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Causes and Treatment of Diaper Rash

Updated on March 20, 2013

This hub is written in answer to fellow hubber Anamika S. - "What are the causes and treatment of diaper rash?"

* Diaper Rash Defined - Its Signs and Symptoms.

According to the book, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, a diaper rash is defined as "the term used to describe a rash or irritation in the area covered by the diaper."

The signs and symptoms of this uncomfortable skin condition include a redness of the skin, or small bumps along the childs' lower abdomen, genitals, thigh folds, and buttocks - essentially surfaces that have direct contact with the wet or soiled diaper.

* Diaper Rash Causes.

Diaper rashes are caused by several things. These include:

  • Leaving a soiled diaper on too long - digestive agents found in your child's stool can attack their already vulnerable skin, making it much more susceptible to irritation.
  • Leaving a wet diaper on too long - in addition to moisture leaving the skin much more susceptible to chafing, urine that is left on the child's skin for long periods of time can form chemicals that may cause further skin irritation.
  • Frequent stools - such as what occurs during a case of diarrhea. A rash will occur more readily if the soiled diaper is left on too long.
  • Antibiotics - according to the book, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, antibiotics encourage the growth of yeast organisms that can easily infect your child's delicate skin.
  • Diaper brands - all diapers are not created equal. Therefore, depending on your child's skin type, certain diapers may cause them to break out in rashes as well.
  • Introduction to solid food - no doubt due to the "introduction to more acidic foods and changes in the digestive process caused by the new variety of foods", an onslaught of diaper rashes may occur.
  • Sweat - even though a child may have on a clean diaper, according to, sweat from a child playing and being active is a perfect breeding ground for yeast, bacteria, and fungus to grow.
  • Baby wipes - although considered one of the most gentle ways to clean a baby, baby wipes often contain alcohol, perfumes, and soaps that are harsh to your baby's skin.
  • Breastfeeding - while it is less common for breastfed babies to get diaper rashes, if a breastfeeding mother consumes a large amount of acidic foods, this can lead to diaper rashes as well.
  • Yeast Infections - rashes caused by yeast infections are common on the lower abdomen, genitals, and thighs - it almost never appears on the buttocks.


* Treatment and Prevention.

While the best way to deal with diaper rashes is to try to prevent it from the first place, once a diaper rash occurs, there are several ways to treat it.

Prevention - to reduce your child's risk of getting a diaper rash, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Keep your child clean and dry by frequently changing, thoroughly cleaning (with mild, unscented baby soap and warm water, you can even use a spray bottle filled with warm water and a drop or two unscented baby oil to prevent your child's skin from drying out), and pat drying them after each wet and soiled diaper. This will reduce your child skin from being exposed to moisture and chemical forming agents caused by bowel.
  2. After changing your child's diaper, when at all feasible, expose your baby's derriere to air for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. If your child wears plastic pants (although it is advisable to avoid using them completely) or wears disposable diapers with tight gathers around the legs and abdomen, ensure that you choose one that fits properly and snugly, yet still allows air to circulate. If they are still too tight, snip a little of the elastic from the leg and abdomen area of the plastic pants, and try loosening the diaper somewhat.
  4. Normally a doctor will advise you to keep a good supply of ointment especially formulated for your child on hand when they are taking an antibiotic. Apply a generous layer on your child's diaper area between each diaper change. This will provide a protective barrier for your child's skin.
  5. Even if your child's diaper is clean, it is still advisable to change them after they have been playing. Their own sweat provides the perfect breeding ground for rashes to develop.
  6. In the event you do not have access to a mild soap and warm water, choose hypoallergenic or all natural baby wipes such as Pampers Sensitive®, and Seventh Generation® All Natural Baby Wipes over other brands.
  7. According to, while some parents still use baby powders to keep their child dry and prevent chaffing, avoid the use of baby powders since some brands tend to hold onto moisture instead of keep it at bay. In the event you want to use a powder, plain cornstarch is said to be the safer. However, some studies have found that even the use of cornstarch can cause a yeast infection. So consult your child's pediatrician first.
  8. If breastfeeding, cut back or eliminate highly acidic foods from your diet.

Treatment for Mild to Moderate Diaper Rashes - unfortunately, most babies will have at least one diaper rash in his or her developing years.

When and if your baby develops a mild to moderate diaper rash, here are some ways to treat it:

  1. If your child's rash is moist to the touch, is raw, weepy, or inflamed, use a drying lotion such as Weleda® Calendula Diaper Care. This product is very effective at drying out a moist rash and is made from all natural ingredients.
  2. Apply a thick layer of diaper rash cream such as A&D, Balmex, Desitin Creamy, Desitin Zinc Oxide, or if you are looking for something more natural and gentle, products such as California Baby® Diaper Rash Cream, Burt's Bees® Baby Bee's Butt Cream work very effectively. Or create your own homemade diaper rash cream by using a combination of raw shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil. Parents can even use simple mineral based oils such extra virgin olive oil, grape-seed oil, or wheat germ oil that can be absorbed into the baby's skin.
  3. According to the website, a sitz bath will work well for a child who is experiencing a dry and extremely uncomfortable diaper rash. A sitz bath will help restore moisture to your child's skin and speeds the healing process. The Website quoted Sam Solis, M.D., chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital in New Orleans, assistant professor of pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine and a pediatrician to instruct: ''Two or three times a day, fill the tub with a few inches of warm water and let your child sit in the tub and play with his toys. You only have to do it for five to ten minuteseach time, but it really makes a difference." Some choose to add a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salt or baking soda to the water - consult your child's pediatrician to see what they would suggest first.

