Diaper Rash Dos & Don’ts
Diaper Rash Remedies to Protect Baby's Bottom
Moisture and friction are the prime culprits. These diaper rash remedies will help you ease the discomfort.
By Krisha McCoy
Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
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Few things are more perfect than a baby's soft, smooth skin. But because it is so tender and delicate, that sweet skin can be susceptible to diaper rash, a mild irritation of the skin that causes redness around the diaper area.
Most cases of diaper rash are caused by excessive moisture and friction. "Too much moisture breaks down the barrier of the skin and makes it raw and red, especially if there is a lot of friction from a diaper," says Jennifer Shu, MD, co-author of "Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality" and a pediatrician at Children's Medical Group in Atlanta.
While diaper rashes are usually not serious, they do cause discomfort for your child. There are a number of diaper rash remedies available for use at home. Learn which ones work for your baby.
Diaper Rash: Spotting the Signs
Diaper rash "tends to [occur] in older kids, about 9 months and up," says Dr. Shu, explaining that older babies urinate more, which soaks the diapers and keeps the skin moist. In addition, older babies have started to eat solid foods, and the different acids they produce in their urine can lead to diaper rash.
Typically in the form of a mild red rash with some scaling, diaper rash most often occurs where the diaper touches your baby's skin, but it can also spread outside of the area. In some cases, when the diaper rash gets infected, it can become bright red and swollen and spread beyond the original rash in the form of small red patches.
"If [the diaper rash] is bright red, especially if there are bumps, it could be a yeast infection," says Shu. "The appearance of pus could mean there is a bacterial infection." She recommends calling your baby's doctor if the rash is associated with any of the following symptoms:
- Extreme soreness around the irritated skin
- Bright redness
- Persistent irritation that doesn't resolve with diaper rash remedies
Diaper Rash: Prevention and Remedies
The best ways to avoid diaper rash is to change your child immediately after a bowel movement and to rinse the area with warm water. You should also check the diaper frequently, to avoid prolonged exposure to moisture from a urine-soaked diaper. If a rash occurs, try the following at-home remedies.
Keep the diaper as dry as possible. To keep the diaper area dry, Shu advises "using absorbent diapers and changing diapers frequently, especially if you use cloth diapers." She also recommends using over-the-counter diaper rash cream or ointment. These treatments can keep the diaper from rubbing against the skin.
Try switching diaper brands."Some babies are sensitive to certain materials, like the chemicals or perfumes that are in some diapers," says Shu. "So if your baby gets a rash with certain diapers, you may need to change brands."
Let your baby go diaper-free.Take the diaper off your baby for a little while so the air can thoroughly dry the area. This will allow for a bit of comfort and also work toward preventing future diaper rashes.
Lastly, monitor your child's rash.
Video: Coconut Oil for Diaper Rash: Does It Work and How to Use
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