Diaper rashes affect babies who wear diapers, typically between three months to a year in age. In particular, babies who wear cloth diapers are more prone to getting diaper rashes than those who wear disposable diapers. Diaper rashes can also occur in incontinent older children and adults.
Diaper rashes are red and itchy. They form on the parts of skin that make contact with the diaper, such as the buttocks. The skin folds tend to be unaffected.
Diaper rashes are caused by several factors:
- Wetness from urine and stool
- Soaps that have not been completely rinsed off after washing
- Allergic contact dermatitis from wet wipes or other topical products
- Heat and friction
- Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
Several topical therapies are aimed at improving diaper rash:
- Zinc oxide-containing topical products can serve as a protective agent on the skin to reduce the amount of moisture that is exposed to the skin
- Topical steroids to decrease inflammation
- Topical anti-yeast medications can reduce yeast overgrowth
- Topical antifungal powders to soak up moisture and decrease yeast overgrowth
- Antibiotics may be used if there is evidence of bacterial overgrowth and infection