Nappy Rash - Facts

Nappy Rash - Facts
What Is Nappy Rash?

It is a general term used to describe a skin irritation or red rash found on a baby's skin, in the area only normally covered by a nappy.

What Causes Nappy Rash?

Nappy rash is most commonly caused by prolonged contact with urine and faeces. The skin becomes inflamed, and in very severe cases nappy rash can cause breaks in the skin or even blisters which can become infected. Nappy rash can still occur however, even when the nappy area is frequently cleaned and the nappy changed regularly. Friction caused by rubbing of the nappy against the baby's skin, alcohol used in some baby wipes, a change in diet for example from breast milk to formula milk, and strong washing detergents not thoroughly rinsed out of cloth nappies can also contribute to the development of nappy rash.

Nevertheless, not all skin conditions found in the nappy area are nappy rash, other conditions which can cause similar symptoms are:

Bullet  Heat rash
Bullet  Eczema
Bullet  Thrush
Bullet  Seborrhoeic dermatitis (a condition where excess sebum is produced by glands in the skin)

What Does Nappy Rash Look Like?

You can recognise nappy rash from a number of signs:

Bullet  Redness in the nappy area, sometimes spreading down the upper thighs or up onto the tummy
Bullet  Sore, blotchy, spotty skin in the nappy area
Bullet  Patches of dry, flaky skin in the nappy area

Nappy rash caused by the contents of the nappy will often not affect the folds of the skin, as the skin here does not come into contact with the irritant.

In more severe or infected cases you may see:

Bullet  Cracked, broken skin
Bullet  Blisters
Bullet  Pus filled spots

Are There Any Other Symptoms Of Nappy Rash To Look Out For?

Nappy rash is not a serious medical condition but it can be uncomfortable, causing babies to become fretful and possibly cry.

When Is Nappy Rash Likely to Occur?

Nappy rash can occur at any time whilst a baby is in nappies, with some being more prone to the condition than others, for example if they have sensitive skin. However, there are certain times when babies are more susceptible to nappy rash, such as:

Bullet  During teething
Bullet  Changing from breast to bottle feeding
Bullet  After antibiotics, which can upset a baby's digestive system, causing diarrhoea
Bullet  Starting on solid foods
Bullet  Drinking cows' milk for the first time

How Can I Treat Nappy Rash?

Nappy rash is a common condition which affects many babies. Treatments such as Sudocrem® Antiseptic Healing Cream and Healthwise Clinic Purple Balm may be effective in treating nappy rash.

What Else Can Be Done To Cure Nappy Rash?

Other things to remember when treating nappy rash are:
Bullet  Wherever possible leave the baby without a nappy on as the warm, dry air will encourage healing.
Bullet  If treated correctly, nappy rash should clear up within a few days, however if the rash persists or gets worse, consult your doctor or a healthcare professional.

What Can Be Done To Avoid Nappy Rash?

Bullet  Change nappies frequently, as soon as they become wet or dirty, this will minimise the chance of irritation from contact with urine and stools. As a guideline, you may find that a newborn baby requires changing a dozen times a day and as they grow older at least 6-8 times a day.
Bullet  Use warm water to cleanse the skin, rather than wipes.
Bullet  Ensure that the area is clean and dry before putting a fresh nappy on.
Bullet  Rather than rubbing, pat the skin dry with a towel.
Bullet  Apply a water- repellant cream to the area such as Sudocrem® at every nappy change to protect the skin.
Bullet  Wash cloth nappies with a non-biological detergent and rinse thoroughly.
Bullet  Leave your baby's bottom exposed to the air whenever possible.

Whichever creams you decide to use, you should always read the label.

February 2007 - revised Oct14

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