Nappy Rash and Baby’s Sensitive Skin

Nappy rash is very common, and your baby can experience it regardless of how well they’re cared for. Your baby’s skin is delicate and can be easily irritated by urine, stools, soaps, and chemicals found in baby wipes, nappies, and creams.

What are the causes of nappy rash?

  • Babies have sensitive skin, and some more sensitive than others. The most common cause of nappy rash is when the skin becomes red and irritated after contact with ammonia, the chemical in urine and bowel excrements. It’s more likely to occur if nappies aren’t changed often enough, particularly when babies have diarrhoea.
  • Nappy rash can also be caused by inadequate drying after bathing a baby but usually that rash is confined to the skin creases at the top of a baby’s thighs.
  • Babies may also develop nappy rash when starting on solid foods, and drinking cow’s milk for the first time.
  • Some parents report that nappy rash is worse when their baby is teething; others suggest that a change from disposable to cloth nappies or vice versa causes the flair up of the rash. Some detergents may also trigger it in some babies.

What are the symptoms of nappy rash?

  • Red, tender skin in the nappy area.
  • With more severe nappy rash, your baby may develop bright red spots, dry, cracked or broken skin and possibly swellings, ulcers and blisters on the skin around the nappy area.
  • Your baby may be unsettled, and irritable at nappy changing time.
  • The rash can sometimes spread down the legs or up on to the tummy.

How can I avoid nappy rash?

  1. The best way to keep your baby’s bottom as rash-free as possible is to change nappies often so that urine and poo is not in contact with skin for too long. Keep your baby clean, and wash their skin gently with water or a wet cloth.
  2. If using baby wipes, choose ones without alcohol or perfumes, especially when there is a rash present. After cleaning, put on some zinc cream or other nappy rash cream to keep moisture off of the skin. And do not use powder such as talcum powder which may irritate the skin.
  3. Make sure to have some nappy-free time, and while a baby has a nappy rash, it may be helpful to use disposable nappies which draw the urine away from the baby’s skin, keeping it dry.
  4. Consult your doctor if the rash persists


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