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Expert Advice

How to treat nappy rash

Sore, irritated baby bots are usually caused by one thing: nappy rash. Here’s how to treat it.

By Fiona Wright
Nappy rash can be uncomfortable for little ones. Here's what you need to know about nappy rash and how to treat it...
What is it?
Nappy rash is a type of dermatitis that appears on your baby's bottom as small red, often irritating dots.
What causes it?
When faeces and urine break down they release ammonia which can irritate your baby's delicate skin, causing it to become sore and inflamed. Babies who do lots of bowel movements are more likely to get nappy rash, are as bubs with eczema or other skin conditions, such as cradle cap.
How do I treat it?
Wash your baby's nappy's area with warm water and cotton wool, or fragrance-free baby lotion, and pat dry gently but thoroughly. If you prefer using baby wipes, choose ones that are hypoallergenic, un-perfumed, pH balanced and alcohol free. Apply a nappy cream containing zinc to soothe the affected area and to create a barrier for your bub's skin.
Nappy rash is a type of dermatitis that appears on your baby's bottom. Getty Images
Can nappy rash be prevented?
By employing the following simple strategies, you may be able to ward off the next round of nappy rash.
  • Change your baby's nappy more frequently and try to leave the nappy off for as long as possible between changes so your baby's bottom has contact with the fresh air.
  • Disposable nappies can help as they draw moisture away from the skin. However, change wet nappies regularly - even the most absorbent disposable nappy - as it's the bacteria and not the moisture that causes nappy rash.
  • Change soiled nappies immediately.
  • Wipe and dry his bottom at each change.
  • Apply a barrier cream such as zinc cream at every change to give sensitive bottoms extra protection.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry fabric nappies.
  • Check that his nappy is the right size for his weight.
See your GP if you notice the following symptoms as these can be signs of a bacterial or fungal infection:
  • A red, very warm, swollen rash.
  • Bright red irritation all over the nappy area, including in the folds of your baby's skin.
  • Oozing yellow patches or pus filled pimples on or around the nappy area.
  • A fever or general irritability or discomfort at change time.

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