What causes a diaper rash in babies? 8 quick ways to prevent it

Published on: 19 June 2022, 12:30 pm IST

While diaper rashes can be cured with simple remedies. However, it is is advisable to see a doctor, if it gets worse after two to three days. 

Gurpreet Kaur
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diaper rash
A diaper rash needs the right care. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Diaper rash is a common form of inflamed skin (dermatitis) that appears as bright red skin in the perenium and in peri-anal region of babies or even adults, who use diapers on a regular basis due to any medical condition. If ignored, they can evolve to larger regions of red and painful bumps, however, completely treatable with quick remedies.

There are several reasons behind a diaper rash in babies and usually peak between 9 and 12 months. “It is mainly linked to wet or infrequently changed nappies, tight fitting diapers, use of wet wipes to clean the dried up stool stuck to baby’s bottom, diarrhea, new foods, bacterial or fungal infections, and antibiotics,” Dr Sumit Chakravarty, Senior Consultant Paediatrician and NICU head, Asian Hospital, told Health Shots.

In the case of adults, diapers are used for senior citizens who are recovering from a serious illness and might have incontinence passage of urine or stools. They can even suffer from rashes due to constant usage or intake of antibiotics.

diaper rash
A diaper rash in babies can be due to various reasons. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to prevent diaper rash?

Mothers need to be aware and educated about a diaper rash, and the preventive measure to need to be taken from the first week only. According to Dr Chakravarty, a diaper rash can be prevented by following these methods:

  1. Frequently changing the diapers
  2. Not scrubbing the baby’s bottom after cleaning
  3. Using water or wet clothes to clean diaper area gently
  4. Gently pat drying the skin
  5. Avoiding diapers during daytime
  6. Wearing loose cotton clothes in summers
  7. Trying to change the diaper brand, if rashes don’t go away
  8. Choosing appropriate sized diapers

    Quick fix for a diaper rash

    If severe rashes are visible and don’t go away easily, ask a paediatrician or doctor to recommend ointments with high zinc content, and sometimes mild steroid and anti-fungal ointments are prescribed. Lastly, correct the issue of loose stools in babies, if that is the cause of the rash, as it can lead to development of other rash symptoms.

What really causes a diaper rash in babies?

Wearing a dirty diaper

Often, parents are confused if using cloth nappies is better than disposable diapers since the former can be washed again and used. Disposable diapers, on the other hand, are for a one-time use.

But, no matter what diaper the mother uses for the child, If the diaper is changed on a regular basis, it will help the baby to stay clean, dry, and cool. If not changed frequently, it can lead to damp skin, providing the perfect condition for a diaper rash to occur. So, mommies, make sure the diaper is changed every two to three hours.

Also, read: From diaper rash to summer skin woes, follow these tips for baby skincare

Diaper friction

If the baby’s skin rubs against the diaper, it can lead to skin irritation. And if it continues for a long duration, it can certainly cause a rash, which is accompanied by pain, stinging or a burning sensation. This will certainly make your baby uncomfortable and cranky too.

Sensitive skin

A diaper rash is more common in babies with sensitive skin. Hence, parents of such babies need to take extra precautions to prevent it.

Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection

If a baby is suffering from an infection of any kind, it can quickly spread to the surrounding area as well. Since the skin around the buttocks, thighs, and genitals is mostly damp, they are more prone to infections. If a diaper is worn along with it, it can lead to rashes that appear in the skin’s creases.

diaper rash
Prevention of a diaper rash in babies is better than cure. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dr Chakravarty, further suggests that it is important to meet a doctor or a paediatrician, if the rash:

  1. Is severe or unusual
  2. Gets worse despite home treatment
  3. Bleeds, itches or oozes
  4. Causes burning or pain with urination or a bowel movement
  5. Is accompanied by a feve

New moms, do not worry. Your baby’s diaper rash will be a thing of the past if you take immediate care.

Gurpreet Kaur Gurpreet Kaur

A lifestyle journalist with a perennial hunger for all nice things in life - from fashion to food and different cultures. When she is not writing in her favourite coffee spot, she spends her time socializing with people or exploring different cities.