What to Do If Your Baby Gets a Rash: The Different Types of Diaper Rash

  • By: Ashley
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Is your baby’s bottom more than a little irritated these days? If she is between the ages of 4 and 15 months, she is likely to have a diaper rash. Half of all babies in the age group get a diaper rash every couple of months, so relax, it’s totally normal.

A diaper rash is any rash that affects the region of skin covered by a diaper. However, knowing exactly what type of diaper rash your baby has is vital to giving it the correct treatment.

These rashes are often caused by wetness and discomfort from the diaper itself. Some diaper rashes, on the other hand, may suggest an underlying medical issue.

Irritated Diaper Rash

Under a diaper, your baby’s skin goes through a lot. You’re preoccupied with changing all of the pee and feces, but your baby’s bottom has been practically festering in it all day. Not only that, but when you include friction and chafing as your baby moves, it’s easy to see how things might quickly deteriorate. Oh, dear!

The most frequent sort of rash seen is one produced by irritants such as pee and feces. They may seem red and gleaming. The region may feel hot to touch.

This rash can be identified because it’s not usually in the creases or skin folds, more where the diaper is in direct contact with the skin.

Certain Foods May Aggravate This Rash

What you feed your baby can aggravate diaper rash. If your child has this type of rash, try to identify if a food is a cause. Often it’s cow milk protein that is the problem, so switch to soy-based or hydrolyzed formulas if breastfeeding.

Once your baby goes onto solid foods, these rashes may become worse. Some foods that are common allergens, such as strawberries, wheat, eggs and chocolate can aggravate diaper rash. If you think a certain food is a problem, take your baby off that food for two weeks to see if the rash clears up. This is the elimination diet and can be useful for narrowing down the triggers.

Cloth Diapers Or Disposable Diapers Can Also Cause Irritant Skin Rash

The types of diaper used may cause diaper rash or diaper dermatitis.

Your baby can also have an allergy to disposable diapers which is causing this rash, try changing diaper brands to a more natural brand that is more eco and less toxic

Alternatively, if you are using cloth diapers, the detergent used may cause diaper dermatitis. If you’re using cloth, make sure you are washing them in detergent that is free of scents and dyes and that you are fully rinsing your detergent out. Read our guide to washing cloth diapers. To prevent diaper rash going forward get your diapering wash routine sorted!

Baby Wipes Can Cause This

Some baby wipes can also lead to skin irritation or inflamed skin because of their scents and parfum added. If you suspect this is the case, either change baby wipes to a more natural option or use cloth wipes with a chamomile solution and warm water at diaper change time.

Other baby toiletries like baby lotions and bubble baths are also known skin irritants on sensitive skin so do a toxic audit and remove these from your child’s skin!

Diaper Rash Treatment for Irritated Skin

Most rashes produced by irritation may be treated with over-the-counter lotions and ointments or even some home-based natural remedies for diaper rash. Look for zinc oxide creams (cloth diaper safe cream) or thick petroleum-based ointments to protect the skin as it recovers.

If the rash is especially severe, a prescription cream may be required to help it heal.

Preventing Diaper Rash

Keeping your baby’s skin healthy and clean is the key to preventing this sort of rash.

Throughout the day, change your child every 2 to 3 hours, or more frequently if your baby has diarrhea. Also, change your babies diapers at night time (yes even at 4 am!) especially if they have done a dirty diaper! The acidic poop will really aggravate the rash so it’s vital to keep your baby clean and dry at all times!

Apply a barrier cream before the rash appears. Diaper rash cream protects the skin against dampness and irritants. Make this part of your diaper changing routine!

Make sure the diaper is loose-fitting, a tight diaper will aggravate the matter, especially at night time.

Make sure your baby has lots of diaper-free time.

Keep an eye on what the baby is consuming, a food diary is your new best friend. What creates a rash in one infant may not produce a rash in another. Also, avoid juices, which are acidic and may induce diarrhea.

Bacterial Diaper Rash

When baby’s diaper rash is the result of a bacterial infection it will either be down to group A Streptococcus (a strep rash) or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (a staph rash).

The rash from strep can be bright red and concentrated around the anus, but it can also extend to the genitals. You could even see blood in your baby’s stool.

