Diaper Dermatitis

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What is Diaper Dermatitis?

Diaper dermatitis, commonly known as a diaper rash, is a term used to describe different skin rashes in the diapered area. The rash is usually red, moist, bumpy and, rarely, ulcerated. It is most commonly seen in infants between the ages of 9 to 12 months, but may begin within the first 2 months of life.

What are the signs and symptoms of Diaper Dermatitis?

The symptoms of diaper dermatitis vary depending on the cause of the dermatitis, and may be different for each child that is affected. The following are common characteristics of each type of rash:

  • Candida diaper dermatitis - this rash usually begins in the creases or folds of the thighs and in the diaper area, and then spreads. The rash is usually a deep, red, shiny rash with red, satellite bumps or pus bumps. This type of rash may be associated with thrush, a yeast infection in the baby's mouth.
  • Seborrheic diaper dermatitis - this rash also affects the skin folds in the groin area and is usually pink and moist. Infants may also have this rash on their scalp, neck, or underarms at the same time.
  • Irritation diaper dermatitis - this rash is mostly seen on the buttocks and may extend to the thighs, stomach, and waist area, but does not generally involve folds in the area. The skin is usually red, raw, and easily irritated.

The symptoms of diaper dermatitis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

What are the causes of Diaper Dermatitis?

Possible contributors to diaper dermatitis include the following:

  • Irritation - from urine and feces trapped in the diaper.
  • Candida diaper dermatitis - dermatitis caused by a yeast infection in the diaper area, begins with irritation.
  • Seborrheic diaper dermatitis - a common, chronic skin condition that can affect the diaper area and other skin creases.

How is Diaper Dermatitis treated?

Treatment for diaper dermatitis will vary based on the cause of the dermatitis. Treatment may include:

  • Medicated diaper cream (as prescribed by your child's physician) - such as Nystatin, Lotrimin, Spectazole, or Mentax
  • Anti-inflammatory creams (Hydrocortisone)
  • Moisture-resistant diaper creams (Zinc oxide paste, Aquaphor)

Proper skin care is also very important in preventing diaper dermatitis. This includes:

  • Keeping the diaper area clean and dry.
  • Changing diapers frequently.
  • Allowing the diaper area to air dry at times.
  • Limiting the use of soap and other harsh cleaners in the diaper area.