Nappy rash is common in babies and toddlers. It can be very mild or quite severe, depending on the cause and how it is managed.
If your baby has a nappy rash, the rash may not be because of something you are doing or not doing. The rash can appear quite quickly and for no obvious reason.
Rash almost always improves with more frequent napkin changing, carefully cleaning the skin, and using a barrier cream.
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Signs of nappy rash
The first sign of nappy rash is red skin irritation in the area covered by the baby’s napkin. It can cover just some of their skin or spread across their whole napkin area. You may also notice:
- white pimples around your baby’s bottom and skin folds
- swollen skin in their nappy area
- that your baby is having trouble sleeping
If left untreated, rash can develop into blisters and open sores.
Causes of nappy rash
Rash can develop when your:
- baby’s skin is wet (with wee)
- baby’s skin is dirty (with poo)
- baby’s napkin or clothing rubs against their skin (friction)
Wee and poo
The most common cause of nappy rash is when your baby’s napkin is not changed often enough. Wee and poo contain ammonia, which irritates the skin. Some babies have sensitive skin that reacts quickly to any moisture or friction.
Thrush can also cause nappy rash. Candida Albicans, the type of yeast that causes thrush, likes warm, moist places such as the nappy area. Thrush looks like pimples, or is red and shiny, with clear edges.
Thrush is not painful, but it can be itchy and irritating. Often, thrush does not improve and can get worse unless treated with a specific anti-fungal cream.
Some babies have conditions that make them particularly sensitive to rash or can make it worse. These include:
- skin conditions such as eczema
- infections such as impetigo
Be sure to also check that you are using wet wipes and soap that are made for babies. Some soaps and wipes can irritate your baby’s skin.
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