Diaper rash is also known as diaper dermatitis. It is a common skin problem found in small babies in the first two years. Newborns are more prone to this problem as they have a very sensitive skin. Initially, it appears as small, red and raw skin patches, and is confined in those areas where the baby's diaper comes in contact with the skin surface. When it turns into severe diaper rash, then pimple like eruptions and blisters break out on the buttock, thigh and genital area. If these painful sores get infected, then the skin becomes red and inflamed. In worst cases, the rash may spread to other parts of the body.
Diaper rash appears when the skin surface gets irritated. If your baby is wearing a tight fitted diaper, then it gets badly rubbed against the skin quite often causing eruption of skin rashes. It may occur due to wearing of dirty diaper for long hours or lack of proper hygiene. In this condition, bacteria and enzymes present in urine and feces cause damage to the upper layer of the skin. The plastic pants of diaper tend to raise the temperature of the area which when combined with the trapped moisture becomes an ideal breeding ground for germs and bacteria. This leads to yeast diaper rash which results in inflammation of the skin that gives a burning sensation. Sometimes, a baby's skin is allergic to certain brands of baby wipes or disposable diapers or to the soap which is being used for washing cloth diaper. This allergic reaction triggers diaper rash.
Initially, diaper rash can be treated at home. The most important aspect of treatment is to create a barrier so that the affected skin does not come in direct contact with any irritants. Thick barrier ointments with a good amount of zinc oxide and petroleum jelly is best suited for this purpose. Desitin is one such cream which is widely used for severe diaper rash. The zinc oxide present in this ointment mainly acts as the barrier and provides protection to the baby's skin.
While changing your baby's diaper, dip a washcloth in plain water and clean the area gently. If you want to avoid rubbing the sensitive skin, you can simply rinse with lukewarm water. Do not use alcohol for wiping this area as it can further dry up the skin. After cleaning, pat a soft towel to make the area dry. Then leave it untouched for air drying. Once the skin surface is dry, sprinkle a little amount of cornstarch first. Then apply a generous amount of diaper rash cream on the affected part and allow the cream to get absorbed into the skin. After that, keep your baby without any diaper for some time. Severe diaper rash heals up faster if they are exposed to proper air circulation for a long time.
These severe remedies should bring about improvement in the condition in one or two days. If you do not observe any signs of improvement, then you must take your baby to the doctor. When there is watery discharge from the diaper rash or it is accompanied by fever and lack of appetite, it is a sign of infection which requires medical intervention. Many a time, it results in a yeast infection diaper rash which has to be treated with anti fungal cream and probiotics. Any other underlying condition responsible for this problem is treated with suitable medicines.
When your baby is suffering from severe diaper rash, you have to take some simple measures so that it does not get aggravated further. Change the diaper frequently so that the moisture does not irritate the skin and makes the rashes more painful. Take care of your baby's diet. Sugary juices can promote yeast infection and should be avoided. Provide your baby with plenty of water. Avoid those baby skin care products that have components like boric acid, phenol, methyl salicylate, camphor, etc. as they tend to irritate the skin.