Types of Diaper Rash & Home Remedies For Diaper Rash

Types of Diaper Rash & Home Remedies For Diaper Rash

Medical Content Reviewed & Edited by Rashmi Jain, MD

Diaper changes are a big part of any new parent’s life, and sometimes it seems like these little people never stop dirtying themselves. It can be concerning to see a bright red rash on your baby’s bottom, especially if it happens frequently or doesn’t seem to be getting better. Diaper rash is very common, occurring in at least half of all babies at some time in their infancy. However, there are ways to prevent and treat a diaper rash, and most often you can do so right at home. 

How do I know if it’s nappy rash?

A diaper rash is a common form of inflamed skin, identifiable by a red patch on your baby’s buttocks, genitals, or inner thighs. Often, if your baby has a diaper rash they will fuss or cry during diaper changes as they experience some discomfort. It is very common in babies 9-12 months old. 

Understanding TYPES of diaper rash?

There are several reasons your baby might experience a diaper rash:


The most common types of diaper rash come from your baby sitting in a wet or dirty diaper for too long. This causes irritation of their sensitive skin. Certain things can increase the chances of your baby experiencing this irritation:

  • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea. 
  • Sleeping through the night leads to them having fewer diaper changes.
  • Tight-fitting diapers or clothing that rubs against their skin can cause chafing.
  • Changes in diet. Especially when a baby begins eating solid foods, the color, smell, consistency & frequency of their bowel movements can change. This increases their chances of developing a diaper rash. 
  • If a baby is breastfed, something in their mother’s diet can also increase the risk of diaper rash. In this case, the mother might need to make changes in her diet to resolve the issue. 

Allergic Reaction

If your baby is reacting to something, it can also be one of the causes of nappy rash. It may be a reaction to the wipes or disposable diapers you use. It could also be due to the detergent, bleach, or fabric softener you use to wash cloth diapers. They could have an allergic reaction to their baby lotion, powders, or oils. Signs that it may be an allergic reaction are rashes that appear after every time they are exposed to a certain product and only show up where the product is applied. Switching brands or eliminating one exposure at a time could be a simple way to see if this might solve this problem.

Yeast Infection

The area covered by a diaper is warm and moist, leaving it particularly vulnerable to fungus-like yeast. Yeast occurs naturally in the digestive tract, but an overgrowth can lead to infection. The use of antibiotics can increase the risk of this type of rash. Antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in the gut that normally prevent the overgrowth of yeast. Signs of this type of rash are shiny, bright red or pink patches with sharp edges. These infections are more often found within the creases of the skin than an irritant rash, and sometimes they can have red dots or pimples. It’s important to wash your hands after changing your baby’s diaper if they have this kind of rash to avoid spreading the fungus. Your pediatrician can prescribe your baby an antifungal cream for this type of rash..

Bacterial Infection

This type of diaper rash infection is one of the rare causes of diaper rash, but bacteria like Staphylococcus (Staph) & Streptococcus (Strep) can be the cause of a rash or make an existing rash worse. Strep infections can appear as bright red skin around the anus. A Staph infection has a yellow, crusty, weepy appearance. Sometimes Staph will appear as pimples or pustules. If there is a bacterial infection in the diaper area, it must be evaluated and treated by your pediatrician.

home remedies for diaper rash

Causes of Diaper Rash & Pediatrician’s Advice 1

The best thing you can do at home to prevent & treat a diaper rash is to keep your baby’s diaper area clean and dry. 

Change NAPPIES often

Change diapers often, especially right after a bowel movement.

Rinse your baby’s bottom

Rinse your baby’s bottom with warm water or a warm wet washcloth during each diaper change. You can wash their bottom in the sink or tub, or spray them gently with a water bottle.

Avoid wipes with alcohol or fragrance

Avoid wipes with alcohol or fragrance and only use soap that is made for babies and is dye/fragrance free.

Don’t over-tighten your baby’s diapers.

