Diaper rash is a skin irritation that appears due to exposure to various factors (friction, constant contact with moisture, etc.). Diaper rash also occurs in adults, but more often in young children. If you notice this problem in time, you can deal with it quickly, eliminating any complications. The main thing is to carefully monitor the baby’s condition and strictly follow the pediatrician’s recommendations.


Table of contents

  • Why do children get diaper rash?
  • Symptoms of varying degrees of diaper rash
  • How to distinguish diaper rash from other diseases?
  • Possible complications
  • What to do?
  • Prevention


Diaper rash in newborns is a skin irritation accompanied by local redness and inflammation, which most often affects children aged 2-3 weeks to 12 months. Diaper rash can appear under the influence of factors such as:

  • mechanical impact – friction of the skin against the diaper, due to uncomfortable underwear or incorrectly selected clothes;
  • contact with irritants, for example, enzymes in urine and feces;
  • prolonged contact with moisture – the child often sweats or his skin is not sufficiently wiped after bathing;
  • overheating – the newborn is dressed too warmly or is in a hot room.

The reasons for the frequent occurrence of diaper rash in a child under 1 year of age lie in the structural features of the baby’s skin.

The top “protective” layer of human skin is called the stratum corneum. In children, it has a very small thickness, which increases sensitivity to various kinds of irritants and microtraumas occur more often.

The space between the cells that make up the stratum corneum is filled by a lipid-protein structure, which is also called the lipid barrier. This barrier represents the skin’s natural protection from environmental influences. In children, it can be destroyed due to frequent bathing, improper selection of hygiene products, or simply during active movement. Moreover, the pH of the skin of newborns normalizes closer to 3 months – until this age, relatively low acidity does not protect well from possible inflammation.

Due to such physiological characteristics, the smallest children are more susceptible to diaper rash on the skin. The risk of developing this problem increases if the baby has a tendency to allergies, is overweight, and if the blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. In addition, girls suffer from diaper rash much more often than boys.

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Diaper rash (or diaper dermatitis) in a child has 3 degrees of severity, each of which is characterized by its own symptoms ;

  • 1st degree – slight local redness. Most often they are localized in the folds of the skin (in the groin, armpits, arms and legs, neck), between the buttocks and in the lower abdomen, where the elastic band of the diaper is located. When they appear, the child is most often calm, there are no signs of discomfort, the skin is not damaged;
  • Grade 2 – in addition to redness, microcracks appear on the skin. In this case, the redness is more pronounced, traces of erosion are noticeable, and rarely, small pustules. At this stage, the baby becomes restless, may reach out with his hands to irritated areas of the skin, be capricious during hygiene procedures, putting on a diaper;
  • Stage 3 – the most severe diaper rash. Erosion and redness intensify at this stage, and the cracks begin to become wet. The skin becomes covered with ulcers and small ulcers. They cause pain and itching that interfere with the child’s ability to sleep, eat, and play.

If you notice severe symptoms of diaper rash, you should consult a pediatrician, because such irritation can easily be confused with more serious diseases, and only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis, as well as prescribe treatment that is safe for the baby.


The main method for diagnosing diaper rash is visual inspection. It is performed in the hospital by a pediatrician or dermatologist. When the problem is accompanied by any complications, scraping and bacteriological culture may be prescribed. Parents of small children can easily confuse the 3rd degree of severity of diaper rash with other diseases – dermatitis of various natures, infectious and fungal diseases, so it is important to know the main differences between diaper rash and other diseases.

For diaper rash :

  • irritation is localized in skin folds and where there is friction with clothing or a diaper. An allergic rash can appear in other places, for example, on the face, back, chest;
  • at the earliest stage, the skin becomes pink or slightly red. This condition may persist for several days and disappear on its own with proper care. In infectious diseases, changes are more pronounced and do not go away without specialized treatment;
  • the edges of the affected area are usually jagged and without clear boundaries. Skin lesions due to infectious diseases may look different. For example, with lichen, the affected areas have clear raised contours and slightly lighter areas in the center;
  • redness with 1–2 degrees of diaper rash does not bleed; there are no nodules or rashes that occur with allergic dermatitis;
  • The appearance of diaper rash occurs without the increase in temperature that usually accompanies rubella, roseola and other childhood diseases.

