A diaper rash is caused by an inflammation of the skin in the diaper area and is often characterized by red and scaly areas in the buttocks, groin or inner thighs. It can occur at any age in which the diaper is still worn. The rash can be very alarming to parents but often does not bother the child and can be resolved with simple treatments.
There are many factors involved in causing the inflammation of a diaper rash, but the main factor is the exposure of the skin to moisture. Moisture comes from a reduced evaporation of water and exposure to urine and stool.
Frequently, the inflammation then leads to a break in the normal barrier and a secondary yeast infection forms.
In our experience, one of the main aggravating factors is overwashing of the diaper area. It is a natural tendency of parents to want to clean this area but overwashing further removes protective oils from the skin and may irritate.
Treatment & Outcome
- The most important aspect of treating a diaper rash is to keep water and moisture away from the diaper area. This can be done with a barrier cream containing zinc oxide.
- If the child’s diaper only contains urine, one can dry off the diaper area with a dry cloth and excessive cleaning is not required.
- If the diaper contains stool after the child has had a bowel movement, the area can be cleaned using a Kleenex with mineral or baby oil instead of soap and water.
- Avoid using the “baby wipes” during this time because they may cause irritation.
- Frequent diaper changes are often helpful.
- Occasionally, a prescription medication containing a topical cortisone cream and/or an anti-yeast medication may be needed if the redness persists.
- Most cases of diaper rash will improve significantly with careful management, but in many children a mild pinkness may remain in the area. This redness is often due to a sensitivity in the skin and is not worrisome.
Contact Sanova Dermatology
If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact us today.