Don’t over-tighten your baby’s diapers. This could prevent air flow, increasing the risk of chaffing and creating the moist, warm environment that yeast and bacteria love to grow in.

disposable diapers are more absorbent

There is no evidence that cloth diapers cause more rashes than disposable ones, but disposable diapers are more absorbent, leaving less moisture against your baby’s skin. Thus, it could potentially help to put your baby in disposable diapers until their rash is better. 

give your baby some diaper-free time

If possible, give your baby some diaper-free time. Lay your baby on a large towel or mat to avoid messes and leave their bottom open to air. This not only keeps their bottoms from getting irritated/infected by too much moisture, but can also be very relaxing for your baby. 

Use ointment regularly

Especially if your baby gets diaper rash often, creating a barrier with ointment during each diaper change can heal a diaper rash & prevent future rashes. Apply Zinc Oxide directly next to the skin to help with healing of the pink/sensitized skin. Then top it with a barrier ointment like Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) or A&D ointment so the skin doesn’t get further irritated with the next urine or stool output. As prevention, continue creating the barrier with Vaseline or A&D ointment to keep skin from getting irritated. Also, remember there is no such thing as too much ointment. Go ahead and apply it like icing on a cake!

Avoid using cornstarch or talcum powder

We now know that inhaling powder can irritate your baby’s lungs & be dangerous for them.

How can I make the diaper changing process easier?

Causes of Diaper Rash & Pediatrician’s Advice 3

If your child is experiencing pain or discomfort from their diaper rash, diaper changing time can become a challenge. Though it may feel like a Catch 22 to change them frequently, this is what will ultimately resolve the rash and make your baby feel better. Below are some tips for making diaper changes a little easier and hopefully decrease the risk of your child getting recurrent rashes: 

Make it a bonding time

Stay calm, maintain eye contact, and talk lovingly to your child.

Sing a song or play music

This helps calm them down, distracts them and makes it a fun time they could look forward to.

Give them a special toy

Give them a special toy. It helps to reserve a very exciting toy, (like something that shakes or has fun colors, textures, or lights) that is exclusively for diaper changes. This will capture their attention and perhaps spare you the dreaded fight of a diaper change.

Buckle them up on a diaper changing pad

Buckle them up on a diaper changing pad to keep your child safe and prevent them from rolling over and creating a mess while you change them.

Keep anything dangerous or messy out of their reach

Keep anything dangerous or messy out of their reach, especially when they reach that stage of exploration. This could include diaper creams, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.

Narrate what you are doing as you go

Talk through the process of cleaning them with the wipe, applying the soothing ointment and then finishing up with a fresh diaper. You could also point out their body parts—their belly button, their two feet, their ten toes, etc. to keep them entertained.

Give them a view

You could put your changing table by a window so they can look outside, hang a mobile over their changing pad, or have colorful artwork on the wall next to them.

Play games

This can include tickling, blowing raspberries on their tummies, or even playing hide and seek with a clean diaper before putting it on them. You could hide the diaper under your shirt or around the changing pad, or even use it as a puppet. The sillier you get, the more fun your child will have. In this win-win situation, both of you will dread diaper changes less!

When should I see the doctor about my baby’s diaper rash?

If your baby’s diaper rash hasn’t improved with at-home treatment after a few days, it could be time to see your doctor to get a prescription cream/ointment or an anti-fungal cream if the rash is caused by yeast. Call your pediatrician sooner than later if your child’s rash looks infected. Signs of an infection include:

  • Blisters on your baby’s diaper area
  • Fever > 100.4° Fahrenheit
  • Swelling of their genital region
  • Pus or discharge from the area of rash
  • Your baby is crying inconsolably & you can’t calm them down

In Conclusion

Diaper rash can be uncomfortable for babies, but with the right care it’ll be long gone & they’ll have forgotten about it in no time. Learning about the different types of diaper rash and home remedies for diaper rash is important to understand how best to approach this. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s diaper rash issues, feel free to contact a Pediatrician at BabiesMD. 

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