Dealing with diaper rash can be a painful, frustrating experience for babies and parents alike.
Luckily, parents can minimize diaper rash outbreaks by learning the root causes of diaper rashes and staying up-to-date on the best diaper rash creams, treatments, and tools available for treating and soothing baby.
Read on to learn more about what causes diaper rash, how to treat it quickly, and what you can do to prevent the rash from harming your baby in the future.
What is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is a painful skin inflammation that appears as a bright red patch on babies’ bottoms and legs. While diaper rash can be uncomfortable for babies –– and distressing for parents –– the condition will typically fade in two to three days.
There are multiple types of diaper rashes parents should watch out for. Learning to spot these different diaper rash types can help parents identify the root cause of their baby’s outbreak, and expedite proper treatment.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
Unfortunately, diaper rashes can be caused or influenced by several factors, including:
- Wet Diapers - prolonged exposure to urine and stool in wet diapers is the most common cause of baby diaper rash. Ammonia in urine and enzymes in stool increases the pH of your baby’s skin and can cause irritation that leads to diaper rash.
- Chafing - Friction (the force responsible for chafing) weakens the protective layer of the skin over time. Consistent friction between snug clothing, diapers, wipes, and more can lead to painful diaper rashes for your baby.
- Dietary Changes - Sudden dietary changes can also lead to diaper rash. Breast-fed infants may experience diaper rashes due to their mothers’ diet changes. Older babies with expanding diets often experience stool content changes that irritate the skin and lead to diaper rashes.
- Sensitive Skin - Skin sensitivity varies widely and can leave some babies more susceptible to diaper rashes than others. Conditions like eczema can also increase babies’ susceptibility to diaper rashes.
Fortunately, parents have one major weapon to fight against irritating diaper rashes - diaper cream! When applied properly, diaper cream can seriously minimize –– or eliminate –– these root causes and protect babies from uncomfortable skin irritation or inflammation.
How Long Do Diaper Rashes Last?
Diaper rashes typically don’t last longer than two to three days. However, if left untreated, baby diaper rashes can lead to yeast infections and other painful conditions that cause more severe symptoms, like:
- Prolonged fevers
- Raw/peeling skin
- Spreading redness and inflammation
- Tiny blisters or pimples in the affected areas
How Do You Get Rid of Diaper Rash Fast?
Getting rid of a diaper rash in 24-hours is certainly possible, but not super easy. It takes time for the skin to heal, but persistent parents can expedite this timeline with a few simple tips and tricks.
For example, switching from your normal baby wipes to washing with warm water can reduce inflammation and significantly help the healing process. Parents can also take a break from diapers to allow the damaged skin to heal without ongoing friction.
Parents can also soothe diaper rashes more quickly by carefully applying a high-quality diaper rash cream. The best diaper rash creams are an essential tool in the fight against diaper rashes because they create a soothing and protective barrier on the skin.
What Does a Diaper Rash Look Like?
Diaper rashes typically appear as areas of bright pink or red inflammation. Diaper rashes can also lead to swelling, dryness, sensitivity, and peeling in the affected areas.
If your baby’s rash appears dark red, white, or scaly, your baby may be dealing with a more complicated yeast infection or psoriatic diaper rash.
What Are the Different Types of Diaper Rash?
There are four main types of diaper rashes parents should watch out for. These types are:
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis - The most common type of diaper rash, Irritant Contact Dermatitis, is caused by exposure to urine and stool in wet diapers. Look for the characteristic redness, inflammation, and discomfort to identify this diaper rash type.
- Yeast infections - Yeast infections most often occur in the folds and creases on babies’ thighs. Yeast infections can be identified by deep, dark red rashes as well as discharge, redness, or itchiness around the genitals.
- Bacterial Skin Infections - Minor bacterial infections can quickly spread in the warm, humid conditions inside your baby’s diaper. Bacterial skin infections are more likely to cause pimples, blisters, sores, and scabs compared to I.C.D or yeast infections.
- Allergic Dermatitis - Babies can develop diaper rash due to new products that irritate their sensitive skin. Diapers, wipes, creams, and ointments can potentially cause allergic reactions that lead to redness and itching.
How Can I Treat Diaper Rash? Three Diaper Rash Remedies
Depending on the type and severity of your baby’s diaper rash, you may need to see a pediatrician for treatment. Yeast infections, bacterial infections, and allergic dermatitis are bad diaper rashes that call for a trip to your local doctor’s office.
However, most cases of diaper rash are relatively mild and caused by irritant contact dermatitis (a.k.a. wet diapers). If your baby is facing a mild case of diaper rash, there are a few diaper rash treatment options you can pursue.
Diaper creams create an essential layer of protection between your baby’s skin and diaper that prevents further friction or chafing. The best diaper creams also soothe and moisturize your baby’s skin, healing diaper rashes faster and with less discomfort.
(Note: Be sure to apply your diaper creams properly, or your baby’s rash could worsen!)
If any of your baby’s products are contributing to their diaper rash, it’s essential to replace them with a gentler alternative. Make sure your diapers, wipes, and creams are free of chemicals or fragrances that are known to be potential irritants to avoid slowing down your efforts to treat the relevant diaper rash.
Ensuring your baby’s diapers fit securely (without being too snug!) can prevent friction and chafing that breaks down the skin and causes diaper rashes. If your baby constantly struggles with friction while wearing traditional diapers, switching to cloth diapers may help.
Can Diaper Cream Make Diaper Rash Worse?
Like many things, diaper creams' effectiveness relies on the way it’s used. When applied correctly, diaper cream is a fantastic diaper rash remedy that creates a smooth, friction-fighting barrier that soothes, heals, and protects irritated skin.
However, if diaper creams are applied incorrectly (like while the skin is damp or the cream is rubbed too heavily into the skin), diaper rashes can become more inflamed, more painful, and take longer to heal.
How to Safely Apply Diaper Cream
The safest and most effective way to apply diaper creams is with Finger Shields.
Finger Shields are the first 100% mess free diaper cream applicator that keeps your fingers & nails clean -- just slide onto your finger, apply diaper cream and then throw away! They are the best way to apply diaper cream and ointment so you don't have to clean (or scrape) off the gooey, greasy diaper cream from your fingers and nails. Plus they protect your finger from touching your baby's diaper rash and potentially transferring germs. Click here to learn more.