Diaper Rash

Diaper Rash: Understanding and Treating This Common Skin Condition

Diaper rash is a common skin condition in infants, toddlers, and other children who wear diapers. It can develop quickly and usually appears as a red, scaly rash around the area of the diaper, although sometimes the whole diaper area can become red and irritated. The rash can also be very sore and cause the baby to experience pain and discomfort.

Diaper rash is most commonly caused by wetness—either from urine or stool—that remains in contact with the baby's skin. If the diaper isn't changed frequently or is too tight, it can also cause irritation. Allergies, yeast infections, or sensitivity to detergents can also be the cause of a diaper rash.

Tips for Treating Diaper Rash

Fortunately, diaper rash can usually be treated easily. Here are some simple steps to prevent and treat diaper rash:

  • Change the diaper often—ideally every two hours or more.
  • Use a diaper ointment for every diaper change. Diaper rash creams and ointments typically contain zinc oxide, which works to soothe and protect the skin.
  • Allow your baby to go bare-bottomed as much as possible. This will help the area to air out and stay dry.
  • Clean the diaper area with warm water and a gentle soap. Avoid harsh soaps or wipes, which can be irritating to the skin.
  • Give your baby a warm bath at least once a day. Pat the area dry with a soft towel.

If your baby's diaper rash persists despite taking these steps or seems to be getting worse, it may be a more serious condition or a yeast infection. If this is the case, you should contact your pediatrician for further advice.