10 things you must know about nappy rash


1. It's easy to spot

If you notice red, inflamed and irritated skin in your baby's nappy area, you're looking at contact nappy rash. Sometimes, in severe cases, the skin may even peel off or blister.

2. It's caused by the contents of your baby's nappy

Your baby's skin is about half the thickness of yours, so it's super sensitive. When the skin of her bottom comes into contact with urine or stools it can get aggravated, particularly if she's left in a dirty nappy for a bit too long. This is because stools contain digesting enzymes that can break down baby's skin. The same happens with ammonia, a component of urine.

3. Sometimes it's on more areas than just her bum

Nappies sometimes leak- we've all been victims of this runny mess! This means that any part of your baby's skin that comes into contact with the leaky nappy contents is vulnerable to nappy rash too, like your baby's thighs, groin area and lower back. While it's important to not fasten your baby's nappy too tightly (squashing th contents up close to her skin), try to make sure that it's tight enough to prevent a leak.

4. Changing the nappy often won't get rid of it

Once that nappy rash appears, no amount of nappy changing will make it go away. While regular nappy changing helps to prevent nappy rash, it won't treat it. For that, you need a little something else- a cream or ointment.

5. Wet wipes can even make it worse

The chemicals that some wet wipes contain can just irritate your baby's already red and inflamed skin further. Rather stick to wiping your baby's bottom with cotton wool balls dipped in cooled, boiled water until rash clears up.

6. A bit of air helps

Let your baby spend some time without a nappy on every day. The fresh air on her skin helps to dry out the rash and gives the skin in that area a bit of a break from being in contact with moisture (even sweat can aggravate a rash once its set in).

7. There's prevention and there's the cure

Using a barrier cream is a good preventative measure. Use it before any nappy rash appears as it helps to form a protective layer between your baby's skin and the contents of the nappy. Use bum creams with medicinal additives to treat existing nappy rash symptoms. 

8. Too much bum cream can make it worse

Slathering on too much bum cream can leave a film cream behind our baby's nappy. This decreases the chances of a nappy rash. Rather apply a thin layer of bum cream that will still protect your baby's skin while allowing the nappy to do its job properly.

9. It might not be a nappy rash

There are other causes of red, inflamed skin in the nappy area, including eczema and thrush. If you think it might be something other than a nappy rash, rather get it checked out by a doctor.

10. Sometimes it needs something a bit stronger

If you've used over-the-counter bum creams to no avail and the rash just keeps persisting, take your baby to the doctor, who will recommend a prescription ointment that is stronger or even diagnose an underlying issue. If the rash is coupled with a fever, take your baby to the doctor immediately, as an infection may have set in. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24