Diaper rash is common among babies. The red, prickly patches may cause discomfort to babies and send parents into panic.
Whether your child wear disposable or washable diapers, nappy rash is bound to happen at one point. Your baby’s sensitive skin combined with a moist environment that bacteria love, is a recipe for a red and sore bottom.
Why do babies get nappy rash?
Nappy rash is also called napkin dermatitis. It occurs when baby’s sensitive skin comes into prolonged contact with pee or poo in the diaper.
Baby poo has digestive enzymes that break down the protective layer of skin, leaving it prone to irritation. This wet environment is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria that also breaks down pee into ammonia that can irritate the skin. If the diaper is not changed right away, itchy and sometimes tender red spots appear. Sometimes, these red spots turn into pus-filled bumps, which can be painful for the little ones.
Even with frequent nappy changes, diaper rash can still occur. Sometimes, diaper rash could be due to an allergic reaction to a product like cleansers and baby wipes. Some baby products may have harsh chemicals that cause allergic dermatitis, so it’s important to use only gentle and natural baby skincare products on your baby’s skin. Other times, the culprit could be the brand of diapers itself. If you suspect that a product is causing your child’s rashes, switch to gentler products.
Is diaper rash serious?
Diaper rash is not something to worry about. However, it is understandable why parents become concerned when they see the raw bottoms of their babies.
Not only is diaper rash itchy and uncomfortable, it can also be painful especially if it spreads to your baby’s genitals.
By itself, nappy rash can be easily treatable. But when left on for too long without treatment, a simple nappy rash can develop into something else.
Consult your baby’s pediatrician if the rash is persistent despite medication and frequent nappy changes. If your child develops a fever after getting nappy rash, it could be due to an infection, which needs to be treated by a GP right away.
Antibiotics could make nappy rash worse. These medicines kill the good bacteria that protect your baby from infection and could bring about thrush or candida.
Treatments for diaper rash
Diaper rash can be easily relieved by prescription and over-the counter treatments. Steroid creams like hydrocortisone help reduce the inflammation on your child’s skin. It can help reduce flare ups within a few days. While most steroid creams are available to buy without prescription, make sure to apply it to your baby’s skin only in the amount and length of time prescribed by your child’s pediatrician. Follow with a barrier cream to prevent wetness from getting to your baby’s skin.
Alternatively, you can also use an antifungal cream, which works well on candida infections. Unlike hydrocortisone, you may continue to apply an antifungal cream for up to 10 days after the rash is gone.
But the best way to treat diaper rash is to go natural. Free from harmful chemicals and irritants, natural diaper rash treatments also have nourishing and antibacterial properties. Using them is like hitting two birds with one stone. Below are some of our favorite topical cures:
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that comes from lauric acid, which helps prevent bacteria from irritating your baby’s skin. On the other hand, the caprylic acid content of coconut oil can help fight candida infection.
2. Shea butter
Another great natural treatment is shea butter. An excellent moisturizer, shea butter penetrates the skin quickly so it doesn’t transfer onto your baby’s diaper. It works great as an alternative to commercial barrier creams because this emollient does not only hydrate baby’s skin, but also makes it soft. Shea butter has antifungal properties that protect babies against yeast infection.
3. Zinc oxide
To keep moisture from collecting on your baby’s skin, you can apply zinc oxide to the affected areas. A common ingredient in sunscreens and commercial rash creams, zinc oxide provides a layer of protection to the skin. When applied, it creates an invisible film that keeps the skin waterproof. Although zinc oxide keeps moisture away, it will not dry your baby’s skin. If you choose to use zinc oxide, look for one that is pharmaceutical grade, which does not contain lead or mercury.
4. Fish liver oil
Fish liver oil also works great in healing diaper rash. It is a common ingredient used in traditional diaper creams. If you plan on creating your own nappy cream, fish liver oil is a great choice. It has fat soluble vitamins that protect and nourish baby’s skin. A word of warning: fish liver oil can go rancid right away. Create small amounts of diaper cream, which you should use within three months to avoid wastage. Also, fish liver oil is not ideal to use with cloth diapers. The oil is hard to remove and might stain cloth diapers.
How to prevent nappy rash
Frequent diaper change will help keep nappy rash at bay. Change your baby’s diaper every few hours to prevent moisture to keep baby clean and dry.
Don’t rely on the diaper’s absorbency to keep your baby’s skin dry. Even the most absorbent diapers cannot wick away all moisture and keep bacteria from irritating your baby’s skin.
As much as possible, use cloth diapers. These don’t trap in moisture as much as plastic diapers do. Plus, they do not contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your baby’s bum. Wash cloth diapers with a gentle natural laundry detergent. Natural laundry detergents are great because they can remove tough stains from pee and poop and don’t leave chemical residues.
When it comes to clean ups, steer clear of baby wipes that contain alcohol or fragrance. You can make your own homemade baby wipes, which are gentler on children’s delicate skin.
But nothing beats water and a mild cleanser like our Gentle Baby Soap Head to Toe Cleanser, which should be enough to clean your baby’s skin. This fragrance-free bar soap contains noni enzyme that helps reduce inflammation, as well as virgin coconut oil that protects skin from infection.
Apply a barrier cream or virgin coconut oil before putting on the nappy. This creates a protective barrier between the baby’s skin and wee or poo. We find that virgin coconut oil works great as both treatment and protection against diaper rash. The VCO’s fatty acids help moisturize irritated skin and heal rashes faster.
One common misconception is that nappy rash only appears on baby’s bottom. The truth is that rashes can appear on any part of the body where moisture gets into. So when you apply treatment for diaper rash, make sure to get to the surrounding areas of your baby’s bottom (like the thighs) but avoid putting it too close to the genitals.
The bottom line
Although nappy rash is common among babies, it is disconcerting for parents to see their kids uncomfortable and in pain.
Frequent changing of diapers does not guarantee that your baby will be rash-free. In the event that your child develops rashes, natural treatments work better because they do not contain harsh ingredients that may further irritate your little one’s skin.
Our Biconi Baby Massage Oil can be used to treat nappy rash and other skin conditions. It doesn’t contain chemicals that may aggravate nappy rashes. Moreover, it’s easy to use and smells great too.
To use, warm a few drops of the virgin coconut oil between your palms and apply to your baby’s bottom. You can also use it to massage your baby’s whole body. The Biconi Baby Massage Oil can be used to treat nappy rash as well as relieve itchiness and dry skin. It has organic jojoba oil, which creates a protective film on the skin against bacteria and organic sweet almond oil, which conditions the skin.