A Big Pain In The Bum … Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is very uncomfortable for both babies and parents. It has many causes and is a problem that every parents has to deal with. The most common cause is contact with poop and pee (especially diarrhea), but others like allergy to diapers, yeast, bacteria, and viruses do exist. If the rash is due to contact with poop or too long in a wet diaper, take these steps:

1) Stop using wet wipes – instead use cotton squares (like the kind you buy to apply makeup) and place in a sandwich bag, soak the cotton with mineral oil (baby oil without fragrance – often found in the laxative area), then you have handy, portable wipes that work fantastic to clean off a baby’s bottom and leave a layer of moisture behind.
2) Start using Desitin Original Paste (40% zinc oxide) with every diaper change and LOTS of it. The entire diaper area should be white and stay white until the next diaper change.
3) Give your baby as much time out of a diaper as possible. A good time to do this is after bath time, on top of a towel (too avoid a messy floor).
4) After the diaper rash resolves, continue to use a barrier ointment to protect your little one’s bottom – at this stage you can use any ointment that works best for your baby.

If the rash is due to an allergic reaction from the diaper itself, it is usually the dye in the disposable diaper. It may get better, but will not go away completely with conventional methods. The rash is usually located away from the genitals and around the waist or on the inner thighs. Try to switch diaper brands, because they all use different materials or switch to cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are very good for babies who are sensitive to diaper materials and the rash will go away very quickly, if this is the problem.

If the rash is not going away with either of these methods, then it may be a virus, yeast, or bacteria. Yeast is very red appearing and spreads even with conventional treatments. You can try over the counter yeast cream, like Clotrimazole 2-3 times a day before applying the Desitin. If the rash is not going away with either of these treatments or develops drainage (like pus), then go in and see your pediatrician.

There are many methods for successfully treating diaper rash, this is just one that consistently works for me. If anyone else has another good method, then feel free to post in the comments section.

Heather Joyce, MD

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