It is important to remember that if you have problems with your baby’s health, even if they seem minor at first glance, you need to consult a doctor. It is not advisable to use any means independently and without his recommendation, since not all of them are suitable for young children.


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Diaper rash is easy to treat if you pay attention to it in time. It is important to understand that irritated skin in young children, especially if wet areas and microcracks appear on it, is very sensitive to negative external factors. If parents ignore the problem or ignore the pediatrician’s instructions, this seemingly minor problem can cause complications. Among them are :

  • bacterial infections – damage by streptococci and other microorganisms, causing pustules and ulcers;
  • fungal infections – candidiasis in the genital area, groin and anus.

Moreover, with severe diaper rash, the child becomes very restless. Painful sensations, itching, burning and discomfort with every movement do not allow the baby to eat normally, interfere with sleep and spoil the state of health even in a state of play or rest.


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For first degree diaper rash, are recommended :

  • choose the optimal hygiene products – refuse reusable diapers and diapers that cause irritation, change the brand of diaper if diaper rash appears from a diaper;
  • provide proper care – thoroughly wash the baby, dry the skin completely, make sure that air is regularly supplied to it;
  • eliminate overheating – the child should not be hot during rest or active play; it is also important to regulate the air temperature in the room where he spends most of his time;
  • choose suitable clothes – if redness appears on the neck or armpits, you can only put on the child things that will not rub or put pressure on the problem areas.
  • Use special ointments or creams under the diaper that reduce irritation and restore the baby’s skin. It is recommended to use such products regularly. Every time you change a diaper.

If diaper rash has progressed to degree 2 or 3 of severity, a doctor should prescribe appropriate treatment, based on the individual characteristics of the child and his current condition. A specialist may recommend the use of ointments to restore and protect the skin, drying compresses, medicinal baths with herbal decoctions and other additives. To achieve a positive effect as quickly as possible, an integrated approach will be required. Parents will need to not only take the measures recommended by the doctor, but also make adjustments to the child’s care regimen.

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To prevent diaper rash from returning, it is important to provide the baby with proper care.

  • Hygiene
Feces and urine contain aggressive substances that irritate the skin. If they come into contact with the skin for a long time, irritation increases. That is why, to prevent diaper rash, you should give preference to disposable diapers that can quickly absorb moisture. In addition, diapers must be fully appropriate for age and weight. It is recommended to change diapers as they are full, taking air baths in between. It is important to monitor how the skin reacts to the diaper – this will allow you to promptly exclude an allergic reaction to materials or impregnations.

  • Proper care

With each diaper change, it is recommended to use a special ointment or cream that maintains the healthy condition of the baby’s skin and protects it from the aggressive effects of external factors (urine, feces, diaper friction).

  • Bathing

When washing and bathing, it is necessary to use hypoallergenic products created specifically for newborns. After water procedures, the child’s skin must be thoroughly dried. If diaper rash has already appeared, you should not rub it: excess moisture in the skin folds should be removed with delicate movements, blotting with a cotton diaper or soft towel.

  • Caring for a child’s things

An allergy to the powder or conditioner can make diaper rash worse. Therefore, it is recommended to give preference to safe household chemicals that correspond to the specific age of the baby.

  • Choice of clothes

Increased sweating is one of the main factors causing diaper rash, because overheating makes the skin more sensitive to irritation. You need to dress your child according to the weather, do not bundle him up for fear of hypothermia. It is also better to choose clothes that are loose, but not baggy. Things should be made of natural and soft fabrics.

  • Microclimate at home

Diaper rash can be a problem throughout the year if you do not create the right microclimate in the nursery and bedroom – reduce the temperature to a comfortable level and ensure normal humidity. Such measures will protect the baby from skin irritations, improve his well-being and ensure productive sleep.

Diaper rash is an unpleasant problem, but by taking proper care of your baby and following simple rules, you can cope with it in a few days.