At one time or another, all parents will face a baby diaper rash. Opening up your baby’s diaper to find a bright, red, painful rash can be heartbreaking and frustrating. You want to know why your baby has a rash and how to treat your baby’s diaper rash.
Over the years, my babies have had dozens of rashes. Sometimes, they have a rash because I tried a new diaper brand, and it bothered their skin. Other times, the rash develops due to yeast or other problems.
No matter what type of rash your child develops, you can learn how to treat the diaper rash. No diaper rash is invincible, and one of the many rash treatment options will kick it to the curb.
A diaper rash is a rash that appears on your baby’s skin in the diaper region, as you might have guessed. Diaper rashes are common in infants and children who are two years old and under. Those are the ages that kids spend most of their day, if not all of it, in a diaper. 2 to 4-year-olds start to potty train, and they spend less time in a diaper, decreasing their rashes.
Diaper rashes aren’t limited to infants and toddlers. People who are incontinent or paralyzed are prone to diaper rashes as well.
Most babies will develop at least one diaper rash in their first three years of life. Rashes are widespread between the ages of 6-12 months old because babies spend time sitting upwards and eating solid foods. Food changes the acidity in bowel movements, and reactions to foods can also trigger diaper rashes.
What Signs and Symptoms of Baby Diaper Rash?
Baby diaper rash come on quickly! During one diaper change, your baby’s bottom seems normal, and at the next diaper change, there is a rash. All rashes can present themselves differently, but there are some common symptoms of a diaper rash. Any mom will tell you that what a diaper rash looks like varies greatly.
A few signs and symptoms to watch for include:
The Different Types of Diaper Rashes
While most of these are all classified as a diaper rash, they are technically a different type of rash because they have different causes. Let’s take a look at the types of rashes and their reasons.
Candida is a fungal microorganism that loves to live in warm, moist places, such as the mouth or diaper region. It’s no wonder that yeast diaper rashes are common since the diaper region is a perfect breeding ground.
Yeast diaper rashes appear as a bright, beefy red appearance. Sometimes, they have spots all over the rash as well, and it’s typically raised and bumpy.
Antibiotics are the leading cause of yeast infections. If your baby or you (if you’re a breastfeeding mother) takes antibiotics, then you have an increased risk of a yeast diaper rash. Antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in your gut along with the bad ones!
2. Reaction from The Diapert
While all disposable diapers are similar, they aren’t all the same. They use different chemical formulas to create the absorbency. Sometimes, your baby can react to these chemicals.
These types of rashes can be hard to identify. It might just be an overall red rash, or it might look like a chemical burn on your baby’s bottom.
3. Not Frequent Changing
Life gets busy, and it’s easy to forget that your baby needs to be changed. That’s especially true when your baby is mobile and active playing. You might not even realize that he pooped if he’s across the room playing blocks happily for 30 minutes.
Sitting in a dirty diaper can be a diaper rash cause. It might just cause some irritation, but this is the easiest type of diaper rash to change. All you have to do is change your baby’s diaper more often. Try to change your baby every 2-3 hours.
4. Teething Poops
Any parent can tell you that teething changes everything, including poops. Teething poops often have an overpowering smell, and they are more acidic. They can significantly irritate your baby’s bottom, and it seems to come out of nowhere!
5. Chafing Against The Diaper
Often called a friction rash, a baby diaper rash caused by chafing against the diaper is most common when a sensitive baby rubs against a wet diaper. Friction rashes cause a red, shiny rash on exposed areas. They’re often on the creases of their legs where the edges of the diaper touch.
6. Bacterial Infection
The last thing that you want is a bacterial infection on your baby’s bottom, but it’s a possibility. It starts with a rash that leads to an open sore. Then, the bacteria present in the diaper can enter the sore and lead to a bacterial infection.
It sounds horrible, and it can be, so parents need to be cautious with open sores. If you think the rash is infected, contact your doctor immediately. Your baby needs an antibiotic.
7. Reaction from Foods
Once you start to introduce solid foods, your baby might end up with a diaper rash or two from reactions. Not all foods sit well with all babies, and it can lead to reactions. If your baby is allergic to a food, it can also cause a diaper rash!
How to Identify Which Diaper Rash Your Baby Has?
Now that you know the causes of diaper rashes, you have to determine which of the diaper rashes your baby has. The best way to identify a rash is by merely looking at it. Most rashes have a slightly different look, and by close observation, you can define each type.
1. Redness and Swelling
If your baby has a rash that is red with a bit of swelling of the skin over his bottom and around his legs, he probably has irritant dermatitis. That means something irritated your baby. It might have been a lack of frequent changing, friction, or a reaction to a new diaper.
2. Redness with Pimples or Large Bumps
Does your baby have a rash with redness and swelling around the creases of his legs, bottom, testicles, or vulva? If it doesn’t follow the classic diaper lines, it might be a yeast rash. Candida often develops pimples, blisters, ulcers, large bumpers, or sores. Yeast rashes develop satellite lesions when there are small, round spots of rash around the larger, primary rash.
3. Bright Redness with Skin Worn Away
It might be hard to tell, but if the rash is red and has areas where the skin is worn away, your baby might have allergic dermatitis. It might be an allergy to chemicals in the diaper, wipes, soaps, or anything else. Allergic dermatitis develops anywhere the allergen touches the skin.
4. Pus-Filled Blisters or a Well-Defined Rash Around Anus
Finding pus-filled blisters on your baby’s diaper region is scary, and it might be an indicator of a staph infection. These small or large pus-filled blisters rupture easily and form a honey-colored crust or scab.
