Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Diaper Rash: Five questions answered by Dermatologist

As a first time parent, one is perennially busy  changing diapers especially during the first year. The bottom involves special care as the skin is delicate and exposed to a lot of irritants and cleansing. We often see lot of parents complaining about the diaper rash in their children.Here are a few commonly asked questions that I encounter in my daily practice. I have shared the answers and some useful tips to avoid diaper rash.

Q-1) How do I clean the diaper area of my baby?
Ans . This is the most important of all the steps to prevent diaper rash. There are a few basic precautions like
  1. Always clean the area from front to back, especially in girls to prevent urinary tract infections from the faecal bacteria near anal canal.
  2. Never try to pull apart the foreskin in boys which is fused for the first two to three years.
  3. Make sure to clean the creases and the folds making sure that there is no hint of moisture left. Moisture is a breeding ground for infections.
  4. Please use a sheet whenever you change the diaper in public places to prevent transmission of infections.
  5. Air drying is better than pat drying. The latter is still preferred over rubbing or not drying at all.
  6. DONOT use wipes which contain alcohol or fragrance. The wipes should be used only when cleaning with water is not available. Minimise their use as much as possible.

Q-2) What causes rash or ‘eczema’ on  my baby’s bottom?
Ans- Multiple factors predispose this area to irritant diaper rash. Prolonged contact with faeces, urine and repeated cleaning disturbs the sensitive skin in this area, hence causing rash. Improper cleaning practices or neglect can cause diaper rash.

Q-3) What should I do to treat the diaper rash?
Ans- First and foremost try to adopt proper cleansing practices as outlined above.
  1. Avoid using harsh soaps and hot water. Prefer a gentle cleansing lotion ( pH of around 5.5) to a soap bar.
  2. Prefer washing the area with cleanser and water than a wipe whenever possible.
  3. Apply a skin moisturiser first followed by a barrier cream. The latter which generally contains zinc oxide in higher percentage forms an occlusive film to prevent contact of the skin with faeces.

This should be done at every diaper change.

Q-4) Should I prefer a cloth diaper or disposable ones?
Ans- Actually a disposable diaper is preferable to cloth diaper. The cloth diaper should be promptly changes once soiled. The disposable diaper can be changed every four hours or so. There is no difference in rash if either is used.

Q-5) Will changing the type of diaper help my child?
Ans- The chances of getting a rash are same for all the types whether stick–on type or pant sized diapers. The only type of diaper that is slightly better than others is the one which are superabsorbent as they can be used for a slightly longer duration.

As a Dermatologist and a first time parent, I was bewildered too while making the right choice for my child. I hope this addresses few of those doubts and concerns. Please feel free to ask any queries related to the diaper rash and I shall be happy to help you.

Stay skin healthy and skin wise!!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

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