Did you know that nappy rash is one of the most common infant skin disorders? We look at the different types of nappy rash and the best tried-and-tested remedies to treat it. By Tammy Jacks
Did you know, one of the main reasons for fussiness in the early days of your baby’s life is the result of discomfort caused by nappy rash, explains childcare expert Meg Faure in her best-selling book, Baby Sense.
What is nappy rash?
Most nappy rashes are simple dermatitis caused by ammonia in urine and faeces, explains Meg. Some nappy rashes are caused by thrush and need to be treated with an anti-fungal cream.
If your little one’s nappy rash hasn’t cleared within three days (after using barrier creams, changing your baby’s nappy more often or letting her go without a nappy), it could be linked to a fungal infection. According to researchers at the Bayer Group, fungal nappy rash is the cause of up to 75% of nappy rash cases that persist and last for three days or more.
Some symptoms of fungal nappy rash include:
- Severe, bright red, elevated patches of skin − especially at the top of the thighs or in the skin folds around the groin.
- Fluid-like blisters and pustules around the rash.
Why nappy rash is worse in warmer months
Although nappy rash is common throughout the year, dermatologist Dr Avela Mayekiso believes it can specifically flare up during the summer months. “This is because water-borne infections like gastroenteritis are more prevalent during the warmer months, increasing faecal contact with your little one’s skin,” says Mayekiso.
Candida (a form of yeast infection), also thrives in warm climates and especially in warm and moist areas like the nappy. This can also lead to infections, resulting in skin irritations and nappy rash, she adds.
Dr Mayekiso’s tips for avoiding nappy rash:
- Use a good quality nappy that draws wetness away from your baby’s skin and absorbs extra moisture. The nappy should keep your little one dry for at least 8-12 hours.
- Use a barrier cream to prevent your baby’s skin from coming into contact with irritants such as urine.
- Allow your baby’s skin to breathe. Take your little one’s nappy off for an hour or so every day so her skin is exposed to fresh air.
- Change your baby’s nappy as soon as it’s wet.
- Avoid using scented soaps, creams or lotions on your baby’s nappy area. Meg also suggests steering clear of perfumed or alcohol-based wipes.
- Dry your baby’s skin properly after each nappy change, making sure you reach between the skin folds.
- Use a barrier cream like petroleum jelly or a zinc-based cream to protect your baby’s skin from moisture.
- Some babies are allergic to certain nappy brands. Consider changing your brand if your baby is getting frequent nappy rashes that aren’t clearing up.
Meg’s top tip for premature babies: If your baby is premature, take great care when using disposable nappies. “Premature babies have less collagen in their skin, increasing the risk of blister formation and skin damage − especially if the adhesive tape on the sides of the nappy stick to their skin.
Natural home remedies for nappy rash:
- Keep your little one’s skin dry − especially the delicate skin in the affected area.
- Change your baby’s nappy frequently so her skin doesn’t come in contact with urine and faeces for long periods.
- Use an absorbent, good quality nappy.
- Gently wash the nappy area with warm water and a soft cloth or towel, then apply a good barrier cream to the nappy area.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .