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17 Home Remedies for Diaper Rash

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Diaper rash is the result of irritation, usually caused  by prolonged exposure to a diaper that is moist.

Diaper rash. You hate to see it on your little one's bottom, and your baby doesn't enjoy it, either. While far from being a serious medical problem, it's another of life's little discomforts. Luckily, there are plenty of gentle, effective home remedies to soothe your baby's bottom.

Diaper rash is a type of irritant dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. The moist, warm, and enclosed environment of a diaper, combined with loads of bacteria, make a baby's bottom the perfect place for a rash to pop up. Other factors that can contribute to rash development include hot and humid weather, skin allergies, poor laundering of diapers, new materials in diapers that irritate sensitive skin, and infrequent diaper changes.

Diaper rash is the result of irritation, usually caused by prolonged exposure to a diaper that is moist with urine or soiled with stool. Chafing from tight-fitting diapers or clothing or contact with an irritating substance in certain disposable wipes or diapers, detergents or other laundry products, soaps, or lotions may also produce a rash in the diaper area.

The good news is that diaper rash is easy to prevent. Go to the next page to learn some simple home remedies for stopping diaper rash in its tracks.

For more information on the best ways to care for your newborn baby, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedy Treatments for Diaper Rash

The good news is, you can usually cure diaper rash within days. And with some conscientious care, you can say goodbye to it forever. The following home remedies can help you not only get rid of diaper rash but protect your baby's tender bottom from future bouts. Let's start with some basic tips: 

Get rid of the diaper ...  and say goodbye to diaper rash. The diaper holds the urine and/or feces against baby's sensitive skin and creates a warm, moist environment that can make the skin raw and provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, yeast, and fungus. To treat and/or prevent diaper rash, therefore, let your baby go bare-bottomed whenever possible. To minimize mess, put your diaperless baby on a rubber mat covered with a washable cloth.

Change the baby often. When going diaper-free isn't feasible, the best way to avoid diaper rash or cure an existing outbreak is to make sure the baby is always clean and dry. Check the baby's diaper often, and change it as soon as possible after it is soiled.

Avoid commercial baby wipes. Many brands of store-bought baby wipes contain alcohol and other chemicals that can irritate your child's skin and strip it of the natural protective oils that keep it soft and supple. Water, perhaps with a little mild soap, and a soft washcloth are actually the best tools for cleaning baby's bottom if you want to prevent a rash. If you do use soap, rinse thoroughly with a clean, wet cloth or plain water to remove any residue. You may want to skip the soap if a rash is already present, though, since it may cause stinging.

Dry that bottom. Once you've removed a soiled diaper and cleaned your baby's bottom, make sure you thoroughly pat the area dry (no rubbing!) with a soft towel. To ensure a completely dry bottom, leave the area exposed to air for a few minutes before putting on a new diaper.

Put on a barrier. Many pediatricians recommend applying a thin layer of nonprescription diaper-rash cream or ointment containing zinc oxide, such as A and D or Desitin, every time you change your baby. Used on healthy skin, it forms a barrier that can help protect the diaper area from the irritating effects of urine and feces. If a rash is already present, however, you don't want to completely seal the skin with an ointment or thick layer of cream, since air reaching the skin will keep the irritated area dry and help it heal. So you may need to either skip the salve until the skin clears or apply only a thin layer of cream, which will soothe and help protect the skin while allowing some air to penetrate.

Use only baby-friendly skin products. Choose soaps, shampoos, creams, and ointments specifically designed for use on baby's tender skin. Don't use products meant for adults, which often contain strong detergents, fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals that can irritate a baby's skin. Never use a cream that contains camphor, phenol, methyl salicylate, benzoin tincture, or boric acid on your baby unless specifically directed to by the pediatrician. Also, wash your infant's diapers, clothes, sleepwear, bedding, towels, and washcloths separately from those of other household members, using a laundry soap designed for this purpose. Residue of harsh detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners on material that comes into prolonged contact with baby's skin may be enough to cause irritation.