If your baby has a bright red rash around his penis that might extend into the perineum, your baby might have a strep infection. Parents might notice small cuts or abrasions in the anus that cause small amounts of blood.
How to Treat Your Baby’s Diaper Rash?
When your baby has a diaper rash, all you can think about is making it go away. Thankfully, most babies aren’t bothered by a diaper rash until it’s touched. Diaper changing can be rough, but playtime and naps aren’t usually affected by rashes.
Treating a diaper rash does vary based on the type of rash your child has. For example, infections need treatment from the doctor, such an antibiotic. There are a few treatments that help all kinds of diaper rashes.
1. Air Time
What baby doesn’t love some naked time without a diaper? A toddler is quick to run away without a diaper if you let them. Naked time is the best time.
Air time works wonders for diaper rashes. The warm, moist region of a diaper can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Also, exposing any wound to air helps to speed up the healing process. So, give your baby’s bottom time to breathe.
2. Keeping Diaper Region Clean
Next, make sure you change your baby’s diaper often. I plan to change my baby’s diaper every two hours, but sometimes it goes to three hours. Either way, the longer that your baby sits in a diaper, the more irritated his skin can become. Plus, the moist region can encourage the growth of Candida.
3. Applying Ointment or Creams
Creams and ointments can be helpful for diaper rashes. Everyone will tell you that they love a specific cream. Zinc oxide-based creams can do wonders for rashes that are irritation based because they create a thick barrier.
If you suspect that your baby has a yeast rash, you might try a cream such as Lotrimin that is meant for jock itch. It has similar properties that can help kick yeast to the curb.
4. Frequent Bathing
Bathing can help get rid of diaper rashes as well. If your baby has dry skin, this tip might be counterproductive because it will make dry skin worse. However, if you’re dealing with a stubborn rash, sitting in a warm bath feels great. Sprinkle in some baking soda to help calm his skin.
Plus, frequent bathing keeps the diaper region clean and free of bacteria. Everyone knows that’s helpful!
Home Remedies for Diaper Rashes that Work
If you’re looking for other ways to treat a baby diaper rash, try some home remedies. Many parents swear by home remedies, and a lot of them work even better than creams you can get at the store!
1. Calendula Cream
Calendula is known for its skin healing properties, and you can use it to soothe your baby’s diaper rashes. Look for a cream that is made with calendula, or you can make a homemade calendula cream to heal irritation and sores. Calendula is naturally antibacterial.
2. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay is known for its healing and detoxifying properties. It can be used for a multitude of problems, like soothing tummy aches and diaper rashes. Parents can use hydrated bentonite clay to improve the rashes drastically.
3. Human Breast Milk
Breast milk does more for you than nourish and feeds your baby throughout his first two years of life. You can use a bit of breast milk on a diaper rash so long as it’s not a yeast rash. Breast milk on a yeast rash isn’t a good idea because it’s feeding sugar to the fungus.
4. Witch Hazel
Many moms claim that using a few drops of witch hazel can heal diaper rashes. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and you can dilute it with equal parts of water. Then, gently brush it on your baby’s skin using a cotton ball.
5. Baking Soda Baths
Try adding a bit of baking soda to your bath water can help soothe an irritated diaper rash. Baking soda is antibacterial, antifungal, and neutralizes the acid in teething baby poop and urine.
How to Treat a Yeast Diaper Rash?
A yeast diaper rash tends to be the most stubborn rash. They don’t like to go away without a fight. In my experience, the best treatment for a yeast diaper rash is a prescription antifungal cream, such as Nystatin. A few other tips can help as well.
Most of the time, a yeast diaper rash is caused by the use of antibiotics. It makes sense that, to combat this problem, you introduce a probiotic to your baby. Babies from a young age should take a probiotic to help keep their gut healthy.
2. Antifungal Creams
Candida is a fungus, so antifungal creams are used to beat it back. Your doctor can prescribe you antifungal creams, such as Nystatin, that often work quickly against yeast infections. If you don’t want to head to the doctor, try creams at the store that are designed for jock itch, such as Lotrimin. They don’t always work, but you can give it a try!
3. Air Time
Candida lives in warm, moist regions, just like diapers. If you want to kill off the bacteria, then giving your baby’s bottom plenty of air time is a significant step. Give your baby as much air time as possible when your child has a yeast diaper rash.
How to Prevent Baby Diaper Rash?
The easiest thing to do is work to prevent a diaper rash from starting at all. You want to strive to keep your baby’s skin as dry and clean as possible and change his diaper often. Doing those two things help to prevent a majority of diaper rashes.
Here are some tips for preventing diaper rashes:
How Long Does a Severe Diaper Rash Last?
An average baby diaper rash lasts from 1-3 days, depending on the severity and cause of the rash. If your baby has a severe diaper rash, you should expect the rash to last for up to a week. If you see minor improvements as you’re treating the diaper rash, you can avoid going to the doctors. After a week, if there are no improvements, it’s time to head to the doctor.
When Should You Visit the Doctor for a Diaper Rash?
Most diaper rashes can easily be treated at home, but some are more stubborn than others. In some circumstances, you might have to call your doctor. Here are some signs that it’s time to give your doctor a call.
Every parent will face baby diaper rash or two throughout parenthood. The first step is to determine the cause of your baby’s diaper rash. Once you know the problem, you can work to treat the diaper rash with the right treatment plan. Most diaper rashes improve within just a few days. So, while it might be frustrating, diaper rashes rarely stick around for long.