One of the most common conditions in babyhood is diaper rash. Even if you are extremely careful, it can happen at some time or the other. Thankfully, this isn’t a serious condition, and it’s usually easy to treat.
When it comes to diaper rash causes, there are three common culprits:
Irritation from stool and urine
Prolonged exposure to urine or stool can irritate a baby's sensitive skin. Your baby may be more prone to diaper rash if he or she is experiencing frequent bowel movements or diarrhoea because faeces are more irritating than urine.
Chafing or rubbing
Tight-fitting diapers or clothing that rubs against the skin can lead to a rash.
Irritation from a new product
Your baby's skin may react to baby wipes, a new brand of disposable diapers, or a detergent, bleach, or fabric softener used to launder cloth diapers. Other substances that can add to the problem include ingredients found in some baby lotions, powders, and oils.
Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection
What begins as a simple skin infection may spread to the surrounding region. The areas covered by a diaper: buttocks, thighs, and genitals are especially vulnerable because it's warm and moist, making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. These rashes can be found within the creases of the skin, and there may be red dots scattered around the creases.
Introduction of new foods
As babies start to eat solid foods, the content of their stool changes. This increases the likelihood of diaper rash. Changes in your baby's diet can also increase the frequency of stools, which can lead to diaper rash. If your baby is breastfed, he or she may develop diaper rash in response to something the mother has eaten.
Babies with skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis (eczema), may be more likely to develop diaper rash. However, the irritated skin of atopic dermatitis and eczema primarily affects areas other than the diaper area.
Use of antibiotics
Antibiotics kill bacteria, the good kinds as well as the bad. When a baby takes antibiotics, bacteria that keep yeast growth in check may be depleted, resulting in diaper rash due to yeast infection. Antibiotic use also increases the risk of diarrhea. Breast-fed babies whose mothers take antibiotics are also at increased risk of diaper rash.
- Change diapers often. Remove wet or dirty diapers promptly. If your child is in child care, ask staff members to do the same.
- Rinse your baby's bottom with warm water as part of each diaper change. You can use a sink, tub, or water bottle for this purpose. Moist washcloths, cotton balls and baby wipes can aid in cleaning the skin, but be gentle. Don't use wipes with alcohol or fragrance. If you wish to use soap, select a mild, fragrance-free type.
- Gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel or let it air dry. Don't scrub your baby's bottom. Scrubbing can further irritate the skin.
- Don't over-tighten diapers. Tight diapers prevent airflow into the diaper region, which sets up a moist environment favourable to diaper rashes. Tight diapers can also cause chafing at the waist or thighs.
- Give your baby's bottom more time without a diaper. When possible, let your baby go without a diaper. Exposing skin to air is a natural and gentle way to let it dry. To avoid messy accidents, try laying your baby on a large towel and engage in some playtime while he or she is bare-bottomed.
- Consider using ointment regularly. If your baby gets rashes often, apply a barrier ointment during each diaper change to prevent skin irritation. Petroleum jelly and zinc oxide are the time-proven ingredients in many diaper ointments.
- If the doctor indicates that it is a fungal infection, get an anti-fungal cream.
- Applying coconut oil helps in diaper rash as per Ayurveda. Coconut oil has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes the skin, and has a deep moisturising capacity which helps to heal the skin. Coconut oil is anti-allergic so it helps to prevent irritation and allergies.
- After changing diapers, wash your hands well. Hand-washing can prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast to other parts of your baby's body, to you or to other children.
- Daily baby massage with coconut oil also helps to prevent conditions like diaper rash or generally any rashes on the body.