Need some tips to overcome diaper rash? Nursing for Women’s Health Journal recently published an article* with some great tips to prevent and cure diaper rash. This post will cover non-infectious diaper rash, also known as irritant or chaffing dermatitis. If your baby has diaper rash that will not go away, there is skin breakdown, or you would use words like crusty or vesicles to describe the diaper rash, it is best to seek medical treatment.
This article suggests an ABCDE approach.
Air – let your baby air out when possible. After baths or diaper changes letting the diaper area dry before putting back on a diaper is a great time to expose your baby’s skin to the air. If your baby isn’t yet a mover, you could try laying them on an absorbent diaper changing mat to hang out for a bit, just in case they do let loose!
Barrier – If your baby has frequent rashes you may want to consider diaper rash cream to be part of your diaper routine. The best creams contain zinc and petroleum for protection. Though you are welcome to try alternatives. The key to a barrier is to lay it on thick, covering much of the diaper area or at least where the rash typically appears. The cream should NOT be removed during diaper changes, but simply wiped as you would normally. No scrubbing. This may be a little more difficult to do when poop is present, and a very wet wipe may help in this case. If your baby currently has a rash, you would follow the same tips as the preventative method, taking much care to cover the rash areas thickly with cream.
Cleansing – Always be gentle during a diaper change, avoiding scrubbing to remove diaper contents. If you have a particularly messy diaper, a soak in the tub might be your best option, especially if baby frequently suffers from diaper rash. If commercial wipes are used, it is best to avoid perfumes. If made at home wipes are used, choosing a soft clothe is best.
Diapering – There is not enough evidence to recommend cloth vs disposable diapers, but what is known is, frequent diaper changes are important. Diapers should be changed every 1 to 3 hours during the day. Crazy talk, I know. Let’s say your child does not have a rash, and you change their diaper every 3 hours, really that is only 4-5 times during the day. Not terrible. What if you are in prevention mode? Aiming for every 2 hours is certainly reasonable. And if you are trying to cure, I would change the baby’s diaper each time it seems wet. The types of diaper rashes we are talking about here should clear up in about 3 days. Easy? No. Doable? Probably yes. A few other tips would be to change the diaper once in the middle of the night if you are clearing a rash, but certainly immediately before bed and upon waking. And always change a poop as soon as it is detected!
Education- The E stands for educating parents, and is written from a health care providers standpoint, so for “E” I thought I would add a few more educational that came from the article and a few of my own.
- Wash hands before and after diaper changes, this is particularly important if there is any skin breakdown
- Try changing diaper brand, type (cloth vs disposable), or size if your baby is having recurrent rashes
- Try changing wipes brand or type of wipes. Look for ones without alcohol (huggies and pampers both have alcohol free versions, seventh generation seems to be completely alcohol free)
- Wipe front to back (in both genders)
- Pat the diaper area dry before replacing the diaper
Anything you have found particularly helpful in clearing up a diaper rash?
*article reference: Clinicians Discuss Diaper Dermatitis. (2015). Nursing for Women's Health, 19(5), 422-429.