Diaper Rash

Close-up of a mother changing the nappy of her baby

Diaper rashes are less commonly referred to as irritant diaper dermatitis. They occur when the individual, often a baby, suffers from a skin condition or various irritants.  It will appear as a bright red rash on the posterior of the individual. There are various different ways that diaper rashes can be caused however, it is important to ensure that the diaper is always dry and lacks moisture in order to prevent the occurrence of a diaper rash. Diapers can become wet as a result of diarrhea or a lack of changing. Diaper rashes are not usually serious conditions and can be treated without the help of a medical professional.


There are many different causes of diaper rashes. However, one of the most common factors includes lengthy exposure to a moist or dirty diaper. Since feces are more irritating to the skin than urine, your child is more likely to get a diaper rash if he or she has more frequent bowel movements. A child may experience diarrhea if the diet has recently been changed and does not agree with the body’s metabolism. Furthermore, if a mother is breast feeding, there is the possibility that the child will have more frequent bowel movements in reaction to something that the mother has eaten. Therefore, it is extremely important to closely monitor your diet while breastfeeding.

In addition, certain products that do not work well with your baby’s sensitive skin can also cause a diaper rash. This can include products such as disposable diapers, diaper wipes and even laundry detergent. Selecting the right product can be especially important if your baby has very sensitive skin.


The most obvious symptom of a diaper rash will be a rash on the baby’s bottom that will be characterized by a bright red complexion and will appear puffy or swollen. The rash may even extend from the buttocks to the thigh and genital region. In many cases the texture of the skin will also appear shiny.

You will also notice that your baby seems more uncomfortable and will tend to cry more often, especially during diaper changes. The area will be particularly sensitive when touched or washed, therefore diaper changes and baths should be done with extreme care.

In addition, you may also notice an ammonia type smell coming from your baby. In baby boys, an inflamed penis is also very common.

Diaper rashes will usually disappear in less than a week. Therefore, if you notice that the symptoms have persisted for more than a week, it is important to seek medical attention as your child may have caught a more serious infection.


Keeping your baby’s skin clean and dry is the best way to prevent and cure diaper rashes. Using a hydrocortisone cream can also be beneficial if it is mild.

If your baby’s rash is caused by the type of diaper you are using, you should also consider making the switch to cloth diapers as they can be softer on the skin. Depending on the severity of the rash, you should also consider letting your baby go without a diaper for a day or two or until the rash clears up.

The unfortunate thing is that in many cases, you will not be aware of what exactly is causing the diaper rash. It can be hard to distinguish if it is a product you are using or the type of diet your baby is on.  Therefore, finding the right cure will depend on trial and error. As mentioned above, switching diapers to try a few different types can be a good way to either confirm or eliminate it as a cause.