Diaper rash is a widespread expression that indicates any skin irritation developing in the diaper-covered region - usually the thighs and buttocks of children. In other words, this is the swelling and tenderness of the skin attributed to a reaction to the potent chemical and enzymes present in excreta and urine as well as the heat generated by these waste substances released by the body. The diaper usually blocks and holds these toxic blends against the baby's bottom resulting in eruption of rashes.
In case the baby develops a contact diaper rash - a condition attributed to the reaction of excreta, urine, soap, plastic pants, disposable diapers and / or diarrhea, the area, especially the buttocks and the thighs, will be swollen and painful to touch. At the same time the skin at the affected area will turn reddish and become aggravated. In some cases, the child may also develop swollen areas as well as ulcers and bruises on the surface of the affected area. Other symptoms of a diaper rash may include dry skin and scaling accompanies by tarnished patches. On the other hand, if the child develops a fungal diaper rash set off by the existence of Candida albicans in the intestinal tract, the skin in the affected area will become soft and downy, gleaming and vivid red. At the same time, the edges of the lesions and rash will be very distinct and it is possible that spread out spots may emerge in the inguinal or the groin region. In such cases, you need to consult your physician or a nurse with a view to make a diagnosis of the rash at the earliest in order to begin instant treatment to alleviate and eliminate the woeful condition.
What sets off diaper rash
There are several factors that may result in the eruption of diaper rash. Some of these factors are briefly discussed below:
- Interaction with excreta and urine
- When the baby's skin is exposed to noxious substances like feces and urine for a long-drawn-out period, it may result in irritation of the skin. In effect, urine as well as feces may release moisture that eventually gets in touch with the skin making it more susceptible to harm and exasperation. It has been found that when digestive enzymes present in the feces come in contact with the baby's tender skin, it may augment the risk of developing a diaper rash. While it is true that ammonia present in urine and responsible for its decayed smell causes is often responsible for skin irritation, the amount of the substance present in the urine of the babies are not adequate enough to set off diaper rash. Nevertheless, even the insignificant levels of ammonia present in the urine of the infants have the capacity to deteriorate the condition of the skin that is inflamed and irritated from before.
- The feeding technique
- Compared to babies who are fed from bottles, infants who consume breast milk are less susceptible to developing diaper rash. This is primarily owing to the fact that breast-feeding babies excrete smaller amounts of stools that are actually not so irksome to the skin.
- Friction and abrasion
- In fact, tight-fitting diapers that rub against the skin are most likely to result in the eruption of diaper rash. The condition of the skin will worsen if it is wet. In addition, when the skin comes in contact with skin in the skin folds within the area covered by the diaper and cause some kind of abrasion, it may also result in diaper rash.
- Skin conditions existing from before
- It may be noted that children and infants who have been enduring any skin condition, such as eczema and atopic dermatitis (a chronic eczematous skin condition especially of children characterized by intense itching and inflammation) from before are more susceptible to having a diaper rash.
- Use of antibiotics
- Often using antibiotics dislocate the usual equilibrium of 'good bacteria' that are generally responsible for restraining the actions of specific microorganisms like yeasts. Here it needs to be mentioned that not only antibiotics taken by the infant, but also the nursing mother may affect the baby and may result in the development of diaper rash.
- Skin contact with irksome compounds
- Every part of a baby, especially the skin, is very tender and hence, it may be irritated at the slightest provocation. In effect, detergents, fabric softeners, baby lotions, soaps, scents as well as baby wipes contain a number of ordinary chemicals that may prove to be extremely exasperating to the tender skin of the infants and they ought to be avoided. Hence, it is essential that you consult your physician, or pharmacist regarding the precise products you need to use for your child and the products you should keep away from.
- Bacterial and yeast contagions
- It may be mentioned that the diaper usually creates a gloomy, soggy and humid atmosphere that is considered to be an ideal ground for the propagation of bacterial as well as yeast contagions, for instance Candida, on the tender skin of the baby. Babies who are already enduring a diaper rash are more susceptible for such infections. The symptoms of such bacterial and yeast infections may include pus, eruptions and reddish bumps in the skin folds. Some babies having these infections may also experience swollen red areas in the region covered by the diaper - generally the buttocks and the thighs.
- Additional conditions
- It is important to note that the condition diaper rash does not occur only in infants and babies. In fact, this condition may also develop in people enduring medical conditions like paralysis and incontinence (a condition where an individual is unable to hold back natural discharges or evacuations of urine or feces).
Diaper rash: Symptoms and problems
The most common symptoms of diaper rash may include redness of the skin accompanied by glossy areas and a number of scattered pimples. The rash usually occurs in the area covered by the diaper - the buttocks, the upper thighs and genitalia or the genitals. In addition, the skin affected by the condition may also be warm to the touch. However, the folds of the skin or the creases, especially under the buttocks and in the upper thighs, generally remain untouched by this condition. Any infant or child having diaper rash may become touchy and may often cry out loud while the diaper is being changes. This happens particularly when the affected skin in the area covered by the diaper is touched during cleaning the baby. As mentioned earlier, infants and children with diaper rash are more inclined to have bacterial and yeast infections and the eruption of reddish bumps in the folds or creases of the skin are indications of the fact that the child has been infected. In addition, other symptoms of bacterial and yeast infections include blisters, pus and inflammation (extremely swollen reddish areas on the skin).
There is no reason to panic if your child develops diaper rash, since this is a very common condition among infants and young children. While this condition may happen any time till the child is wearing a diaper, most children develop this condition when they are about nine months old. It may be noted that a number of specific factors are responsible for augmenting the risks of developing diaper rash. For instance use of antibiotics, diarrhea and dehydration makes the tender skin of an infant all the more defenceless against diaper rash. Disposable diapers too have been found responsible for a more number of diaper rash among babies. Compared to children who use laundered cotton diapers, infants using disposable diapers are more prone to develop diaper rash. In addition, another problem with disposable diapers is that they are a big hazard to the ecology as they add to the clogged landfills.
Herbs and supplements
Warm water has been found to be very useful in healing diaper rash - it not only promotes circulation, but also facilitates the healing process. If your child is suffering from diaper rash, put him or her in a bath tub full of warm water and notice how comfortable they feel. In addition, you may dilute calendula or chamomile by adding water and apply the watered down mixture to the effected area. This will largely help in alleviating the skin irritation and inflammation further. If you notice the rash of your child becoming red and aggravated, you may apply calendula lotion, cream or gel each time you change the diaper. This will not only help to soothe the irritated and inflamed skin, but also advance the healing process.
The evening primrose oil or lotion is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and apply either of them while changing the diaper every time will also soothe the skin and facilitate healing. Continue applying these until the time when there is no trace of the rash anymore. Wet skin may aggravate diaper rash and so if you find that the rash of your child is damp or moist, gently sprinkle cornstarch or kaolin clay on the affected area as this will help in keeping the region dry and promote healing of the diaper rash.
Commonly used essential oils for diaper rash:
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