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Diaper Rash: What It Is, How to Treat It, and How to Avoid It At All Costs

Cute baby buttock with diaper.As a new parent, there is so much to learn:  feeding, sleeping, changing, development, and how to keep babies safe and sound.  One of the less enjoyable, but very common baby ailments is diaper rash.  Every parent wants to avoid diaper rash as it’s usually uncomfortable for the baby and affects their overall mood and sleep habits.  Here is the scoop on this not-so-pleasant problem.

 What is it and will my baby get it?

Almost every baby will have a case of diaper rash before the age of three. There is a range of diaper rash, and it can show up  very quickly or rather gradually. Typically diaper rash will start off appearing as a bright red patch in the area the diaper covers. If this phase goes untreated, the diaper rash can progress – this results in an overgrowth of yeast and it becomes a red rash with smaller patches of red bumps and pustules.

What causes it?

  •  Irritation from stool and urine. Your baby’s skin is more sensitive than adult skin, so prolonged exposure to pee and poop can irritate it. Infrequent wet diaper changes, tight diapers that are too small, or episodes of diarrhea can lead to diaper rash.
  • Changes in the diet. Diaper rash is most common when a baby starts to eat solid food.  A change in diet commonly results in stool changes, and this can be more irritating to a baby’s skin.
  • Use of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, so when a baby is taking antibiotics, the amount of good bacteria in his gastrointestinal system changes.  This good bacteria has many functions, one of which is regulating yeast (or what doctors call Candida) growth.  When the good bacteria is altered, thanks to antibiotics, diaper rash can occur. 
  • Chafing.  Chafing simply means rubbing. Tightfitting diapers or clothing that rubs against the skin can lead to a rash just by irritation. A similar comparison would be that of a tight wet swimsuit
  • Candidiasis. Candidiasis is secondary yeast (fungal) infection. When the diaper rash starts simply as a red, irritating inflammation (also known as dermatitis), you want to act quickly because untreated dermatitis is the perfect environment for secondary yeast to grow. Picture this — the area covered by a diaper is especially warm and moist.  Add in dermatitis and you have the perfect storm.   Secondary candidiasis is full blown diaper rash and it looks worse with more redness and dermatitis and  patches of red bumps and pustules.

 How can diaper rash be prevented?

Prevention of diaper rash is key. Don’t even let your baby’s bottom get red. The main way to prevent the irritation and rash is to protect the baby’s sensitive skin. Application of an ointment such as Baby Pibu™’s Hydrating Ointment with every diaper change can provide a protective layer between the baby’s skin and the elements (pee and poop). For longer naps and overnight sleep, application of an ointment with zinc oxide is recommended, as zinc oxide provides further protection. Baby Pibu™’s Bottom Balm can be used for this purpose. If there are any initial signs of redness or irritation in the diaper area, begin using Baby Pibu™’s Bottom Balm with every diaper change.

 How do you treat diaper rash?

When red bumps or pustules appear along with the redness in the diaper area, your baby has developed full blown diaper rash with secondary candidiasis. When this happens, increase the frequency of diaper changes and make sure the diapers aren’t too tight. You may want to let your baby’s bottom breathe by letting your baby go diaperless for short periods of time. In addition, using a warm washcloth instead of a wipe may be less irritating and more soothing. You can apply Baby Pibu™’s Intensive Bottom Relief with diaper changes. This diaper rash ointment has thymol (a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal) and cornstarch to help relieve the rash.  You can also mix in over-the-counter topical Lotrimin AF cream with clotrimazole with the Intensive Bottom if needed. If the diaper rash doesn’t improve within two to three days, consult your pediatrician or dermatologist.

Diaper rash is a fact of parenthood.  However, a good diaper changing regimen including a hydrating ointment will significantly lower the odds.  Education and knowledge – on what diaper rash is, what it looks like and how it develops –is also key.  If diaper rash occurs, know the quick and immediate steps to take for treatment.  Lastly, you are never alone, so don’t hesitate to contact an expert for advice .

All the best – The Baby Pibu™ Team

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