What causes a diaper rash?
POOP! That’s right, poop. Urine does NOT cause diaper rash, but stool is the culprit for skin breakdown leading to rash. So poopy diapers that sit too long may cause a diaper rash, but more likely there is another root cause. That being said, never let a dirty diaper go for too long.
How does poop cause a rash?
Changes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can cause the acidity of poop to change. This can be anything from a common cold virus, antibiotics (especially Augmentin), or a change/transition to formula. The acidity against the skin causes the first layers of the skin to breakdown, leading to a rash, irritated, red skin, and sometimes even open sores.
How do I prevent a diaper rash?
There’s no need to apply diaper cream at every diaper change unless you start seeing redness. If you want, you can apply something such as coconut oil or Aquaphor, but it’s not necessary. I actually don’t apply anything unless I am starting to see redness.
If you know your baby needs antibiotics, then you should start a diaper rash regimen right away. This will protect the skin, hopefully preventing, but if not, then lessening the diaper rash. If you see that your baby is coming down with a cold, it never hurts to load their butt up with some cream.
How do I treat a diaper rash?
With my 48 hour diaper rash remedy!
Protecting the skin and creating a barrier between the skin and the poop is ESSENTIAL in order for the skin to heal. I am also convinced that conventional wipes cause diaper rash. Many even contain alcohol…OUCH! See below for my wipes recommendation.
Diaper creams that contain zinc oxide (Desitin or Baby Bum Paste) work best for creating a barrier. Baby Bum Paste is a natural solution with minimal ingredients – one of our favorites! The layer of zinc-containing diaper cream MUST BE THICK. This is key. So thick that you cannot see skin at all underneath it and when you take the diaper off at the next change, there should still be a layer on baby’s skin. ¼ inch thick is my recommendation.
A thick layer of Aquaphor should be applied on top of the zinc-containing cream. This seals in the zinc-containing cream and created an extra protective later. It’s also not as sticky as zinc, so the zinc stays on baby’s skin and not on the diaper.
Just a pee diaper:
If baby has a rash and there is only urine in the diaper, DO NOT WIPE. I REPEAT – DO NOT WIPE! You will wipe the newly formed skin RIGHT OFF, and then we are back at square one! (and plus…ouch!) Remember that urine doesn’t cause rashes, only poop. So a little pee never hurt anyone.
A poopy diaper:
If baby has a rash and a poopy diaper, PAT OFF THE POOP. DO NOT WIPE! I REPEAT – DO NOT WIPE! Use a water-based wipe. Again, we are trying to protect that sensitive layer of new skin, and if we wipe, we will wipe the newly formed skin off, putting us right back were we started. So, by patting the poop off, we are protecting that skin and allowing it to heal. (PS – there should still be visible diaper cream on the skin when you open a dirty/wet diaper)
Why you need a water-based wipe:
Many wipes contain alcohol = OUCH on open and sore skin!! Non-water based wipes also contain a ton of other things such as fragrance and other items I cannot pronounce. I really believe that non-water based wipes can cause skin breakdown or skin sensitivity. So especially for rashes, choose a water-based wipe.
Use a diaper cream spreader (trust me, you need one).
Kate’s 48 Hour Diaper Rash Remedy
- Apply a ¼ inch thick layer of a zinc-based diaper cream (Desitin or Baby Bum Paste) to the entire diaper area using a diaper cream spreader.
- Top with ¼ inch layer of Aquaphor.
- Close the diaper.
- If urine only at the next diaper, DO NOT WIPE. Repeat steps 1-3.
- If poop at the next diaper, PAT the poop off, do not wipe, using a water-based wipe. Repeat steps 1-3.
- Tylenol or Motrin as needed for pain.
*Follow instructions on the bottle based on age and weight. You may need to call your pediatrician for an exact dose based on weight, as often it’s more than the bottle states.
*if you cannot see visible diaper cream at the following diaper change, you need more zinc-based cream (Desitin or Baby Bum Paste)
What if I don’t see relief in 48 hours?
If you are not seeing relief or the rash is worsening within 48 hours, call you pediatrician. The rash is most likely fungal (yeast) based and baby will need an antifungal cream called nystatin or something similar. Don’t let this scare you – fungal diaper rashes are very common!
Fungal rashes usually have “satellite regions” – which in non-medical terms, are red, sometimes raised bumps scattered throughout the groin.
If your baby has a fungal rash, you will apply the antifungal cream first, then the diaper rash remedy.
**Noleo has an amazing 3-IN-1 baby wipe alternative that cleanses, moisturizes and prevents diaper rashes all in one cream! They have cotton pads to make it even easier to wipe and apply that holds moisture in and keeps baby’s skin hydrated. It’s made from all-natural ingredients and is safe for newborns to use too! Use code BUMBLEBABY5OFF for discount.
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above