Diaper Rash Causes

As long as there have been diapers there has been diaper rash. In olden days it was believed that urine soaked diapers were protective and they were not rinsed out but were laid by the fire to dry overnight.

Diaper Rash Causes

Diaper rash can have several causes from simple chaffing of the wet or soiled diaper on the skin to yeast and bacterial infections. It doesn't take prolonged exposure to the urine or feces, a diaper rash can instantly appear sometimes with even the most frequent diaper changes. Diaper rash is also common following mom or baby's oral antibiotic treatments which can kill the good intestinal bacteria in your stomach and intestines as well as the bad ones.

Contact Rash

The most common type of diaper rash is the contact rash. When the skin comes into contact with urine and feces it becomes irritated. Add chaffing from the diaper and you have "contact rash." This generally looks like a red, irritated area which can peel. Diaper rash can be dull or bright red with or without welts, raised areas, or red spots within the main diaper rash area.

Yeast Diaper Rash - Candidal Diaper Rash

Sometimes a baby can get a yeast infection not necessarily in conjunction with thrush either from mom or independently. The diaper rash yeast causes - candidal diaper rash or fungal diaper rash - will look similar to ordinary diaper rash but have lesions outside the main diaper rash area, like in this picture of yeast diaper rash. A yeast/fungal diaper rash will normally appear worse in the folds of the skin or around the anus. Any of the natural treatments which are used to treat thrush or a yeast infection (such as genetian violet or acidophilus with bifidus) can be applied topically to the yeast diaper rash. Never use cornstarch with a yeast rash. Corn starch provides the yeast with an increased food source which can make the infection worse.

Bacterial Diaper Rash

Another type of diaper rash is the bacterial diaper rash. Skin already compromised by an ordinary diaper rash is susceptible to bacterial infections. A bacterial rash will look like a general diaper rash with areas of blisters or tiny white bumps.

Allergy Diaper Rash

The least common baby diaper rash is caused by an allergic reaction to foods in baby's or mom's diet, or to fragrances or chemicals in laundry detergent used to wash cloth diapers or in wipes used on baby's bottom. This type of baby diaper rash generally looks like a red ring around baby's anus.

If you are cloth diapering try adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle or changing your laundry detergent to something fragrance free. Don't be fooled by marketing language on the box, hold the box to your nose and smell it. If it smells like fragrance, it is not fragrance free. Never use fabric softener on diapers or baby clothes - if you use the right amount of detergent you won't need them.

It is always a good idea to keep a food journal when introducing solids to your baby. In that way you can easily identify new foods that may cause an allergic reaction like diaper rash or spitting up. If you are breastfeeding it's a good idea to keep a journal of what you are eating so you can identify which foods you are eating that might be causing or contributing to an existing diaper rash.

Be sure to choose diaper wipes that are fragrance free but you can also use plain water and soft Kleenex (tm) or cut up strips of soft cotton flannel.

Next - Caring for Your Baby's Bottom - Diaper Rash Remedies and Diaper Rash Quick Cures

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