or nappy will fit firmly, rather than tightly.
- Enabling the baby’s skin to dry completely – Before you cover up with a clean diaper, you should allow the baby’s skin to completely dry first. Prevent using plastic diaper or pant with plastic edge. Diapers that have anti-leak plastic feature is preventing air circulation and thereby, conducing a moist and warm environment wherein fungi may thrive and resulting to severe diaper rash.
- Patting the wet bottom gently with a soft towel or cloth – Instead of scrubbing, pat the wet bottom gently with a soft cloth or towel to prevent irritation on sensitive skin.
- Using cream – You should also consider using cream that contains oxide ointment or petroleum jelly in order to protect the skin of your baby from moisture. You must not use creams that contain camphor, methyl salicylate, boric acid, benzoin tincture, or phenol.
- Boiling washable diapers – Boil the washable diapers for about 10 to 15 minutes after cleaning thoroughly to kill the germs and to remove chemicals like soap, as it can potentially cause skin irritation.
- Not using cornstarch or talcum powder – Do not use cornstarch or talcum powder to heal severe diaper rash. Talcum powder may be inhaled into the lung of your baby, while the cornstarch may worsen a yeast-infected diaper rash.
With some perseverance and diligence in following these best practices, severe diaper rash can be healed in just three to four days without a need to seek an outpatient consultation. Consult your family paediatrician if the rash turns to be complicated with open sores or yellow patches. The paediatrician may prescribe either oral or topical antibiotic for your baby, or antifungal drug for the yeast infection. Consult medical professionals when your baby develops a diarrhea, fever, or any type of discomfort after a few days of home treatment.