Diaper rash, also known as nappy rash or diaper dermatitis, is a common skin condition among babies, typically arising between 9 and 12 months.1 While it can be a nightmare for any parent, these simple remedies can treat your baby’s diaper rash and heal most cases of mild to moderate diaper rash within a few days. For more persistent rashes, you might need diaper creams.
Why do babies get diaper rash?
- Skin irritation due to diaper not being changed in time
- Infection caused by not cleaning up well after the baby has passed urine or stool
- Loose stools when the baby is teething or is trying a new food or is on antibiotics which kill the healthy gut bacteria2 3
1. Clean Up
Gently clean the affected area with a damp, soft washcloth or alcohol-free, unscented wipes. If the skin appears very aggravated, simply squirt water from a plastic bottle on the area to cleanse it.4
2. Allow The Skin To “Breathe”
After cleaning up, allow the diaper area to air dry. Some experts recommend doing without diapers for several hours a day to promote natural healing. Line the baby’s crib with a waterproof sheet or lay them on a thick towel on the floor during this time.5
3. Apply A Salve: Aloe Vera, Calendula, Primrose, Or Coconut Oil
Once you are done with steps 1 and 2, a salve can help soothe and heal the skin.
Zinc oxide-based or petroleum-jelly-based creams are usually recommended for nappy rashes – the former especially if the rash is severe. These also tend to act as a barrier against moisture. You will be told to leave the diaper cream on and wipe it off completely at day’s end.6 For a very dry rash, some experts recommend breaking open a capsule of vitamin E and applying it over the affected area. But you will need to observe beforehand, though, if there are any breaks in the skin, in which case, applying vitamin E is best avoided as it may actually slow down the natural healing process.7
But if you’d rather opt for natural remedies, both naturopathy and homeopathy offer several solutions that especially work well on mild to moderate rashes.
Aloe vera is widely recognized as a soothing, natural remedy against skin irritation.8 You can apply aloe vera gel on the diaper area if the baby’s skin appears mildly irritated.9 Leave on and allow it to dry. Repeat this a couple of times a day.
The healing properties of the calendula flower’s petals have been known for centuries. Research indicates that the petals induce faster healing by enhancing blood flow and oxygen to the inflamed or wounded skin.10
Sit your baby in a warm bath – warm water also improves circulation – with calendula added to it. A tea made with calendula can also be applied to the area. Calendula cream, gel, or lotion may also be applied every time you change your baby’s diaper, for moderate to severe rash.
Evening Primrose Oil
This oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with diaper rash. It is also available as a lotion. Apply it every time you change diapers.11
Coconut oil is known for its healing properties. Lauric acid in the coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties, making it a good option to treat diaper rash.12 Simply apply a small amount of virgin coconut oil gently over the diaper rash. Leave it on.
This natural clay helps to clean, refresh, and remove contaminants from the skin surface by absorbing moisture and toxins.13 If your baby’s skin rash appears moist, sprinkle a little kaolin clay powder over the diaper area.14
4. Try Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathy has a detailed regimen for diaper rashes. If the skin appears irritated, red, and sore, sulfur is recommended, usually in doses of 30C, thrice a day for 2 to 3 days. For a more stubborn diaper rash, a dose of thuja is prescribed, twice daily for 2 days. Other homeo remedies include graphites, belladonna, and Arsenicum album.15 16 Depending on the nature of the rashes, a homeopathic doctor will guide you on the exact remedies to be used.
5. Prevent Diaper Rashes From Recurring
While diaper rashes may seem inevitable and frustrating, follow these measures regularly to prevent or reduce its occurrence:
Let baby go diaper-free: Since friction and excessive moisture are the main triggers for most cases of diaper rash, let your baby remain diaper free for as much time as is convenient.
Check diapers frequently: Check your baby’s diaper often. Even if it’s only wet and not soiled, change the diaper immediately. Ideally, diapers should be changed every 2 hours and immediately after the baby passes a stool. The most common cause of diaper rash is a baby’s soaked diaper not being changed in time. Friction leads to skin irritation and the appearance of tiny pink spots or a rash.17 Sometimes, diaper rash can be an infection caused when a baby’s skin remains in contact with urine or feces for too long. Those quaint folds of skin around the baby’s genitals tend to harbor feces and moisture and this encourages the growth of bacteria or fungi, which leads to a skin infection.18
Rinse bottom with warm water: A couple of times a day, soak your baby’s bottom in warm water or use a plastic squirt bottle to rinse the diaper area.
Be gentle while cleaning up: Always be gentle while drying the baby’s skin.
Use mild or chemical-free products: Use fragrance-free, alcohol-free, water-based wipes. If your baby has especially sensitive skin, a clean, soft washcloth works just as well to clean the diaper area.
Clean cloth diapers properly: Prefer cloth diapers? Read the printed directions on the best way to clean them. Use only the recommended quantity of detergent as this too can trigger off diaper rash. Disinfecting in boiling water is also recommended.19 20 21 22
Call A Doctor If The Rash Gets Worse
Baby skin is delicate and sensitive and, sometimes, a diaper rash can break out despite every precaution. If the rash persists beyond 2–3 days or seems to get worse, home care may not suffice. Fever, pus oozing from the rashes, blisters, or a rash that doesn’t respond to home care are all likely signs of a skin infection. Another red flag for infection is if your baby appears to be in pain or fretful.23 In all these circumstances, contact your pediatrician or a dermatologist for further evaluation.
|↑1, ↑2, ↑17||Diaper Rash: the Bottom Line On Baby Bottoms. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.|
|↑3, ↑5, ↑18, ↑19, ↑22||Diaper Rash. Kids Health.|
|↑4, ↑6, ↑20, ↑23||Prevent And Treat Diaper Rash. American Academy of Dermatology.|
|↑7||Zand, Janet, Robert Rountree, Bob Rountree, Rachel Walton. Smart medicine for A Healthier Child. Penguin, 2003.|
|↑8||Aloe. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑9||Loo, May. Integrative Medicine For Children. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009.|
|↑10||Calendula. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑11, ↑14||Zand, Janet, Robert Rountree, Bob Rountree, and Rachel Walton. Smart Medicine For A Healthier Child. Penguin, 2003.|
|↑12||Gursche, Siegfried. Coconut Oil: Discover the Key to Vibrant Health. Book Publishing Co, 2008.|
|↑13||Evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agents. NIH.|
|↑15||Zand, Janet, Robert Rountree, Bob Rountree, and Rachel Walton. Smart Medicine For A Healthier Child. Penguin, 2003.|
|↑16||Dermatitis. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑21||Diaper Rash: the Bottom Line On Baby Bottoms. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.|