Four different types of nappy rash
1. Irritant dermatitis
Irritant dermatitis is a the most common type of rash you’ll find on a baby’s skin.
It’s typically caused by skin being in contact with urine of poo for too long. We’ve all had those moments when you realise you got distracted and forgot to change your baby’s nappy for a few hours, or when you’re trying to help your little one sleep through the night, and they have to adjust to spending the whole night in their nappy.
This can range in severity, but is commonly just noticeable as red patches around legs and bum and the top of the nappy.
2. Candida dermatitis
Candida dermatitis is a yeast infection. Nappies are the perfect place for yeast infections to grow as they’re warm and moist environments. Unlike irritant dermatitis, it’s not just regular poos and wees in contact with the skin that will lead to this particular rash. Candida dermatitis points to upset tummies with diarrhoea and acidic stools a common cause. It’s also possible that the wrong bath time products – soaps, bubble bath or moisturiser – could also cause an overgrowth of yeast.
Candida dermatitis can be found around the creases of the legs, bum, testicles or vulva and can result in pimples, blistering, bumps and ulcers. It’s also worth looking out for small areas of rash near the main rash – sometimes called satellite lesions.
3. Allergic dermatitis
Allergic dermatitis is the result of a reaction to a substance or material that has come in contact with your baby’s skin. If it’s in the nappy area it can be hard to identify without some careful backtracking of what product or substance you might have used on their skin that has caused the reaction. The resultant red sore bottom is a big clue, but can be hard to distinguish from other standard irritant dermatitis.
It’s also important to check for other rash areas outside of the nappy area as other rashes might give a better clue as to whether it’s a product used or something consumed that is the cause of the rash.
4. Bacteria dermatitis
This is commonly caused by Staphylococcusaureus (Staph) and Group A Streptococcus (Strep). Bacteria dermatitis affects areas of the skin that are already sore or broken. So you might find instances where untreated irritant dermatitis that have led to sores or broken skin can lead to more concerning bacteria dermatitis.
These types of bacterial rash can look more severe. Staph bacteria dermatitis can look pus-filled blisters or yellowing scabs and crusts. Strep bacteria
Three ways to naturally treat nappy rash at home
The good news is that to get rid of nappy rash, you don’t necessarily need very much help.
The best treatment is early intervention, stopping a sore bum getting worse makes things much simpler. A lot of preventative measures therefore can be used more regularly at the first signs of irritant dermatitis.
- Get your baby spending more time without a nappy on and ensure groin and crotch area is cleaned thoroughly, but very gently - switch to boiled (and then cooled) water and cotton wool if affected area is particularly sensitive.
- Start changing nappies more frequently – every couple of hours – rather than waiting until the nappy feels fuller. This way you limit the amount of time a baby’s skin is in contact with irritants.
- Use a good, natural barrier cream at early signs of redness or soreness. It’s often better to give a baby dry time when you see these signs because more moisture in the nappy area can add to the problems, that’s not always practical.
How to prevent nappy rash with 'dry time'
- Try using dry time for half an hour to an hour directly after a nappy change – ideally when you know they’ve just done a wee.
- Try dry time on hard floors with wipeable surfaces under neath them (for little babies that might just mean time without a nappy on a changing mat place on a hard floor).
- Try and combine dry time with tummy time on a mat like this Heads Up sensory playmat that we have designed to keep babies engaged on their front for longer. which provides cushioning, but is also easy to disinfect. Tummy time can be a bit of a pain as well so combining it is a great way to cover both bases.
- Try dry time on a set of towels or bedding that you already intend to put in a high heat wash so an accident doesn’t mean any ‘additional’ washing.
When to ask your doctor about persistent nappy rash
The best products to help prevent nappy rash
- Water wipes or other non-branded alcohol-free and parfum-free wipes ensure a higher degree of sensitivity when cleaning the nappy area
- Bamboo nappies offer better wicking properties than cotton so can be better at removing moisture from the nappy area – try these nappies from Mama bamboo
- Great barrier creams are essential at dealing with the first signs of soreness. We recommend Sudocrem as simple antiseptic solution, but you could also try nappy barrier creams from Bepanthen or Burts Bees.
- Our own Mushi microfibre cleansing cloths for kids use just water and are machine washable 1000 times. It means they're eco-friendly, super soft on skin and clean up more effectively than regular wipes to ensure you don't leave traces of poo or urine behind that can cause skin irritation.