Nobody likes to see a baby suffering from diaper rash, but many babies do experience the itch and burn of this common condition at some time. When it happens, parents and other caretakers want to soothe and treat the rash and make their baby feel better as quickly as possible. The first step in the process is to discover what kind of diaper rash it is.
3 Types of Diaper Rash
There are three varieties of diaper rash: contact rash, ammonia burn, and candida yeast rash. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Contact Diaper Rash– Contact diaper rash may appear in the area around the waist, the legs, or on the bottom. It may look like welts, hives, or tiny red bumps like heat rash. This type of rash is usually caused by one of two reasons: chafing or material allergies. If it concentrates in the waist and leg area, chafing is the likely culprit. If it is spread across the buttocks, suspect a material allergy.
Chafing can be alleviated by getting a better fitting diaper, particularly if the baby has chubby thighs. If a material allergy, it’s usually to synthetics, so you may have to choose to buy diapers made of natural fibers or that have all natural liners.
Ammonia Burn – This type rash is flat and resembles a carpet burn. Normally found on the bottom cheeks, it usually looks like a red, round splotch, varying in size. It is often sensitive to touch. Baby’s outer genitalia may appear bright red as well.
This form of diaper rash is usually caused by either moisture sensitivity or detergent buildup. Naturally, detergent buildup is only a problem in cloth diapers and can usually be alleviated by using an all-natural cloth diaper friendly detergent. Moisture sensitivity diaper rash means your baby is super sensitive to moistness against its skin and you may have to change the diaper more frequently. Barrier creams will also help keep the moisture from irritating the skin.
Candida Yeast Diaper Rash – This rash is easily recognizable. It resembles acne with little bumps and pustules that may appear like fluid-filled blisters or open chicken pox. It normally starts at the genitals and works its way outward and may spread to the thighs, abdomen, waist, and into genital creases. It is sometimes accompanied by oral thrush, another yeast infection. The cause is almost always dietary.
The first two types of diaper rash can normally be cleared up with the use of a good ointment and some changes in diaper products and habits. The candida diaper rash, however, may require some extra effort to eradicate.
What Causes Candida Diaper Rash?
Yeast diaper rash is the only form of diaper rash caused by a skin infection. It normally originates from either the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract or a breastfeeding mother who has candida. The culprit is candida albicans, a tiny yeast-like fungus that lives in the intestinal tract.
The risk for yeast diaper rash is increased when antibiotics have been taken by the baby or the mother that is breastfeeding. Medicines like amoxicillin, a common antibiotic given to infants, kill helpful bacteria in the digestive system and encourage the overpopulation of candida. That’s when babies become particularly susceptible to yeast infections.
Yeast loves to grow in warm, damp, dark places so under a diaper is the perfect home for the bacteria. They also thrive on a food supply of sugars and yeast foods
Treating Yeast Diaper Rash
The first step in getting rid of a candida diaper rash is to keep the area as clean as possible. Wash the affected area at every diaper change using a mild soap, like goat’s milk soap. Do not rub the area when washing or drying because the skin will be sensitive and rubbing will irritate it further and may cause the rash to spread. Use unscented, low-allergy wipes or a soft cotton cloth to wash the area. Pat or air-dry completely.
Change the diaper frequently. The dryer the area is kept the less the bacteria will like it. You will also be removing a significant source of irritation by limiting the contact of urine and feces with the baby’s sensitive skin.
Whenever possible, let the baby go bare bottomed. Contact with air and light will slow the bacterial growth. Exposure to early morning or late afternoon sunlight will also help the healing process.
Treat the area with an antifungal ointment that is all-natural and 100% free of chemicals. Make sure diapers are big enough that they do not chafe and irritate the area. You may also need to change brands of diapers and wipes.
Be careful about adding sugars to the baby’s diet, including sweet juices and fruits. If the baby’s old enough, make yogurt a part of its diet. If you are breastfeeding, learn more about what foods you should avoid to prevent or cure yeast infections.
Do not use baby powders that contain corn starch. This is a food source for candida and will only make matters worse.
Although candida yeast diaper infections are common, your baby won’t have to suffer from one if you follow these guidelines.
About the Author: Dr. Eric Bakker, ND is a naturopathic physician from New Zealand. He has spent the past 25 years focused on the study of Candida and offers regular articles and advice at yeastinfection.org.