ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Babies & Baby Care

How to Treat Nappy Rash

Updated on June 4, 2013

What Causes Nappy Rash?

Nappy rash, or diaper rash, where the skin around a babies bottom and groin area appears red and inflamed, is a common phenomenon scores of babies have suffered from since the invention of nappies. The moist, warm area of a babies bottom, encased in a humid cloth or disposable nappy provides the ideal condition for an irritant rash to flourish. Some babies seem to be more susceptible to nappy rash than others but it is a very common occurance and most babies will suffer at least one attack of this nasty rash.

Although nappy rash is multifactorial (ie;more than one cause), fundamentally, it is a form of ammonia dermatitis triggered by a reaction to environmental irritants - in this case, urine reacting with normal bacteria present on the babies skin.

Rashes are most commonly found in the buttocks area and on parts of the skin most closely in contact with the nappy. Contributing factors to nappy rash include:

  • friction between the skin and the nappy
  • water in the baby's urine and stools
  • irritating soaps, detergents and powders
  • diarrhoea
  • alcohol in nappy wipes
  • leaving a soiled nappy on for too long

Changing nappies frequently, as soon as possible after soiling, helps babies to avoid nappy rash
Changing nappies frequently, as soon as possible after soiling, helps babies to avoid nappy rash | Source
Woollen diaper covers
Woollen diaper covers

Treatments for Nappy Rash

Fortunately, there are ways to minimise the likelihood of a reactive rash as well as effective treatments.

  • Gently wash the baby's bottom using a wet disposable towelette or a washcloth soaked in olive oil and pat, rather than rub the area. Avoid commercial wipes as these may contain harsh irritants.
  • Change nappies frequently, especially when a rash has appeared.
  • If possible, give the baby some nappy free time to allow air to freely circulate around the area
  • Use a simple barrier cream such as vaseline or zinc paste, which will provide a protective coating between the baby's skin and the nappy.
  • If using cloth nappies, avoid plastic or pvc nappy covers as these tend to overheat the groin and bottom area. These days there are better, breathable fabrics available.

NB: Occasionally, nappy rash may develop into a bacterial yeast infection, in which case professional medical consultation will be needed. If nappy rash doesn't clear quickly after the usual simple treatments, it's advisable to see a doctor.

Prefolded nappies
Prefolded nappies

Are Cloth or Disposable Nappies Better?

For sheer convenience, disposable nappies can't be beaten, yet they are not without controversy. Apart from the fact that they contain absorbent chemicals, the environmental problem of disposing of thousands and thousands of soiled nappies is an issue.

Although disposable nappies have greater absorbency (they contain superabsorbent polymers which draw urine to a central core and thus away from the baby) and tend to keep babies drier, there is no clear evidence that they pose less risk for nappy rash than traditional nappies.

Cloth nappies, usually made from terry towelling or flannel, now come in pretailored and prefolded styles, which makes life easier. They are cheaper than disposables and pose less of an environmental risk, although they too often require the use chemicals in the cleaning process.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)