Some moms know a red bum all too well, while others have only seen it a day or two within the first year of life. Either way, when it happens, it can leave us momma’s feeling helpless, when really it’s a complete normalcy that we shouldn’t fear, yet arm ourselves against. There are ways to help heal as well as avoid unnecessary diaper rash irritants to help our babies skin keep clear.
What causes diaper rash?
- Prolonged exposure to urine and especially stool
- Friction of a diaper not fitting properly causing chafing or rubbing
- Irritation from commercial wipes, creams and powders
- Introduction of new foods or consumption of acidic foods
- Infection; bacterial or yeast
- Antibiotic use (by baby and mom), which kills bad and good bacteria, disrupting healthy flora
What should I do when diaper rash appears?
- DON’T WIPE! Remember those first few days after giving birth? You wouldn’t touch yourself with a wipe because the area was sensitive. This is essentially the same irritation (minus a ton of the pain we dealt with) that a baby feels, so using water to squirt clean is much less irritating.
- Air it out. Yep, that means letting the babe crawl or run around like a wild child, but if you opt to throw on another diaper, you’re essentially letting the rash sit in a moisture filled area which can help it spread.
- Opt for a homemade essential oil cream that is free of petroleum and artificial ingredients since they can further irritate skin. In a pinch, I turn to a trustworthy brand for soothing.
- Ditch the powders. There is much controversy in the baby powder market. To the naked eye, the ingredient list can seem harmless: talc & fragrance. But hold on, the powder when you shake that bottle becomes airborne and inhaled, not only by you but your little one. Fragrance is known to contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, but the real culprit is talc, which may contain asbestos. Even the talc & fragrance free alternates have particles that when inhaled, cause lung irritation and breathing trouble.
How can I prevent unnecessary diaper rash?
- Toss out those irritating wipes. Commercial wipes are made with ingredients that irritate a baby’s sensitive skin. You can easily make your own wipes, buy some re-usable wipes and use an easy homemade version or opt for the free & clear brands of wipes that are sans the irritants. It’s best to wipe with unscented or plain water wipes.
- Avoid diaper rash creams unless absolutely necessary. For regular use, wipe coconut oil on baby’s bottom between diaper changes to prevent diaper rash and leaving skin protected.
- Determine the cause. This webpage (summarized & pasted at the bottom of this post) is an incredible source for determining what type of diaper rash your child may have that can help you gear your defense against healing and protecting from further breakouts. Since there are many reasons why a rash can form, it’s important to distinguish the difference to properly care and protect your baby.
In between the diaper rash and to keep my child’s bum free and clear, I make Tushy Spray. It’s easier than applying a cream and is gentle enough to not make their bums reliant on a product.
- 4oz glass spray bottle
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 2 drops Lavender essential oil
- 2 drops Melaleuca essential oil
- 2 drops Myrrh essential oil
If you don’t already have a resource to buy certified pure essential oils, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s important to have the certified pure kind (not synthetic or food grade) so it will be sure to work properly and not further irritate.
To make, put the 6 total drops of essential oil into the spray bottle. Top the rest of the spray bottle off with the fractionated coconut oil. Spray directly on diaper area in between changes to nourish the skin and keep diaper rash at bay.
Identifying Specific Diaper Rash
Here are a few diaper rashes that can be more than just irritation from the stool, urine, and diaper. They usually require more specific therapy:
1. Contact Diaper Rash: This is simply the regular rash.
- Appearance – flat, red, irritated skin. When severe, skin will peel or blister and slough off.
2. Intertrigo: This is a specific rash that occurs within the skin folds and creases around the diaper area where the skin rubs together.
- Appearance – Heat and moisture mixed with urine cause a red, burn-like appearance.
3. Yeast Rash: When the skin is damaged, yeast from the intestines can invade the skin. This especially occurs with antibiotic use or prolonged rash.
- Appearance – it is a red, raised, patchy rash with sharp borders, mostly over the genitalia but with satellite spots sprinkled around the diaper area.
4. Impetigo: This occurs when bacteria invade the damaged skin.
- Appearance – coin-sized blisters or red raised patches that ooze a honey-colored crust.
5. Seborrhea: An inflammatory condition that can affect different parts of the body, but can be especially severe in the diaper area.
- Appearance – a big, red, sharply demarcated patch over the groin, genitalia, and lower abdomen. It can be more raised, rough, thick, and greasy than the other rashes.
6. Allergy Ring: A variety of foods can irritate baby’s bottom, especially acidic foods such as citrus and tomato-based sauces.
- Appearance – a red ring around baby’s anus.
When to Worry
None of the diaper rashes discussed here are so serious that they warrant an urgent call to your doctor in the evening or overnight. They generally can wait to be evaluated and treated by your doctor’s office the following day.