Diaper Rash

General Illness Information

Medical Term:

Diaper Rash

Common Name: None Specified

Description: Rash in the diaper area of infants. It is a form of primary irritated contact dermatitis.


Diaper rash results from skin irritation caused by prolonged contact with substances in the urine and stool. The irritants are caused by the action of bacteria in the stools, reacting with chemicals in the urine. Studies show that the incidence of diaper rash in children using disposable diapers is the same as in children using cloth diapers.

Prevention: Diaper rash may be prevented by the following measures:

  • Changing diapers frequently;
  • For cloth diapers, rinsing them twice to remove detergents and other chemicals after washing;
  • Leaving diaper off for 10-30 minutes between diaper changes for air exposure;
  • Using cornstarch (as it reduces friction ) at diaper changes;
  • Avoid talcum powder because of the risk of inhalation pneumonia.

Signs & Symptoms

Moist, painful, red skin in the diaper area. The skin may be cracked and fissured and itchy.

Risk Factors

  • Infrequent diaper changes;
  • Friction from rough diapers. Waterproof diapers;
  •  Improper laundering of diapers;
  • Family history of skin allergies;
  • Hot, humid weather;
  • Diarrhea.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis is from the history and location of the rash.

General Measures:

  • Avoid rubber or plastic pants;
  • Expose the buttocks to air frequently;
  • Change diapers frequently;
  • Cleanse with cotton dipped in mineral oil, do not use soap after every diaper change. Use a mild soap such as Dove soap after bowel movements, and rinse thoroughly;
  • Discontinue using baby lotion, powder, ointment or baby oil unless prescribed to you;
  • Apply non-prescription petroleum jelly, lanolin-based ointment or zinc oxide ointment to the rash at the earliest sign of diaper rash, and for 2 or 3 times a day thereafter;
  • Launder cloth diapers with boiling water or use an antiseptic product manufactured for the purpose. Do not use fabric softeners as they may cause the rash.


  • Anti-inflammatory ointments or creams, such as hydrocortisone, in combination with anti-fungal creams such as nystatin or miconazole, applied to the skin may help relieve the rash;
  • If a bacterial infection is suspected, an antibiotic cream such as mupurocin (Bacteroban) should be used.


No restrictions


Avoid foods that cause diarrhea.

Possible Complications:

  • Yeast infection (Candida);
  • Secondary bacterial infection in the rash area.


  • Usually curable with treatment. Recurrence is common;
  • If not better within 3 to 4 days, a yeast infection is the most likely cause. Suspect this if the rash becomes bright red and raw, covers a large area, and is surrounded by red dots. In this case, see your doctor for a prescription.


Nothing Specified.

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