Most babies will get nappy rash at some stage, despite how they’re cared for. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, preventions, and treatments of baby nappy rashes here.
Nappy rash can be very
uncomfortable and irritable for a child, and stressful for any parent who is
trying to treat it. Know however that you aren’t alone in dealing with this; it’s
extremely common and can affect up to a third of toddlers and newborns. This
means there are lots of products and advice blogs to turn to for help.
Most babies will get nappy rash at some stage, despite how well they’re cared
for. This is usually due to sensitive skin, which all babies have. Rashes can
also develop on other parts of their bodies, and like cradle cap, it is
of nappy rash
Nappy rash is basically the
irritation of a nappy on the baby’s skin but can also be made worse by a
variety of other factors.
Mostly it happens becauseconstant
moisture, body heat and the rubbing of the nappy combine which
leads to skin irritation. It can be worse in skin folds and creases.
The by-products in urine and faeces cause irritation if left in contact with
a baby’s gentle tushy for too long. It is
made worse in the warmer months, or even if your baby is kept too warm by
central heating in the cooler months.
Good quality nappies draw the
moisture from urine away from the baby’s bottom and into the nappy weave, which
can reduce the incidence of nappy rash happening. Changing your baby’s nappy
often and using better quality nappies can help, but sometimes nappy rash just
While nappy rash is very
uncomfortable for your baby, it isn’t dangerous. You just need to reduce his
contact with whatever might be causing the irritating and make sure the area
doesn’t become infected.
Others contributing factors (causes) include:
from bacteria and yeasts like candida and thrush
Sometimes nappy rash has a
fungal cause rather than just moisture and warmth causing irritation.
Candida is a naturally
occurring yeast which people have in their mouths and around genital areas and doesn’t always cause problems. When
candida develops into a fungal infection it
is called thrush, which in babies can cause a rash or develop from an already
present basic nappy rash. Normal urine doesn’t generally contain bad chemicals but add
candida, bacteria or germs and this could bring ammonia out in the wee, which
hurts quite a bit more.
If your baby has had one or
more courses of antibiotics to treat another illness, then he may as a side
effect develop thrush.
Cloth nappies have come a long way in terms of quality and convenience,
and are wonderful for the environment as an alternative to disposables. They
don’t draw moisture away from your baby’s bottom as well as the disposable ones, however.
Babies in cloth nappies may be more inclined towards suffering from
nappy rash. You need to be more careful to change cloth nappies often to make
sure that little bottom is as constantly dry as possible. You might find
disposables are better for overnight for this reason.
or chemical exposure (baby wipes, scented soaps or body lotions)
Babies can be sensitive to many different chemicals, soaps,and detergents. Your baby might come out in a
rash because of the brand of wipes you are using, soap or baby wash in the
bath, or the detergent you wash his clothes in.
You made need to try different brands of products or make your own from
natural ingredients until you see an improvement.
As well as a possible allergic reaction to chemicals or detergents,
your baby might develop a nappy rash as a
result of an allergic reaction to food, or even just things in the environment.
Some small children react to dust, grass, or pet hair in the environment.
Common food intolerances can include lactose or dairy, gluten, peanuts,
strawberries, eggs,and tomatoes. Your baby’s
nappy rash may also become worse just as a result of starting solid foods.
You’ll definitely know
straight away if your baby has a nappy
rash, but these are a few symptoms to look out for. However, not all rashes are
nappy rash and can be eczema or an allergy from chemical exposure or food.
Symptoms to watch out for:
1. Red and
The nearby skin looks red and raw, or can have a spotty appearance at the
area of the rash. There may be a defined line or edge to the rash which usually
means it is a fungal infection.
Small ulcers may appear around
the irritated area.
It is sore or itchy when the
irritated area is wiped after changing a nappy. Your baby will most probably
show signs of discomfort or irritability and may be in pain when you touch his
bottom to clean it.
on other parts of the body
Nappy rash can also spread to
nearby parts of the body, including the stomach. Keep an eye out for redness
around this area.
to treat nappy rash?
Luckily, you can treat your
baby’s nappy rash at home if it hasn’t developed into an infection. But with
nappy rash, prevention is best, so do everything you can to keep that little
botty dry and fresh.
Steps to treat basic nappy
the nappy often
Change your baby’s nappy often
to help keep the area dry and to give your baby’s skin some time to heal over
the length of a week. A nappy should be checked every hour just in case, which
should be changed right away if it’s wet or soiled.