Staph infections can cause pus-filled sores with a red base. These blisters may break, releasing a yellow-brown fluid and leaving scales behind.

A bacterial infection will lead to a very severe diaper rash very quickly. Bacterial infections can be dangerous if not treated immediately so if you suspect your babies rash is a bacterial rash, contact your doctor straight away. Other concerning signs include a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, bleeding, weeping or pustules, and lethargy.

Treatment for Bacterial Rashes

If your baby is diagnosed with a bacterial rash, they will be prescribed an topical or oral antibiotics to apply to the rash. You will also need to continue using a barrier cream to protect the skin.

Good hygiene is essential when treating a bacterial diaper rash as you don’t want any of the bacteria spreading elsewhere on your child’s body. Make sure you are washing your hands thoroughly and keep all of baby’s bedding clean.

Prevention of Bacterial Rashes

Wash the area carefully and pat dry to avoid accidently scratching or cutting your baby’s sensitive skin. Other forms of diaper rashes should be treated as well, as they have the potential to become bacterial the longer the skin is harmed.

Infections may also be more common if there is chronic irritation in and around the diaper region, so make sure a wet or dirty diaper is changed quickly..

Yeast Diaper Rash

Candida rashes, often known as yeast rashes, have a deep red color. They appear as patches or plaques inside the diaper region, in the thighs’ folds and creases, and even outside the diaper area. There might be red dots slightly outside the main red region.

Baby girls may also experience itching and a white or yellow discharge from the vagina. Scaling or redness on the penis of a baby boy is possible.

If you suspect yeast, inspect your baby’s mouth as well. They might have thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth. When a baby is receiving antibiotics for an infection, he or she may get this form of rash. Breastfeeding mothers who use drugs may also pass on yeast infections to their children.

Treatment for Baby’s Diaper Rash from Yeast

Some people have found success using over-the-counter antifungal treatments or even home remedies like apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has been proven in lab tests to kill the candida spores so its not just an old wives tale!

Soaking the baby in an apple cider vinegar bath will help kill the spores. Alternatively, you can make a diaper cream from ACV and coconut oil and put it in the diaper area. Like all rash treatments, it is important that frequent diaper changes happen. Wet or dirty diapers will aggravate any type of skin infection or irritant diaper rash.

However, if this does not work you should see your paediatrician, who will most likely prescribe an antifungal ointment or cream to treat yeast infections.

Oral antifungal medications are occasionally required, although topical creams or ointments typically suffice.

You cannot use some traditional home remedies on yeast diaper rashes like corn flour or browned flour, as this has been shown to make the rash worse.

Preventing Diaper Rash from Yeast

Yeast diaper rashes are quite prevalent. Because they aren’t usually linked to antibiotic usage, they’re difficult to prevent, therefore it’s better to stick to proper diapering methods. If using cloth diapers remember to thoroughly wash the diapers and using a vinegar rinse on them may help.

Although there is no research on the benefit of probiotics in newborns, you could ask your doctor about giving your kid probiotics while they are on antibiotics. Probiotics may promote beneficial gut flora, which can help keep yeast at bay.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Rash

Cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a deep red rash with yellow scales that develops on newborns’ heads but can also progress to the diaper area. The specific etiology of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. It might be connected to malassezia, a yeast (fungus) found in the skin’s oil excretion but this has not yet been proven.

The Bottom Line

Babies are prone to all types of diaper rashes, so it’s important that parents take care in preventing and treating these. The most common type is bacterial because the skin is very sensitive at this age. Yeast infections can be caused by antibiotics or breastfeeding mothers who use drugs, but they’re often hard to prevent. Seborrheic dermatitis develops on newborns’ heads but may also progress into the diaper area, whereas cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) is a deep red rash with yellow scales that develop on newborns’ heads only.

Preventing diaper rash is as simple as keeping your child’s skin clean and dry. When changing your child, make sure to wipe from front to back to avoid transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina or penis. If your child develops a diaper rash, treat it with an over-the-counter ointment or cream and make sure to keep their skin dry and clean. See your doctor if the rash persists.

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Cloth Diapers