Diaper rash can be common, especially in the first year of a child’s life. But while there is sometimes not much you can do to avoid it, there are many things to be aware of that can trigger an angry, red rash.
Chafing or rubbing
This most frequent form of diaper rash can appear quickly if baby is wearing a diaper that is too tight or clothes that rub against the skin. However it can disappear just as fast if air is exposed to the area, so try to leave them without a diaper as long as possible—just beware of the other risk of leaving a baby without a diaper on!
Since diapers were created to keep moisture from getting out, that means that outside air cannot get in. This causes skin to become warm and moist. Add in urine—which releases ammonia when it breaks down—and the prolonged exposure to wetness can cause diaper rash. Frequent bowel movements and diarrhea can further irritate the area.
A change in a baby’s diet can also cause a change in their stool as well as increase their number of bowel movements. Both of which can lead to diaper rash. If the baby is not on solids yet—and still exclusively breastfeeding—the rash can be a result of something the mother has eaten. Keep an eye on certain foods, like: dairy, citrus, and tomato-based products first, as they are known to cause irritation.
Babies on antibiotics or breastfed babies whose mothers are on antibiotics have a higher chance of getting a diaper rash. The reason being is antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria (a.k.a. “flora”), which keeps the yeast in your body in check. Some yeast is okay as every body has a harmless amount. But since yeast thrives in areas that are moist and warm, a diaper rash can quickly turn into a yeast infection. A telltale sign is if a diaper rash tends to hang around longer than a couple days. Or if the area covered by the diaper is beefy red with sharp raised borders and white scales.
New wipes or diapers
Sometimes the harsh chemicals in a certain brand of wipes or diapers (or detergent used on cloth diapers) can cause your baby to have an allergic reaction. Because chemicals tend to dry out and irritate a baby’s sensitive skin, it is best to use organic products or those containing only natural ingredients.
To help ease the discomfort of diaper rash and help prevent new rashes, create a moisture barrier—without chemicals. Use a natural product like California Baby’s new, improved Diaper Rash Ointment, which is now preservative-free and 49 percent more concentrated. For an attack on all fronts, also use the brand’s Non-Burning & Calming™ Diaper Area Wash, Non-Talc Powder and Diaper Rash Cream.