condition icon

Nappy Rash

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 3 minutes read

Nappy rash is a really common skin infection that occurs in young children as a reaction to urine or poo. A fungal infection called candida is often involved in the inflamed skin, leaving a very bright red notable rash around the genitals. The skin can also become hot, sore and blister-filled. Rarely, it is caused by other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.

How can nappy rash be treated?

If the rash is mild, it can be managed using a barrier cream like bepanthen or metanium cream. Apply this to your baby's skin after each nappy change. This is available from your local pharmacy. If the symptoms cause your baby discomfort your doctor may recommend an antifungal cream or a steroid cream to reduce redness and inflammation. This is usually applied thinly to the area, twice a day for seven days. There are, in fact, six different creams to help with nappy rash.

After bathing your child, ensure that the area is clean and dry and avoid putting nappies on whilst the area is damp or moist. Where possible, leave the nappy off to get fresh air onto your baby’s skin.

What can I do to prevent nappy rash occurring?

Preventing nappy rash requires proactive steps to keep your baby's skin clean, dry, and healthy. Here are some tips to help prevent nappy rash:

Frequent Nappy Changes

Change your baby's nappy regularly, at least every 2-3 hours or as soon as it becomes wet or soiled. Prolonged exposure to urine and faeces can irritate the skin and contribute to nappy rash.

Keep the Area Clean

Clean your baby's nappy area thoroughly during each nappy change. Use mild, fragrance-free baby wipes or a soft cloth with warm water to gently cleanse the skin. Avoid harsh soaps, wipes containing alcohol, or wipes with fragrance, as these can irritate the skin.

Allow Circulation

Give your baby's skin time to air dry before putting on a fresh nappy. Letting your baby go nappy-free for short periods, such as during nappy-free time, can help keep the skin dry and reduce moisture buildup.

Right Nappies

Opt for breathable, absorbent nappies that wick moisture away from the skin. Consider using nappies specifically designed for sensitive skin or those labelled hypoallergenic.

Apply Barrier Cream

Use a thin layer of barrier cream or ointment with each nappy change to protect your baby's skin from moisture and irritation. Look for products containing zinc oxide or petroleum jelly, which create a protective barrier against wetness and friction.

Avoid Tight-Fitted Clothes

Dress your baby in loose-fitting, breathable clothing to allow for air circulation and minimise friction against the skin. Tight clothing or nappies that are too snug can rub against the skin and exacerbate nappy rash.

Be Gentle with Cleaning

When cleaning the nappy area, avoid rubbing or scrubbing the skin vigorously, as this can further irritate delicate skin. Instead, pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel or allow it to air dry.

Change Nappies Overnight

Even if your baby sleeps through the night, it's essential to check and change their nappy if it's wet or soiled to prevent prolonged exposure to moisture and reduce the risk of nappy rash.

When should I see a doctor?

If the skin is not improving despite all these measure and inflammation is worsening, there may be a bacterial infection. Your doctor can examine the area and decide if antibiotics are needed, either in the form of a cream or tablets, depending on the extent of the infection.

How long does nappy rash take to heal?

With appropriate hygiene practices, nappy rash usually clears up after three days. If the rash is caused by a fungus or bacteria and is causing your child discomfort, it may take a week or two to completely heal.

Was this helpful?

Was this helpful?

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
App Store
Google Play
Piff tick
Version 2.28.0
© 2024 Healthwords Ltd. All Rights Reserved