Diaper (Nappy) Rash - Causes & Treatment | Kids Clinic Singapore


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(Last updated: 17 Jul)

Diaper Rash (Nappy Rash)

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash or nappy rash is a common occurrence of skin inflammation which appears in the form of redness over the baby’s bottom. It is usually linked to infrequent changing of wet diapers, skin sensitivity and friction. Diaper rash is often resolved easily with simple measures such as more frequent changing of diapers, airing of the baby’s bottom and applying a barrier cream before wearing a diaper.

Diaper Rash
Diaper or nappy rash is caused by infrequent changing of wet diapers, skin sensitivity and friction

What Causes Diaper Rash?

Although infant diapers are fashioned to be highly absorbent, it can still leave moisture on your baby’s skin. Prolonged contact with urine or stools are the main cause of a diaper rash developing, as the moisture causes the bottom to become sensitive and irritated when the diaper rubs against your baby.

Leaving your baby’s wet or soiled diaper on for an extended period will increase the probability of diaper rash developing. However, babies with exceptionally sensitive skin may still develop diaper rash even with frequent change of diapers.

Other factors may also contribute to the development of diaper rash:
  • Diarrhoea
    Babies experiencing diarrhoea can be more prone to diaper rash as the moisture and faeces cause more irritation to the skin
  • Friction
    Diapers that are too tight can cause more friction which leads to rashes occurring
  • Product irritation
    Your baby’s skin may react to certain ingredients found in products such as baby wipes, a new diaper brand, baby lotion, powder, oil or even detergent
  • Skin infection
    The area of skin covered by a diaper is more prone to the breeding of microorganisms as it is often moist and warm. This makes the skin more vulnerable to the development or spread of diaper rash
  • Introduction of new diet
    When new food types such as solid foods are introduced to your baby’s diet, the frequency and contents in the stool may change, increasing the likelihood of diaper rash

How do I Care for a Baby with Diaper Rash?

Firstly, avoid using soaps and wipes that contain alcohol or fragrance. Wash your baby’s bottom with water after every change of diapers. Avoid products that you know are likely to cause or trigger the diaper rash.

If possible, air your baby’s bottom often as this allow for the area to stay dry and will subsequently speed up the healing process. Continue changing diapers regularly and apply a barrier cream on the bottom to create a layer of protection from the rash development.

When should I See a Paediatrician?

Visit a paediatrician when your baby’s diaper rash does not resolve after several days of home treatment, the rash area has spread or appears infected.

Symptoms of diaper rash infection may include:
  • Formation of blisters
  • Oozing or crusting of the rashes
  • Open sores
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