Diaper rash is a common condition in babies, and does not always mean that the baby has poor hygiene. The rash, just as the name suggests, is the result of wearing diapers as is the case in babies who are yet to potty train.
Some of the obvious symptoms of this rash include inflammation in the diaper region, small swellings on the affected skin as well as itchiness. In some babies, these symptoms also manifest with the formation of red shiny patches on the skin. The most common parts affected include the upper section of the baby’s thighs and the buttocks.
The major cause of a diaper rash revolves around the continual exposure to a wet diaper (both as a result of urine and stool). Other causes include yeast infections, allergic reactions as well as a sensitive skin that easily reacts with the diaper. In some babies, the rash is the result of disorders affecting the baby’s digestion. While this is not a life threatening condition per se, left untreated, the rash allows for the progression of a bacterial infection which worsens the situation.
For first time parents especially, this can be very scary as the baby will often cry once the burning sensation sets in (usually after urination and/or a bowel movement). The good news is that there are a handful of remedies that you can use to treat a diaper rash at home. These remedies allow for quick recovery and relief from the symptoms associated with the rash. For the most part, many parents find it helpful to stop using select diaper brands when you notice that the rash is as a result of skin sensitivity.
NOTE: For all the remedies listed above, the method of wiping after a diaper change is Front-back and not the other way round to prevent the risk of infections.
1. Petroleum Jelly:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Warm water, a washcloth, a clean towel, and petroleum jelly.
Petroleum jelly is one of the most gentle home remedies available for the natural treatment of a diaper rash. The jelly creates a protective layer on the affected skin in the genital area, thus averting the stinging effects of both urine and stool. The use of petroleum jelly is recommended after every diaper change, and must only be applied on cleaned, dry skin. If applied on wet skin, it traps the moisture on the skin and simply worsens the symptoms as the days go by.
- Discard the soiled diaper and proceed to wipe the baby’s bottom.
- The best way to clean is to use a clean washcloth and some warm water.
- After this, dry the genital area completely before applying some petroleum jelly. A layer that is neither too thin nor too thick should work excellently.
- Place a fresh diaper on the baby. Ensure you use petroleum jelly at every diaper change.
2. Oatmeal Baby Bath Soak:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of dried oatmeal, warm bath water, clean towel, and petroleum jelly. Room heater (optional).
Oatmeal bath soak is a popular remedy for the treatment of different conditions affecting the skin. When used to treat diaper rash, the oatmeal has a soothing effect on the baby’s skin. This helps keep the integrity of the skin’s natural barriers in check. In addition, the oatmeal baby bath soak helps discard dirt on the skin while unclogging the pores. Depending on the baby’s age, you should be able to select the most suitable time period for this soak, which is where the room heater comes in handy.
- Place 2 teaspoons of the dried oatmeal to the bath water.
- Let the baby enjoy this bath soak for some 10 minutes to allow the remedy’s skin healing properties.
- After 10 minutes, bath the baby in the same solution.
- Dry thoroughly and proceed to apply petroleum jelly on the genital area. