Diaper rash (diaper eczema) is an inflammation of the skin in the diaper area. There are several factors involved in the development of diaper rash.
The skin looks inflamed, sometimes the groin and buttocks are fine, certainly not always. Almost all babies are faced with diaper rash. Sometimes blisters, wounds or scaling can occur in addition to redness.
In the first 3 weeks after birth, babies are usually free of diaper rash, from the third week of life the rash can develop. It occurs just as often in boys and girls. The result is not dangerous, but a baby can suffer a lot and cry a lot. The skin can be very irritated - especially when broken spots again come into contact with urine or faeces, it hurts.
How does diaper rash develop?
There are several factors that contribute to the development of the diaper rash. Diaper rash is not necessarily the same with every baby, because different factors play an equally important role for each child.
The most important factors are:
- Friction - The skin can easily be damaged by friction between the diaper and the skin. The rash is usually the worst where the skin makes direct contact with the diaper surface, the inside of the thighs, the buttocks, and genitals. The fabric of which the inside of the diaper is made plays an important role in the development of diaper eczema.
- Water - The skin becomes softened by prolonged contact with water, which can easily damage the skin, for example due to friction. If the skin is damaged, irritants can penetrate more easily. Prolonged contact with water is enough to develop diaper eczema.
- Urine - The most important culprit in the urine is water. In the past it was thought that it was the fault of the ammonia, which is also in urine. It has been shown that ammonia can exacerbate existing diaper dermatitis.
- Stool - Stool is very harmful to the skin. A 'dirty diaper' is normally noticed quickly. If the diaper is changed quickly, the stool does not have the time to perform its harmful effects. Stool contains enzymes and proteins that can damage the skin. If the skin is already damaged, it will be quickly exacerbated by faeces.
- Yeast infection - The most important yeast species is the Candida albicans. In babies with diaper rash, an infection of yeast in the diaper area is more often seen than in children without diaper rash. If there is a very severe diaper rash, then the doctor may diagnose a Candida infection. The candida yeast likes to sit in the diaper area, because it is warm and humid. A Candida infection can be recognized by the flaky edges of the red spots and the small red spots with a flaky edge just outside the big spots. Sometimes you also see small white pimples with this infection.
- It is important to use good disposable diapers. Good nappies contain a super-absorbent gel, this gel keeps the skin dry longer. The inner lining should be made of soft material.
- The diaper must be changed in time.
- Towel diapers should be carefully rinsed after washing. A little vinegar during rinsing can neutralize the ammonia from the urine.
- Let the baby lie without diaper a few times a day.
- Clean the buttocks of the baby with a washcloth with clean water (nowadays there are also very good bill towels for sale). Do not use soap or perfumed wipes; both can cause extra irritation.
- Before putting on the clean diaper, apply a protective skin ointment (zinc ointment or zinc oil) to the skin. In case of infection, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic or anti-fungal agent. If the skin irritation indicates another cause, the doctor may decide to prescribe other medicines - for example a corticosteroid.
- If a Candida infection has been detected by the doctor, a special anti-yeast cream is often prescribed.
Also see these information articles: · Baby care · Bathing · Belly button · Diaper changing · Eye care · Foreskin · Nail care