Diaper rash appears on the skin of babies near the genital area or the buttocks underneath the diaper. It is common in children and infants under the age of two; however, diaper rash can also occur in adults who wear diapers. Diaper rash usually occurs at least once during the first three years of life. It is especially common in the months after solid foods are introduced because food changes the acidity of bowel movements and may cause skin irritation in babies who spend most of their time sitting. Follow these steps to treat diaper rash.
Know The Cause
The first step to treating diaper rash is to know what type of rash has occurred. A yeast rash is characterized by small, raised, bright red pimples that radiate outwards. Yeast rashes also tend to develop red patches in the crease and folds of the skin. A bacterial infection may be characterized by yellow or discolored bumps filled with pus or fluid. They tend to be crusted over on the area near the baby's bum. Rashes that form due to irritation from urine and fecal matter are usually confined to underneath the diaper area.
Treat With The Proper Remedy
Irritation rashes can be addressed by using a protective barrier cream such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide. Apply a liberal amount to the troubled area at every diaper change and especially after baths. Yeast infections will likely need to be cleared up with a prescription anti-yeast cream from a pediatrician. Over-the-counter creams are also available to treat yeast infections, but they may not be as powerful as a prescription. Bacterial infections require an antibiotic, which needs to be prescribed by a pediatrician.
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications are a bit too rough for baby’s sensitive skin. Magnesium oil is known for its wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Using it on a baby’s bum might be a good way to naturally heal the rash without added irritation. A 2016 study examined sixty-four children less than two years old with diaper rash who were treated with a combination of magnesium cream and calendula cream. Results showed the magnesium cream was very effective at treating diaper rash.
Bentonite clay is an ingredient found in beauty products, but it has also been shown to be an effective treatment for diaper rash. Bentonite clay is a type of volcanic ash rock that is highly absorbent and draws out toxins, impurities, and heavy metals from skin tissue. A 2014 study published in Nursery and Midwifery Studies found that 93.3 percent of diaper rashes were cured within the first six hours when treated with a shampoo made of bentonite clay.
Homemade Diaper Cream
If baby’s skin is extra sensitive, try making homemade diaper cream with naturally soothing ingredients. Combine equal parts of shea butter, which has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties to treat infections, with an anti-inflammatory linoleic acid known as calendula, which helps prevent diaper rash in the first place. Other products to add include coconut oil and beeswax. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-bacterial properties to help get rid of an infection. Be sure not to get any in the baby’s genital area as this may cause further irritation.
Babies with diaper rash may need to spend some time without a diaper to let the infected area air dry a bit. After applying medication, put the baby down for a nap without a diaper on to air dry for a few hours. Be sure to have the baby sleep on a towel or another protective fabric for easy cleanup. Keep diapers loose during this time to allow air ventilation and always keep the baby extra clean and dry during this time.
Use Caution When Applying Powders
Many pediatricians do not recommend using baby powder as talc can injure a baby’s lungs if accidentally ingested. Some parents still choose to use powders as they help keep the baby’s bum dry, which can help prevent and heal rashes. Talk to a pediatrician before applying powder. If they give the green light, be sure to avoid using too much and keep it away from baby’s face as much as possible. A pediatrician may recommend a topical cream over powder to reduce irritation or redness.
Monitor The Rash
If keeping the infected area dry, medicated, and exposed to air does not start to reduce the rash, take the baby in to see a pediatrician. Seek immediate treatment if the child develops other symptoms such as fever in addition to the diaper rash as this could be a symptom of a more serious problem. While diaper rashes usually go away soon enough with treatment, they are painful for the baby and may cause extra tears and sleepless nights.