Nappy rash, also referred to as diaper dermatitis, is usually caused by irritation of the skin. Your baby’s skin can become damaged from constant moisture and rubbing from their nappy. And with bacteria, yeasts, detergent, urine and faeces it’s a nasty combination. If you don’t change your baby’s nappy often enough or if your baby has diarrhoea, it can worsen the skin condition.
Signs and symptoms:
- skin around the nappy area looks red and raw, spotty in appearance around the edges of the rash
- skin is sore or itchy when the area is wiped
- your baby is unsettled or irritable.
If your baby has a nappy rash, it’s best to use good quality, disposable nappies. (If the rash is persistent, check with your Maternal and Child Health nurse or local doctor).
Disposable nappies effectively soak up moisture, leaving the skin dry. They should be changed five to seven times a day - quick changes limit the amount of time urine and faeces are in contact with your baby’s skin. A tip is to let your baby spend as much time without a nappy as possible - before they create a mess!
To wipe clean your little one, it’s best to not use baby wipes. A clean, damp chux or cloth is preferred, finishing with a thick barrier cream.
Thick creams such as zinc act as a barrier between the skin and the irritant. White soft paraffin products work well too. Try another cream from your doctor or pharmacy, if the one that you use wipes off easily. Talcum powder will not work on a nappy rash.
Remember that rashes are very common amongst newborns, and nappies might not be the cause of your baby’s rash. Eczema and other skin conditions can be found in the nappy area and around the rest of the body. These conditions won’t be affected by nappy rash treatment.
If you’re worried about your baby’s rash or the nappy rash hasn’t improved in two weeks, contact your family doctor or Maternal and Child Health nurse.