Baby's diaperYou can't do without diapers but at the same time you have to deal with problems associated with diapers. No doubt it is a wonderful invention but still it causes great discomfort if care is not taken. A rash in the diaper area might be caused by friction, irritants, allergies, infections, seborrhea, psoriasis, diarrhea, or a long list of systemic diseases. Skin wetness is the common denominator underlying the various causes of diaper rash. Urinary wetness increases skin friction, raises the skin pH, makes the skin less cohesive, and makes it more permeable. These effects combine to intensify the action of stool enzymes or other irritants that then inflame the skin. In all of the diaper rashes mentioned above, the outermost layer of skin--stratum corneum--has been damaged. With this protective layer breached, it is easy for microorganisms such as yeast or bacteria to invade the inflamed skin. This makes the rash worse and less responsive to the usual treatments.

Types of rashes:

Irritant rash:

This is most conspicuous on the exposed areas, such as the round part of the buttocks. It tends to spare skin folds and creases. It's generally the result of contact with stool enzymes or irritants such as harsh soaps, baby wipes, detergents, or topical medicines.

Allergic rash:
This may occur in combination with an irritant rash or by itself. It is also more common in exposed areas. The rash looks like poison oak.

Moist heat causes this common type of diaper rash that occurs deep in the skin folds. The involved skin looks thin, as if it has lost several layers.

Seborrhea rash:

A salmon-colored, greasy rash with yellowish scales characterizes this diaper rash that is also worse in the skin folds.

This stubborn rash doesn't necessarily look distinctive. Other signs of psoriasis usually accompany the diaper rash, such as pitting of the nails or dark red areas with sharp borders and fine silvery scales on the trunk, face, or scalp.


Yeast is by far the most common type of organism found in a diaper rash. The organism is quite prevalent and thrives in warm, moist skin. Yeast involvement should be suspected in any diaper rash that has not improved dramatically with 72 hours of appropriate therapy. Current or recent antibiotic use makes a yeast infection even more likely, since this reduces the amount of the skin's "good" bacteria that fight infection. Classically, a yeast rash is beefy red with sharp raised borders and white scales. Small satellite lesions surround the main rash. Even without the classic pattern, yeast is often present.

How to prevent diaper rash:
Change dirty diapers as soon as possible, gently cleaning the diaper area to reduce exposure to urine and stool. Airing out the diaper area can help prevent rashes.
Breastfeeding, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, and taking yogurt or beneficial bacteria when antibiotics are needed can prevent diaper rashes.

Normally common diaper rashes are treated with frequent diaper changes, airing out, and protective lotions or creams while the baby is in the diaper. Yeast diaper rashes require the addition of an anti-yeast cream. The treatment of other specific diaper rashes varies depending on the specific type.

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