Diaper rash, also known as diaper dermatitis is the most common skin problem among infants between the ages of 4 and 15 months. More than half of babies this age experience the condition at least once in a two-month period.
Diaper rash grows in warm, moist places. It presents as splotchy patches and red scales on the baby’s bottom, thighs, skin folds, and genital area. The baby may also be irritable and fussy when being changed and may even cry when the affected area is touched. Thankfully, most cases are short-lived with many simple home remedies that can offer the baby relief.
Possible reasons for diaper rash
- Irritation by stool and urine
- Irritation from new foods or products including medication like antibiotics
- Sensitive skin – Signs You Have Sensitive Skin
- Rubbing or grazing from a diaper that is too tight
- Potential bacterial infection
1. Coconut oil
Coconut has been known to reduce redness and irritation on the skin. It can help promote wound healing, moisturize the skin, provide a protective barrier, and provide some relief for the baby.
Apply virgin coconut oil over the baby’s irritated skin after changing and cleaning them. Repeat the process whenever necessary until the rash ends.
2. Olive oil
Olive oil helps moisturize the skin as well as soothe the skin and effectively cure diaper rash. Mix olive oil and water in a 2:1 ratio and apply the mixture to the baby’s bum.
3. White vinegar
Vinegar works by balancing out the pH level. It also helps make the baby’s skin more resistant to yeast infection.
Add one teaspoon of white vinegar to one cup of water and use the mixture to wipe the baby’s bottom while changing the diaper.
4. Breast milk
Breast milk contains antibodies that can help combat infections and improve the baby’s immunity against a host of diseases without any side effects. In this way breastmilk also helps treat diaper rash.
Pump out a little breast milk and apply it to the affected area. Allow the milk to air dry on its own. Put a diaper on the baby after.
5. Petroleum jelly
Paediatricians advise parents to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the baby’s skin after diaper changes. It forms a coating and barrier on the baby’s skin protecting them from the irritating effects of stool and urine.
Oatmeal may help reduce inflammation and irritation. It is soothing for the skin and contains high levels of a protein that act as a natural barrier for the baby’s skin.
Add a tablespoon of dry oatmeal to the baby’s bathwater. Let them sit in the water for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry the baby with a clean towel. Do it about two times a day until the rash disappears.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is mainly composed of acetic acid which is a natural disinfectant. It also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties which are useful when treating diaper rash.
Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water. Use a clean cloth to wipe the baby’s bottom with the solution. Do it twice a day until the rash disappears. This remedy is not recommended for severe rashes because it may sting.
8. Tea and honey
Tea has properties that combat diaper rash. Chamomile tea in particular is hypoallergenic and has antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey is naturally antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
Brew two cups of water with 2-3 teabags and bring to a boil. Allow it to cool down then add a teaspoon of honey. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and generously spray the affected region after changing the baby’s diaper. Brew fresh tea daily for this purpose until the rash clears.
9. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a great natural solution for many skin disorders. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial. Aloe vera also has vitamin E which helps nourish the skin naturally.
Purchase organic and natural aloe vera gel or if you have the leaves, slice and extract the gel from it. Spread the gel over the affected area. Allow it to air dry. Repeat 4-5 times daily until the rash completely disappears.
This is a lesser-known home remedy. Maalox can soothe the skin by neutralizing the acids causing diaper rash. Use a cotton swab to apply Maalox over the baby’s bottom while changing them. Let the skin dry naturally before dressing the baby in loose clothes.
11. Baking soda
Baking soda has healing qualities with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to four cups of warm water. Use baking soda water to wash the baby’s tush. You can also add the mixture to the baby’s bathwater and let them soak in it for not more than 10 minutes. Alternatively, soak clean washcloths in the baking soda water and pat the affected areas to soothe and relieve symptoms.
12. Plain yoghurt
Plain yoghurt with no added sugar or corn starch can be used to treat diaper rash and inflammation. Apply a thick layer of room-temperature yoghurt to the affected area in the same way you would use diaper cream. Within a couple of days, the rashes should disappear.
13. Cranberry juice
Cranberry works to prevent diaper rash by protecting against the bacteria that causes it. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe the inflamed skin. This only works for babies who are already weaned. Give your baby 2-3 teaspoons of cranberry juice once daily.
14. Shea butter
Shea butter is an intense natural moisturizer with anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe affected areas. Apply a thin layer of organic Shea butter to the affected areas twice daily.
15. Over-the-counter ointments
With the guidance of your doctor or paediatrician.
Preventing diaper rash
1. Regularly changing the baby’s diaper
Frequently check the diaper and change it as soon as it is soiled. This keeps the area clean and dry. Whether the diaper is disposable or a cloth diaper, it needs to be changed as soon as it is full.
2. Diaper-free time
Allow the baby some diaper-free time several times a day. This allows the skin to breathe, dry out and prevents future diaper rash.
3. No tight diapers
Do not overtighten the diaper. Tightening prevents airflow which allows bacteria to breed in the moist area causing diaper rash.
4. Loose clothing
Put the baby in breathable clothes, with no rubber pants or leather (if you can even get your baby into it). Opt for loose-fitting clothes, preferably 100% cotton.
5. Lukewarm water
Use lukewarm water to wash your baby’s diaper area while changing them. Make it a consistent part of your diaper change routine.
6. Switch diaper brands and laundry detergents
If you do all the above and they still keep getting diaper rash, they may be sensitive to a particular product. A diaper brand or cleaning product could trigger diaper rash. Eliminating harsh chemicals and scents may help clear persistent or recurring rashes.
If you’re using cloth diapers
- Pre-soak heavily soiled diapers in cold water.
- Wash diapers in hot water with mild detergent and bleach. Bleach kills germs.
- Consider soaking the cloth diapers in vinegar after washing to eliminate odours and rinse out any soap residue. It will also eliminate any harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Double rinse the diapers in cold water to remove any traces of chemicals or soap.
- Avoid using fabric softener because the fragrances may irritate the baby’s skin.
When to see a doctor
Symptoms of an infected diaper rash
- Blisters on the diaper area
- Bleeding or oozing
- Swelling of the area
- Pus or discharge that drains from the diaper area
- The rash will not go away after treatment or starts to worsen
- If it appears red and raw it may have developed into a secondary fungal or yeast infection