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Nappy rash

Written by Healthwords's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 25.04.2023 | 2 min 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.

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?

Change your baby's nappies frequently can be a good preventative measure, ensuring that you clean the area thoroughly moving from the front to the back (and not the other way around). If your baby has sensitive skin, try to avoid using wipes or products which contain fragrance, chemicals or alcohol.

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.

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