Babies are very delicate from the top of their head to the tip of their little toes. Unfortunately, all babies go through their infancy suffering from pesky problems like diaper rash. Some parents tend to overlook this until it happens to their little ones. Admittedly though, no matter how sterile a baby’s environment is, diaper rash can still happen. Is there a way to heal diaper rash, or prevent it from happening in the first place?
Diaper rash is a common skin irritation that affects seven to thirty-five percent of infants according to UptoDate. This is often caused by wetness and friction in the diaper area that gets even worse when yeast begins to thrive. The baby’s skin will develop red blisters that are painful to touch, more so during washing. Keeping your baby’s butt clean and dry may lessen the bouts of diaper rash. There are over-the-counter creams available to treat it. But if you want a natural way of treating diaper rash, there are also home treatments you can try.
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Causes of Diaper Rash
Diaper rash can happen to anyone and adults can vouch how painful this is to endure. Imagine how bad this is for your baby’s sensitive skin. Your little one will become fussy and irritable and you can’t blame him. The least you can do is keep him pacified while willing for your creams to take effect.
But did you know that a wet diaper area alone is not the culprit of these nasty blisters? Here are some other possible causes according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This is the most common cause of diaper rash, also known as irritant dermatitis. Soiled diapers that stay unchanged for a time can irritate your baby’s skin. Your baby is at high risk when he is experiencing diarrhea and frequent bowel movements at the moment.
Irritant dermatitis occurs on your baby’s genitals, buttocks, lower abdomen, or thighs. The skin folds are not always affected by this.
Babies are born with bacteria and yeast (Candida albicans) that he may have acquired in his mom’s tummy. These fungi can grow and multiply since the baby’s immune system is not yet developed to combat it. Often, yeasts overgrowth can cause thrush and diaper rash.
Yeast infections happen when irritant dermatitis is not promptly treated.
A baby’s skin is very sensitive so you need to exercise precaution when using any products for the first time. Make sure that your baby products are hypoallergenic if possible. This reaction can either be from the diaper, laundry detergent, bleach, or baby wipes. When your baby has an allergy, he is susceptible to diaper rash and other skin problems.
Introduction to New Foods
According to Mayo Clinic, babies can develop diaper rash as a reaction to food that they eat. Once they start solid foods, the possibility of contracting a diaper rash is high. That’s because of the frequency of their stool in response to these new food changes. Some infants may suffer from diarrhea resulting in frequent wetness of their bottom. Breastfed babies may also exhibit an allergic reaction to food that the mother has eaten.
Most parents wonder if diaper rash is just a side effect of teething. Even experts are unsure of their relationship. But the common logic to this is that solid food is introduced around the time the baby starts teething. So he may contract a diaper rash if he is experiencing an upset tummy and diarrhea because of his diet change. He will also produce extra saliva that can flush the yeast from his tummy and into his nappy.
There is also a type of diaper rash called the acidic diaper rash. It occurs when your baby’s stool has a high pH level that is mostly due to dietary inputs. Removing acidic foods in his or his breastfeeding mother’s diet list can treat an acidic diaper rash.
If your baby is taking antibiotics, diaper rash is a common side effect. Antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in his tummy that prevents yeast from thriving. And, diarrhea is also common with antibiotic use. A breastfeeding mom taking it can also give the same effect to her baby.
Other Skin Conditions
Babies can develop diaper rash due to some skin conditions not related to diapers. This includes seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, scabies, or impetigo. These skin conditions show diaper rash-like symptoms but are not limited to the diaper area and skin folds.
Home Remedies for Diaper Rash
A diaper rash can go away on its own after a couple of days. It does not even need a doctor’s visit unless it persists and makes your child very uncomfortable. If your baby’s diaper rash gets worse, expect treatment like zinc oxide, antifungal ointment, or mild hydrocortisone creams.
But before using any topical creams, ask your doctor’s recommendation first. Some products contain potent steroids that are dangerous to infants. Also, avoid OTC creams and check with your doctor if your baby has a broken skin from the rash.
Here are our ABCDE homeopathic treatments to help you remember it better:
Exposing your baby’s butt to air prevents the growth of yeast. Let your child go diaper-free during the day to reduce his contact with urine and stool. You can do this practice three times a day for 10 minutes each and immediately after every pooping.
Giving your baby a daily bath helps cleanse it and prevent the rashes from spreading. It can also keep your baby cool and reduce fussiness. Use lukewarm water and mild, fragrance-free soap for your baby’s bath. Pat your baby’s bottom dry after a bath or use a hairdryer on a low setting to dry it out.
During an episode of diaper rash, it will be better to use disposable diapers than the cloth ones. Cloth diapers are less absorbent and if you miss changing it, it can only aggravate the situation. But the bottom line is: change nappies promptly and frequently.
Your baby’s diaper should not be too tight to still allow airflow and prevent moisture from building up. It should not be too loose either since friction can contribute to the worsening of the diaper rash. Changing diapers especially to toddlers can be a struggle, but it is a must so you should try.
Be careful in cleaning your baby’s diaper rash because it’s extremely painful. Clean it with a soft cloth or fragrance-free baby wipes. You can then use a squirt bottle or spray for rinsing. And remember to always wash your hands before and after every diaper change.
D-Develop a Barrier
Pastes like petroleum jelly, or zinc oxide provide a barrier between your baby’s skin and his diaper. It can reduce wetness while preventing the diaper from sticking to his skin. Scent-free and additive-free products are advisable barrier pastes for the diaper.
E-Explore Natural Remedies
These alternative medicines may work on your baby’s nappy rash. But remember to exercise caution when using any of these or ask your doctor beforehand. Remember that babies have delicate skin and may pose sensitivity even to natural products.
- Breast milk. According to Parents, one of the surprising benefits of breast milk is in treating eczema and diaper rash. Rub a layer over the rash as you would with creams and allow it to air dry.
- Calendula. Calendula is a marigold extract that is an active ingredient in most skin topical and nappy rash creams.
- Coconut Oil. The antifungal property of coconut oil can clear away yeast infection. It can also make an effective diaper barrier.
- Olive Oil. Olive oil is also an antimicrobial that can ward off irritant dermatitis. You may also use this on a cotton ball to remove dried up poop from your baby’s butt.
- Baking Soda. Add baking soda to your baby’s bath to reduce irritation and inflammation of the rash.
When to See the Doctor for Diaper Rash
If the diaper rash gets worse or the prescription medication does not clear it up, you should call your doctor. Topical treatments are safe, but only for some time. So make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully before using any products.
Bring your child for an examination if:
- The rashes get severe
- Your baby shows significant discomfort
- The rash bleeds
- Blisters developed and it oozes pus
- Crusty sores develop
- Your baby runs a fever along with the rash
Nappy rash is a common irritant among infants mostly caused by long exposure to soiled diapers. It does not call for medical attention unless other symptoms occur. But this can get really disconcerting for babies so you need to act on it immediately. The good thing is you can easily treat diaper rash at home with simple remedies. There are also topical ointments available that your doctor can prescribe to speed up its healing.
You can prevent diaper rash by maintaining the cleanliness of your baby’s diaper area. Keep his butt dry all the time to lower the risk of yeast infection. Moreover, there are some homeopathic remedies that you can readily use to help treat the diaper rash of your baby.
Be mindful of the products that you are using to make sure it will not cause any irritations. And, always exercise maximum hygiene and care when taking care of your little one.
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.