6 Causes Of Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is an umbrella term, used to describe any type of redness or rash found in the area that a diaper covers. It is also referred to as dermatitis. While it mostly occurs with infants and toddlers, adults who must wear diapers can get it too. The most common type of diaper rash is “contact” dermatitis, which looks like a sunburn on the surface of the skin. Diaper rash is extremely common in babies, especially babies who are 9-12 months old. At this time in life, it is estimated that 7%-35% of all babies will have a diaper rash of some kind.

This is good news for concerned parents, as presence of diaper rash is not usually a sign of poor or neglectful parenting. And most diaper rash can be healed with home remedies or treated easily by a pediatrician. However, in some cases, persistent diaper rash that goes untreated can be a sign of neglectful parenting. For those parents who are worried about their child’s diaper rash, there are many different causes that can lead to diaper rash. Once you figure out what is causing the dermatitis on your baby, you can take measures to heal and prevent it in the future. Some causes are very basic and easy to treat. Others are more serious and require a medical professional’s help.

1. Irritation From Stool or Urine

Stool and urine left in a soiled diaper for too long can irritate a baby’s skin, which is extra sensitive. There are enzymes in stool called protease and lipase which irritate everyone’s skin, and stool also has microorganisms that can cause dangerous infections. Even if it doesn’t develop into an infection, stool irritates the skin and causes it to become inflamed and angry. Urine can be just as bad. When it breaks down, it releases ammonia all over the skin in contact. This raises the pH level of skin and causes it to become alkaline, which encourage the enzymes in stool to become more irritating. So while stool is bad enough, it is only compounded by the presence of urine.

This leads to diaper rash and can even cause some skin tissue damage over time. It is not good for a baby to be exposed to urine alone for extended periods of time either. Skin that is too alkaline can allow for bacteria to set up shop and grow in the area. Diapers should be changed often, and the area underneath should be kept clean and dry whenever a changing happens. This will prevent most diaper rashes related to stool, but if a rash still occurs, topical ointment is usually enough to treat it.