2. Let the
Fresh air is your baby
bottom’s best friend.
Allowing your baby’s skin to
heal is important, and open air is probably the best way for this to happen.
Let your baby lie down on an open or loosened nappy or towel instead, but make
sure you’re placing your baby onto an extremely clean surface.
3. Keep the
Clean your baby’s skin with
lukewarm water and a mild soap (organic and natural is best), and rinse it off
by gently patting your baby dry with a clean towel.
A protective or barrier cream
can also be used after every nappy change, like zinc, Vaseline or natural Paw
Paw ointment, which you can purchase from a local supermarket or chemist. Zinc cream is a good option to
add to the nappy rash, or white soft paraffin works well also. You want to look
for a cream that doesn’t wipe off easy.
Protective creams repel the
moisture from your baby’s skin and should be used all the time to prevent the
condition from developing in the first place.
Once the rash has developed, you
can get a prescription from your doctor for a medicated cream that can help to
treat it, usually a cortisone cream containing steroids. Your doctor might also
prescribe an anti-fungal treatment if your baby’s nappy rash has developed into
an infection like thrush. Canesten is a
popular anti-fungal cream used for infections if nappy rash worsens.
However, these should be used
in extreme circumstances and by following the instructions given by your doctor
and on the packet.
milk to treat nappy rash
Did you know that breast milk
is full of healing properties and good bacteria? In addition to the many alternative uses for breastmilk, it can also be
used to help treat nappy rash by expressing the breastmilk and dabbing it on the affected area,
which should actually speed up the healing process. You want to allow the area
to dry once you’ve applied it.
Breast milk as a treatment
option has received positive reviews from
mothers, who claim they can use it for many other ailments. You can combine
grape-seed oil with breast milk, some beeswax and a few drops of vitamin E oil
to create your own natural breast milk nappy rash ointment, otherwise, you can use plain breast milk.
7. Natural products you can use
You can make your own nappy rash home remedy by combining 10% olive oil with zinc paste. Other natural treatments include:
Apple cider vinegar in the bath
Live cultures like yoghurt dabbed on the area
Coconut oil in the bath or made into a paste with organic cornflour
Olive oil and liquid aloe vera used as a spray on the affected area
Cold tea and honey
and other goodies
aren’t really recommended when
cleaning your baby because they contain alcohol or other chemicals and
irritants, which will make the rash worse. However, you can find organic wipes
that are gentle on sensitive skin, but they’re probably best for nappy rash
aftercare. Be sure to look at the ingredients before using them on your baby at
use talcum-based powders for
nappy rash as they contain harsh materials. Don’t use any antiseptic on a nappy rash.
Healing time and how to prevent nappy rash
A nappy rash should heal in
around three to four days with home treatment, but if it doesn’t clear up after
five days or gets worse over time, it’s best to speak to your GP for advice.
The best way to prevent nappy rash from happening again is to prevent
extreme moisture. A dry bottom is achieved by as much nappy–free time as
possible, as being in a nappy constantly can actually cause the problem to
begin with. If you’re putting on a new nappy, always make sure that the skin is
clean and dry, and then apply a thin layer of protective cream on your child’s
bottom after every change.
tell if it is something more serious
Not all rashes are nappy rash,
so be sure to get medical attention if it persists, as it can also be
eczema or a skin infection that will not respond to the usual nappy rash
treatment. If the condition has become infected, then your baby might need a
course of antibiotics as well as the usual nappy rash treatments.
Overall, nappy rashes aren’t
extremely dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable for your baby due to the raw
and red skin which becomes irritated. It can get worse over time or without
proper treatment and can turn into a fungal infection like thrush, which will
need proper medical attention, usually with the use of anti-fungal creams.
Although your baby’s skin
might appear red, sore or spotted with small pimples, don’t assume that it’s
always nappy rash, as other common skin problems can be caused by an allergy or
eczema, which can also appear on any part of the body.
If the wounds on your baby’s bottom are cracked and bleeding, oozing,
or smell bad, or don’t clear up after a few weeks, you should get extra advice.
Also get more help if your baby seems unwell in general, including if they are
off their feeds, losing weight, have dry nappies or a fever.
Seek medical attention from
your GP or a dermatologist for further information and if you’re unsure what
the rash is.
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