The most common cause of Nappy Rash in babies is irritation. Constant moisture from wee and poo and friction can cause damage to the skin.
In some cases, the skin can be further irritated by bacteria, yeasts (e.g. candida or thrush), detergents or nappy wipes.
Most of the time nappy rash can be easily treated and cleared within a few days.
How does a diaper rash look like:
The skin in the nappy area generally looks red and raw, and can be spotty in appearance.
It can be sore or itchy when the area is wiped.
Your baby may be unsettled or irritable.
Care at home
Prevention is important – aim to keep the skin clean and dry. Changing nappies frequently will minimise the amount of time that urine and faeces are in contact with the skin. As a guide, if your child is under 12 months old, change their nappy about five to seven times a day.
At each nappy change, wipe your baby’s bottom gently with cotton wool, paper towel or clean Chux-type cloths, dampened with lukewarm water. Baby wipes can be very irritating and should not be used.
A thick barrier cream should be applied thickly at each nappy change. This will prevent the moisture and irritants from reaching the skin. Zinc paste is best. If the cream you use wipes off too easily, try another brand because the idea is to create a good barrier. These creams are available from your pharmacy, or may be prescribed by your doctor.
Try to let your child have as much time without the nappy on as possible.
Do not use talcum powder or antiseptics on nappy rash
When to see a doctor:
See your doctor if the rash does not improve within one week or is severe. Persistent nappy rash that does not respond to nappy creams might need a medicated cream, such as an antifungal (e.g. Canesten, Nystatin to treat candida infections) or hydrocortisone (e.g. Sigmacort 1% to treat the redness). These creams should only be used on the advice of your doctor.
Some conditions, such as eczema or a skin infection, can be found on any area of the body, including the nappy area. They may not respond to the treatment used for nappy rash. Your GP, paediatrician or dermatologist will be able to diagnose your child’s rash and recommend the appropriate treatment.