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Diaper Rash Treatment Home Remedies

Diaper rash treatment home remedies are simple ways to make your baby feel better quickly. I am not a doctor and nothing here should be taken as medical advice. Some diaper rashes need immediate medical treatment so if your baby's rash lasts longer than a couple of days, causes severe discomfort, or has open or oozing sores - please see your doctor immediately.

Why do babies get diaper rash?

Diaper rash is very common and most babies will get at least one diaper rash during their time in diapers. Baby skin is sensitive and wearing any diaper can increase the chances of skin irritation simply because urine and bowel movements are harsh on skin.

Disposable diapers are thought to cause more diaper rashes for three reasons. First, they hold in moisture and heat - leading to a moist, warm environment that can cause bacterial or yeast buildup. Second, as paper and plastic diapers become more effective at holding urine - parents are changing less often. Far too many parents think that a diaper should only be changed when it is "full."

Doctors recommend changing a newborn at least every 2 hours, and only slightly less often as babies get older and void less often. Finally, paper diapers contain chemicals that can lead to sensitivity or allergies for some babies. The perfumes, dyes, super absorbent polymer gels, and other chemicals in paper and plastic diapers can cause severe rashes for some babies. For these babies, changing to cloth diapers is often the only solution.

What type of diaper rash does my baby have?

Treating a diaper rash starts with understanding which type of diaper rash your baby has. Keeping babies skin clean and dry is always the beginning, but these different rashes need different treatment.

* Irritation - This is the most common diaper rash. The baby's skin will look red and can even develop open sores. Creases will be less red than the more exposed parts of baby's skin.

* Yeast Diaper Rash - This rash looks red and sometimes scaly. Often there are small blisters or pimples around the outer edge or just outside the red area. The redness is usually worse in skin creases.

* Bacterial Diaper Rash - This can be caused by some serious infections such as staph or strep, so see a doctor if if you suspect a bacterial rash. You may see yellowish, fluid-filled bumps ("pustules") and honey-colored, crusty areas.

* Seborrhea - this is similar to cradle cap and you will usually find that the baby has a similar rash on some other part of the body as well. This looks red, scaly and waxy.

How to treat diaper rash with home remedies

Irritation is usually at the root of any diaper rash - so even with yeast or bacterial rashes, you will want to keep baby's skin clean and dry to help the rash heal.

* Change wet or dirty diapers immediately. Whenever possible, change as soon as baby wets. I've seen severe rashes disappear almost overnight when the baby is changed very frequently. If you use cloth diapers, this won't cost you any extra, you'll just need to wash diapers a little sooner.

* Wash baby's bottom with every diaper change, if possible. Even just washing after dirty diapers can give baby some real relief. Don't use perfumed soaps. Even just warm water is enough to remove debris and irritants. If you are not changing near a sink, you can use wet washcloths or put a clean towel under baby's bottom and rinse with a little water.

* Use a good diaper cream. The idea is to create a little bit of a barrier to keep urine and other irritants off the skin. You don't need a ton of cream, just a light layer will usually do. If you are using cloth diapers, avoid creams that contain zinc, fish oil or petroleum jelly. It is a good idea to use a flushable diaper liner to keep any cream off of the diapers - even if the diaper cream manufacturer says it is diaper safe.

* Air it out. Let your baby go without a diaper for as long as possible. Smaller babies can just sleep naked on a blanket. Older babies can be allowed to play in a fitted or prefold diaper with no cover. Then change them as soon as the diaper is wet. Fleece diaper covers or wool diaper covers are very breathable and can help let skin air out without leaks.

* If your baby has a yeast rash, consider a cream that contains tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract. Coconut oil is antifungal and is a good, safe choice. NEVER put tea tree oil directly on baby's skin - it must be diluted quite a bit. As with most essential oils, tea tree oil is toxic if ingested, so keep it out of reach of children. Many pediatricians recommend using athlete's foot cream to treat yeast rashes as they are caused by a fungus.

If your little one has a yeast rash - you may need to treat their cloth diapers. Some manufacturers ok a small amount of bleach on occasion. A safer method is to use vinegar, tea tree oil, grapefruit seed oil or oxygen bleach in the wash. Be sure to check on your diaper warranty before using any laundry additives.

You can read more about diaper rash treatment home remedies on WebMD or Ask Dr. Sears.