Give powder a pass. In the past, the accepted way to keep a baby's bottom dry was to sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the diaper area to soak up moisture. However, studies have shown that if babies inhale talcum powder, it can be dangerous, even fatal. And cornstarch or cornstarch-based powders foster the growth of yeast. So this is one old remedy to leave in the past.

Put the diapers "on line." Some moms have been taught that diapers are less likely to cause a rash if they are hung out to dry on a line instead of tossed into a dryer. Call it mother's intuition, but they may have something there: Some doctors say this trick works, although no one is sure why. If you have a place to hang diapers, you may want to give it a try. If you use a clothes dryer instead, skip the dryer sheets, which are likely to contain chemicals that can easily irritate sensitive baby skin. No matter how you dry cloth diapers, however, be sure to wash them in hot water without bleach and, if your baby already has diaper rash or seems prone to getting it, rinse them twice without adding fabric softener.

Try vinegar solution. Stale urine is extremely alkaline (the bacteria that colonize it release ammonia) and can burn the skin the same way acid can. To neutralize it, add half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water when you wash the baby's diapers. If you use disposables, you can try wiping the baby's bottom with a solution of eight parts water to one part vinegar for a similar effect.

Avoid plastic pants. Diaper rash clears up faster when the skin remains dry. Plastic pants worn over a diaper, however, keep moisture in. If a rash is present, also avoid tight-fitting diapers and clothing, which may cause chafing as well as restrict air flow. You may even need to switch, at least temporarily, to looser or larger-size diapers if you usually use more-fitted diapers that have tight, elastic leg holes and other "leak guards" that hold in urine in and keep out air.

Try a different disposable. Some babies may be sensitive to materials or substances in one brand of disposable diaper but not in another. So if diligent changing of soiled diapers and other home remedies haven't completely cleared the rash or kept it from coming back, you might want to experiment with another brand to see if it does the trick.

The tips will surely keep baby's bottom free from irritation. If you need some additional tips for gentle relief, read on to learn the home remedies that are available in your very own kitchen.

For more information on the best ways to care for your newborn baby, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

The brand name products mentioned in this publication are trademarks or service marks of their respective companies. The mention of any product in this publication does not constitute an endorsement by the respective proprietors of Publications International, Ltd. or HowStuffWorks.com, nor does it constitute an endorsement by any of these companies that their products should be used in the manner described in this publication.

Natural Home Remedies for Diaper Rash

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Vinegar can balance out baby's skin to prevent diaper rash.

While the causes aren't pleasant, the solutions to stopping this rash are straightforward, and can be accomplished with these simple home remedies. You can cure the rash in a few days and, with a little effort, keep baby rash free for the remainder of diaperhood.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Baking soda. If baby's bottom is very raw, try giving a sitz bath for 10 minutes, 3 times per day. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the tub of warm water.

Cornstarch. A nice patting of cornstarch helps dry up damp areas and reduces friction caused by elastic in diapers. When applying, first shake the cornstarch into your hand far from the baby's face. Avoid store-bought talcum powders, as recent studies have shown that talcum is dangerous for babies to inhale.

Maalox. This medicine does more than treat heartburn and stomach upset in adults. It can prevent diaper rash on babies by cooling irritated skin and neutralizing acid. With a cotton ball, apply a small amount of the liquid to baby's bottom. Allow to dry before diapering.

Oatmeal. Add 1 tablespoon dried oatmeal to your baby's bath. It's soothing and helps protect the skin.

Vinegar. Urine is an extremely alkaline solution and can burn the skin just like an acid. To balance out the equation, try adding 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse water when you wash the baby's diapers. The vinegar helps neutralize the ammonia found in urine, gets rid of any soap buildup, and gets rid of diaper smells. You can also go directly to the source by wiping the baby's bottom with a solution of 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator

Cranberry juice. When urine soaks the diaper region, the result is a high pH that irritates the skin and promotes diaper rash. A solution for older infants is to give them 2 to 3 ounces of cranberry juice. Constituents in the juice prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder, which also helps prevent infection.

For more information on the best ways to care for your newborn baby, try the following links:

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.

Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.

Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.

ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:

Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer GuideBoston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. (McGraw-Hill, 2004), and has written for publications including the

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at PennsylvaniaState University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.