A rash on the skin under the diaper is referred to as “Diaper Rash.” Diaper rash is common in infants and children younger than two years of age. Your child will get diaper rash at least once during the first 24 months of childhood. More than 3 million US cases per year. Diaper rash, also known as diaper dermatitis happens because the baby’s skin is staying wet and rubbing against the diaper. This generally happens when babies sleep for an extended period allowing the wet diaper to be on them longer. Direct contact with your babies delicate skin by chemicals from the urine and stool can also be the culprit of your child’s rash.
Identifying a diaper rash is usually fairly easy. The rash is located on the skin underneath the diaper area. The skin will be inflamed, irritated and bright red where the diaper has touched the skin. It could appear all over your baby’s buttocks or genital area, or only in certain areas. Folds of the skin, may or may not be involved.
A Contact diaper rash is when the babies skin is exposed to something and has an allergic reaction to it. These substances could be things like cleaning agents, plastics, or chemicals in disposable diapers This type of rash isn’t contagious, but it can cause a lot of discomfort for your baby.
Candidiasis likes warm, moist areas of the skin, like that of a wet diaper. Candidiasis may cause rashes, scaling, itching, and swelling. If the edges of the rash have small pustules, this may be a yeast rash.
How can you tell the difference between a regular diaper rash and a rash caused by ammonia “burn”? Well, the diaper itself will have a harsh ammonia or “fishy” smell. I always thought it looked like a severe sunburn, but that’s just my opinion.
A rash due to acidic poop would appear on the areas touched by the poop itself. This type of rash will lessen or go away between poops by allowing the affected area to be aired-out and using stay-dry liners like microfleece or hemp.
Treating common diaper rash can usually be accomplished with some simple at-home treatments. Try the following at the first signs of a diaper rash:
When my daughter gets a minor candida rash, I apply an over the counter anti-fungal cream. Of course, I’ve had five children, so this is not my first rodeo. You should never use anything unless you have discussed it with your doctor first. Check with your doctor before using any product made for an adult on a baby or child. Protecting the healthy skin near the rash with creams like Desitin, Diaparene, A&D Ointment, or zinc oxide may keep the rash from becoming worse or spreading. I personally like zinc oxide, it has always been an effective option for me, for plain diaper rash. Never apply creams or ointments to broken skin, as it may make things worse or at the very least may slow the natural healing process. Do not use cornstarch on a rash; it also allows bacteria to grow.
There are three natural alternatives I use for my daughter, not including essential oils.
A minor diaper rash usually does not require a visit to the pediatricians’ office. However, if keeping the diaper area clean and dry does not relieve the situation then it’s probably time to call your doctor for some assistance. If the rash does not get better despite treatment in 4-7 days or if the rash is getting significantly worse or has spread to other parts of the body then you should call your doctor.
Other reasons to call your doctor would be if the rash could be bacterial in nature, with symptoms such as a yellowish-colored crusting or pus-like drainage. This is called impetigo and needs to be treated with antibiotics. If you can not determine what is causing the rash or if the rash is accompanied by diarrhea lasting longer than two days, you should call your doctor. If your baby’s rash is mainly in the skin folds, this could be a yeast infection and would require medication. Also be watchful of the “diaper rash” spreading to other parts of the body such as the face, hands or back.
You should call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if your baby has:
Although it’s rare to require medical attention for a diaper rash, there are times when immediate attention is needed. Should your child appear to be in distress, severe pain, or if you notice rapid spread of the rash with fever, you should seek immediate medical attention.
If your baby appears to have a candidal infection, the doctor might recommend antifungal creams or medicines. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the doctor thinks the child has impetigo (a bacterial infection). A short course of mild topical steroid cream or ointment may be prescribed if the rash does not appear to be fungal in nature.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your babies condition by being prepared. I have made a handy little document that you can print off, fill out and take with you to the doctor. Trust me; he will be impressed that you’re so on top of things!
Print This — > Diaper Rash Answers/History To Give To Your Baby’s Doctor
The information contained on this website is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.
Ravanfar P, Wallace J, Nicole C. Diaper Dermatitis: a review and update. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. Volume 24(4), August 2012, p 472–479
Horii K and Prossick A. “Overview of Diaper Dermatitis in infants and children.” UpToDate.com, version 18.2, accessed 9/27/10.
Weston W and Howe W. “Treatment of atopic dermatitis.” UpToDate.com, version 18.2, accessed 9/27/10.