Prickly Pear Pediatrics

Diaper Rashes: My Top Tips

Baby in diaper

Diaper rashes are one of those things that get under parents’ skin (see what I did there?). They can come out of nowhere, be hard to get rid of, and make parents wonder: what am I doing wrong? Diaper rashes just happen, even if you are doing everything right. They usually happen because of a combination of factors. There is a lot of moisture and friction in the diaper area, pee and poop are irritating to the skin, and sometimes antibiotics or illness can change the skin pH in the diaper area. Here are my top tips for how to handle your baby’s diaper rash.

Tip #1: Air it Out

I’ve found that if there is one thing that universally helps with a diaper rash, it is “air time.” By air time, I mean let your baby lay without a diaper, skin exposed to air. The more air time that you can give them, the better. Of course, it is a bit dicey because you never know when and where they will pee or poop. But you can lay baby on top of some puppy pads to help prevent a big mess. Sometimes for a very raw, irritated diaper rash, blowing cool air with a hair dryer on low (no heat!) can help the rash improve faster.

Tip #2: Pat, Don’t Wipe

When the skin in the diaper area is already irritated and sensitive, firm wiping can further contribute to skin breakdown. If your baby’s skin is red and inflamed, try just gently patting with a damp soft cloth or running water over the skin, instead of using wipes. Also make sure if you do use wipes, they are fragrance free.

Tip #3: Frequent Diaper Changes

The longer poop or pee stays in contact with the skin, the more irritation it can cause. If your baby already has a diaper rash, try to change them into a dry diaper as quickly as you can. I know that is easier said than done, so just do the best you can.

Tip #4: Barrier Cream

Everyone wants to know what the absolute best diaper cream is. I think there are a lot of good options out there that can work. Not one brand has the perfect, magic, diaper cream. The goal is to find a thick, fragrance free, cream or ointment to slather on to protect the skin from irritating pee and poop. Diaper creams that are thick (like paste) and contain zinc oxide (Boudreaux butt paste, desitin, triple paste etc.) provide a good layer of protection. For pretty inflamed rashes, I recommend applying a thick layer of barrier cream and then spread some aquafor or petroleum jelly on top of the cream. When you change baby’s diaper, you don’t have to wipe off all of the barrier cream every time. Just wiping off the top layer can help protect the skin just by reducing the friction from the act of wiping.

Tip #5: Patience and Persistence

Skin heals gradually. Many times, it will take 5-7 days of practicing the above tips before your baby’s skin starts to go back to normal. The redness should start to disappear and is often replaced by a lighter pink that continues fade gradually. If you feel that after several days of following the above tips, the rash is looking worse instead of better, come see your friendly Pediatrician. We see A LOT of diaper rashes. We can help determine if there are signs of fungal or bacterial infection which would need a prescription ointment or cream.



Up To Date: Diaper Rash Basics

Baby in a diaper