Guest post by Aly Barland, MD, a dermatologist at UCHealth Dermatology Clinic in Longmont, Colorado. Dr. Barland chose this field because she finds helping patients care for their skin and take preventative measures to reduce the risk of skin cancer, as well as controlling more chronic conditions, is a very rewarding practice.

One of the most common rashes in little ones can sometimes be the most challenging to prevent and treat. Diaper rash, or diaper dermatitis, is something that most parents encounter at some point. Diaper dermatitis is relatively self-explanatory but refers generally to a rash that occurs on the skin in the area covered by a diaper. Fortunately, with a few quick tips this problem can be made more manageable and even preventable.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to skin care in the diaper area is that skin here is often more sensitive and it does not take much to cause irritation.

Common Causes and Cures

  1. Urine or stool coming into direct contact with the skin.

This is the most common culprit for irritation on skin around the diaper area. Using a thick layer of diaper cream that functions as a protective barrier can help prevent this contact. Diapers should be changed as soon as possible once they become soiled and a new layer of diaper cream applied after gently cleaning off the skin and allowing the area to dry.

“When cleaning think more dabbing than wiping.”

It is important to discuss this routine with all caretakers, including daycare facilities, to make sure that your kiddo does not experience the discomfort of a bad diaper rash.

Irritant diaper rashes are quite common but occasionally the skin in the diaper area can also get infected; particularly once an irritant diaper dermatitis has been ongoing and the skin barrier has already been compromised. This is another reason it is crucial to keep the skin intact and happy with frequent diaper changes.

The most common types of infections that we see with diaper dermatitis are yeast (candida) or bacterial. If you have been instructed to use topical medications for this by your doctor it is important to put them directly on the skin for best treatment and then to layer diaper cream over the top of the medication.

2. Dietary changes or illness

Occasionally illness or dietary changes (in baby or even in a breastfeeding mom) can trigger diaper dermatitis as a result of bowel changes and loose stools. Using a water-based wipe with minimal additional ingredients is best, particularly for sensitive skin. Using just water to frequently clean the irritated area can dry out skin, but immediate application of a cream can help to offset this particularly while the skin is moist to help trap in that moisture and protect the skin from drying out. Fortunately, ABBY&FINN wipes are made with 99.7% triple purified water. Avoiding added fragrances, soaps and alcohols in wipes can help to eliminate a potential reaction. Super absorbent diapers can also aid in prevention because many diaper rashes are caused by moisture held in contact with the skin for too long.

You may want to consider that the diapers and/or wipes themselves could be part of the problem because of added dyes, fragrances or harmful chemicals that can commonly irritate the skin especially if an allergic reaction is what’s causing the main rash. Fortunately ABBY&FINN diapers and wipes are free of harmful substances like dyes, fragrances, chlorine, alcohol, parabens etc. To learn more about what is and is not in ABBY&FINN diapers and wipes, we’ve laid it all out here for you!

3. Incorrect fit or snug diapers

Another factor that can contribute to diaper rashes is ill-fitting or snug diapers that do not allow enough airflow to the skin underneath the diaper or that cause chafing of the skin. Using the appropriate size of diaper is an important factor in preventing this type of diaper rash. See the image below for diaper fit tips!

*Please note that ABBY&FINN diapers do run narrow/small compared to some brands like Pampers and Huggies. If you are used to these brands or are unsure, it is recommended to size up. Our sizing is most comparable to Honest and Seventh Generation.

It is important to see your pediatrician or dermatologist if the diaper rash is ongoing for more than a couple of weeks and is not improving. Though diaper dermatitis is quite common there are other skin conditions that can sometimes show up in the diaper area that are different than the standard diaper rash and may need different treatment. Hopefully your kiddo will have a rash free rear from now on!