Diaper Rash – Causes And Prevention

Diaper or nappy rash, as the name suggests, develops on the part of the baby’s skin covered by the nappy or diaper. It is usually found on the genital area, buttocks and thigh folds. The diaper area of the baby’s skin affected with nappy rash would appear red and inflamed. If not treated at the early stage, when the symptoms are milder, the bumps might become bigger, appearing like blisters or pimples.

What causes diaper rash?
If your baby stays in a wet or soiled diaper for a long time, he/she might develop diaper rash. The plastic cover of the diaper obstructs air circulation, making the diaper area damp and warm, hence creating an ideal environment for fungi to grow and multiply. Overgrowth of the Candida albicans, yeast that lives on our skin, could cause diaper rash. This yeast needs warm and moist environment to grow, and the diaper covering provides the appropriate condition for it to thrive. Diaper rash caused by fungal skin infection could spread beyond the nappy area, to the creases of the skin.

Yeast infection can occur if the mother of the breastfeeding infant takes antibiotic medications. Infants on antibiotic medications could even develop skin fungal infection. When new foods are introduced in the baby’s diet, the change in the composition of the baby’s stool can irritate the skin, leading to nappy rash. If the baby suffers from diarrhea, the diaper rash can become worse. Detergents used in washing cloth nappies or chemicals and plastics present in diapers could irritate the infant’s tender skin, triggering diaper rash.

How to prevent diaper rash
Prevention is always better than cure. You can easily prevent diaper rash by frequently changing the baby’s diaper. In between diapers changes, thoroughly wash your baby’s bottom. Pat the baby’s skin dry with a soft cloth. Before putting on a new diaper, make sure that the diaper area is completely dry. The diaper should not be too tight. This would inhibit air circulation. If you are using cloth nappies, use non-aromatic mild detergents for washing them. Never use skin wipes with alcohols for wiping your baby’s tender skin. Skin wipes made especially for babies are usually safe for their skin.