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What Causes Diaper Rash in Newborns

Updated on March 1, 2013

What Causes Diaper Rash in Newborns?

Nearly everyone have experienced some form of diaper rash when growing up. We don’t remember it, I know that I don’t but it must have been a pretty unpleasant experience. Now that I’m older I figured that I look up and find out what actually causes diaper rash in newborns. I invite you to participate with some questions that you might have at the end by using the comment box. Lets start!

Main Cause: Urine and Feces

The main cause for diaper rash in newborns is urine and feces that break down the uttermost layer of their skin. This breakdown eventually causes an inflammation which we call diaper rash. Babies have very sensitive skin, especially in their groin area. If dirty diapers are not changed right away, there’s a chance that urine and feces will start to damage the uttermost layer of their skin. This usually happens when babies sleep in poopy diapers. You can avoid this by checking the “status” of the diaper regularly.

Excess Moisture is Also a Major Cause

Getting your baby’s bottom dry before you put on a new diaper is important. Most diapers are constructed to keep moisture in, which is a no-brainer, but they also prevent air from getting in. This means that your baby’s skin will not be able to breathe and moisture is allowed to build up making the skin less resistant. This doesn’t seem to such a big of a problem with cloth diapers. In cloth diapers, air can travel inside and less moisture is allowed to build up. In some parts of the world, such as Hawaii for example, where high humidity is a big cause for diaper rash, some mothers put a protective ointment on thier babies’s skin. By doing this, moisture kept away from the skin even when it is present inside the diaper. Mothers in Hawaii use cocoa and coconut butter/oil as ointment, but olive oil works just as fine.

Check Your Diapers!

Another possible cause is that the diaper is rubbing the skin of your baby and irritates it. You can easily correct this by checking that the diaper isn’t too loose or if it’s the wrong size. Again, an ointment such as coconut oil can come in handy since it can reduce the rubbing and friction between the diaper and your baby’s skin.

Candida Albicans & Yeast Infections

Candida albicans can also cause diaper rash in newborns. Candida albicans is a fungus that is present in the stomach of some babies (and in many adults as well). It gets in contact with the skin by the baby’s feces. Candida-caused-rashes become more frequent when babies start to eat solid foods. In my opinion, solid foods are introduced to the diet to early in most babies. Before digestive enzymes and functions have been fully developed to handle solid foods, Candida albicans and other harmful fungus can get a chance to grow. Rashes caused by candida can be difficult to detect at the beginning of a rash. It is often at later stages that candida is easilier detected. Candida will produce a very deep-red rash almost as the same color as beef. Also, the borders to the surrounding skin is slightly raised and small red “satellite” pimples are present outside the rash area.


Diaper rash in newborns can be summarized in the following points:

  • When a baby's urine and feces get prolonged contact with his or her skin, the uttermost layer of the skin starts to break down. This causes inflammation and irritation.

  • You can prevent it by regularly checking the diapers and change them as soon as they get dirty.

  • Excess moisture inside diapers is also a big cause for diaper rash.

  • It can be prevented by using cloth diapers, making sure your baby’s skin is dry before you put another diaper on, and using an ointment as a protective barrier. You can even let your newborn be without diapers if it is convenient.

  • Candida albicans, a type of fungus can also cause diaper rash.

  • It can be hard to detect at first, but later it shows as beefy red patches with slightly raised borders to the surrounding skin and “satellite" pimples outside the rash area.

If you want to find out how to cure diaper rash and what to do if it's an yeast infection like Candida albicans that is causing it, then visit the following page: How to cure bad diaper rash.


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