Nappy rash


Nappy rash is a very common skin condition that affects the area normally covered by a baby's nappy. 

How do I know if my baby has nappy rash?

The skin around your baby's nappy area will be red and inflamed, hot to the touch and may develop spots, pimples or blisters. The rash can affect the bottom, genitals and the inside of the thigh. It may begin as a few small patches that spread over the course of a few days, or it may seem to appear quite suddenly. If the rash is mild, your baby won't feel sore but if it's severe, the skin may even crack and bleed.  This can be very uncomfortable for your baby and cause them distress. If this is the case, speak to your pharmacist who can suggest a nappy rash treatment cream.

What causes nappy rash?

It can be caused by:

• A wet or dirty nappy left in contact with the skin for too long

• A tight nappy rubbing against the baby's skin and preventing air circulation

• Not changing nappies often enough

• Not cleaning the area covered by the nappy often enough

• A reaction to soap, detergent or bubble bath

• Alcohol-based baby wipes

• Your baby recently taking antibiotics

What's the best way to treat it?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. You can ease – and prevent – nappy rash by following the tips below.

• Change wet or dirty nappies as soon as possible

• Thoroughly clean the whole nappy area, using warm water and cotton wool, wiping from front to back with warm water

• At each nappy change, apply a thin layer of barrier cream to protect the skin. Ask your pharmacist for recommendations

• Don't give your baby too many baths when they have nappy rash – once a day is fine. Otherwise you'll run the risk of drying out their skin which will only add to the irritation

• Avoid using soap, bubble bath or lotions

• Avoid using talcum powder, as it may irritate the skin

• Give your baby as much nappy-free time as possible to let the air get to their skin

In most cases, nappy rash clears up in about three days. It's important to treat nappy rash even if it's not bothering your baby – if left, it could become infected.  If the rash doesn’t improve, or gets worse and is causing your baby real discomfort, see your Doctor. 

Could it be a different rash?

Allergic reactions

A rash can appear due to an allergic reaction to something you've used on your baby's skin. This could be a different brand of washing powder, a disposable nappy or a baby wipe.  Consider switching back to the old brand to see if this makes a difference. 

Candida (a yeast infection)

An infection can develop if candida, a yeast that lives harmlessly on the skin in small amounts, starts to overgrow. This can trigger a rash. Check with your pharmacist or doctor as this will need to be treated with an antifungal cream.

Bacterial infection

If the rash is caused by a bacterial infection, your Doctor may need to prescribe antibiotics. See your Doctor if you're not sure what's causing the rash.

Next steps

• Keep your baby's bottom clean and dry by changing nappies frequently, and consider a barrier cream

• Avoid any possible irritants such as bubble bath or new washing powder

• See your Doctor if the rash gets worse and is causing distress for your baby