* When a Diaper Rash Is More Than Just A Diaper Rash.

While most diaper rashes can be treated at home, there are some red flags to look for that signify a need to visit your child's pediatrician.

To determine whether or not your child has a severe form of diaper rash, here are some red flags to look out for:

  • A rash that does not improve noticeably within a forty-eight to seventy-two hour period (two or three days).
  • A rash that is beefy red in appearance, has round pink spots that radiate from the redden area, and effects the creases of the groin area. This may indicate a yeast infection that needs to be treated with an anti-fungal medication.
  • A rash that has the appearance of a pimple or blister in the diaper area. This may indicate a staph infection that needs to be treated immediately.
  • A rash that is accompanied with extremely dry or cracked skin and that is causing extreme discomfort in your child.

Sadly, diaper rashes happen to be a part of life when caring for a baby or young child. With preventive measures and the correct way of treating them, they will not cause your little one discomfort for long.

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi! I have the same bag, and I love it! My bag consist of :Change of chetlos for both my kids, or two.First aid/ medicine kit- complete with Tylenol suitable for both my kids.Spare disposable- she has her poopy days.Pull-up Toddler2 diaper covers-baby6 inserts for an average day out.Odor removerLightweight recovering blanketToysSippy cup for ToddlerSunscreen and sun hatsPaci wipes and spare paciButt cream Mommy part:Lip balmPenNursing coverNip creamTylenolNursing padsBookSpare chargerSmall notepadKeys, cell and walletEverything is neat and tidy and I love it! Thank you!

    • frogyfish profile image


      4 years ago from Central United States of America

      Your informative hub was interesting to read and your preventive tips were definitely helpful. I am far past needing to treat diaper rash, but my granddaughter's baby has just benefited from using the 'new to me' natural rash cream from The Honest Company. It helped within the first 12 hours where prescription yeast meds were only partially helpful. Amazing! Thank you for presenting your research so interestingly.

    • profile image

      Baby Diapers Online 

      4 years ago

      I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 

      and I am completely satisfied with your website. 

      All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

      Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.

      turn you are sharing with each one!….

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I've just been introduced to pure shea butter BkCreative and have found it to be extremely effective for my little ones eczema. I wish I had of known about it before for diaper rashes.

      Fortunately, my girls had them few and far between - I found that preventing them was the best recourse.

      I heard it too about the Pamper's brand. It's so sad because that was a brand that so many parents trusted.

      As a matter of fact, it was the only brand that my little ones could wear without getting a diaper rash. In the end, cloth diapers are better for both the baby and the enviroment.

      Hearing about it made me stop and think: in addition to worry about the food and milk we give our children (among other things) here's another thing parents have to worry about.

      These new brand Pampers are said to and I quote "causing severe rashes, blisters, chemical burns, infections, and/or other ailments." - the whole idea of this so mind boggling!

      I can't imagine what those poor babies are going through - their parents as well.

      Thank you for stopping by and for the additional information.

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Veronica Allen!

      Recently, I heard on the news that many Pamper's brand diapers should be taken off the market - they were causing serious irritation. There is no telling what is used to make the product.

      What works for me? When my granddaughter had a diaper rash, I bathed her, dried her, and slathered on the pure shea butter - the next a.m. the rash was totally gone.

      This has to be painful for a child - I just hope there is not a problem with the diaper products on the market. Quality is deteriorating on everything.

      Thanks for the hub!

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you all for stopping by.

      Habee - I hope the information will be of some value and use to you and your family. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, read, and leave a comment.

      Hello, hello - yes it is often painful for the poor babies. Especially the diaper rashes that are really severe and that have to be treated by antifungal medications and antibiotics.

      CassidyS - I hear you! My eldest was potty trained by two, and I am in the process of potty training the little one now. I am sooooo glad to be past that stage.

    • CassidyS profile image


      8 years ago from OK

      Very informative hub! I'm so glad we are past that stage.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      It must be awful and very [ainful. Thank you for this well written and advised hub.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Wonderful tips! We still have 2 in diapers!

    • Veronica Allen profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Anamika S for taking the time to stop by, read, and leave a comment.

      As a whole, most diaper rashes have common causes and are usually pretty simple to treat. There are other occassions where things can be a little more complicated.

      Having had kids of my own, I have to say that out of the causes listed, although few and far between, my little ones experienced a diaper rash due to at least six of the causes listed above.

      Fortunately, they were the mild type and were easily treated.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      8 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      There is so much to a simple Diaper rash? I never knew this much before reading your hub. Very detailed and well written. Thanks for sharing!


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