Diaper Rash 101: Causes, Remedies, and More
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), over half of all babies experience diaper rash at some point.
While this issue is often not something worth losing sleep over, it’s important to learn the basics about diaper rash to start understanding how to prevent it.
Here’s a quick guide to diaper rash, including what it is, what causes it, the best remedies to treat it, and when it’s best to consult your pediatrician.
WHAT IS DIAPER RASH?
Diaper rash is an inflammatory skin condition marked by soreness, redness, scales, and/or splotches.
True to its name, it occurs in the areas covered by your baby’s diaper.
CAUSES OF DIAPER RASH
A number of things can lead to diaper rash, ranging from external factors to what your baby eats.
First and foremost, diaper rash typically occurs in warm, moist environments.
That said, overlapping and additional causes of diaper rash include:
- irritation from urine and fecal matter
- bacterial and fungal/yeast infections
- diapers that are too tight
- certain foods (including citrus fruits and dairy)
- allergic reactions and sensitivities to topical products and harsh chemicals
HOME REMEDIES FOR DIAPER RASH
When it comes to treating and preventing diaper rash at home, there are many tips and best practices to follow.
Here are some of the first ones you should adopt to keep your baby’s diaper area calm and free from irritation.
- Change diapers often and well
Of course, this tip for treating diaper rash is pretty straightforward.
Try your best to detect when your baby soils their diaper to reduce the time they sit in it. If your nose or other mommy/daddy/caretaker senses don’t kick in as quickly as you’d hope, aim to check in for diaper changes about every two hours.
Once you clean the diaper area completely, allow time for air drying to minimize excess moisture. Then apply the diaper so it’s snug enough to contain leaks; just make sure it’s not too tight.
- Avoid using harsh baby wipes
As we saw above, harsh chemicals in baby care products can not only cause diaper rash, but may make the problem worse. Such chemicals include alcohol and certain synthetic compounds contained in baby wipes and other topical treatments.
Instead of opting for these, consider washing your baby’s diaper area with water and a soft cloth to keep them clean and free from irritation until bathtime. Additionally, pat (don’t rub) off excess moisture.
- Apply natural, non-toxic diaper cream
Sometimes your baby will need some extra TLC in the diaper department — and that’s when a calming diaper rash relief cream comes in handy.
Again, your baby’s sensitive skin will prefer natural, non-toxic baby care products. It should also take well to an ultra-rich cream that acts as a protective barrier against rashes and soreness.
Call us biased, but Mini Bloom’s Toot Toot Balm is a clean, safe, and effective diaper rash cream your home remedy toolkit could use. Rich in zinc oxide — a standard ingredient for proven diaper rash relief — as well as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial oils, this multi-benefit salve can help restore your baby’s skin health and comfort.
WHEN TO CONSULT A DOCTOR
Most mild cases of diaper rash should last no longer than a few days.
However, you should consult your pediatrician if:
- the rash persists for more than a few days or gets worse
- skin irritation is accompanied by swelling, pus/drainage, or a fever
- your baby is extra fussy or noticeably in distress
THE *BOTTOM* LINE
At the end of the day, diaper rash is common and largely shouldn’t signal issues that go beyond basic home remedies for relief. Still, be sure to keep track of any irritation, including how long it persists and if it develops — even after following the aforementioned tips and treatments.
By sticking to this simple guide to diaper rash, your baby’s bottom should be as smooth as, well, a baby’s bottom in no time.
Michele Ross is a freelance writer and copy editor based in Los Angeles. Clean skincare and hiking make her heart happy.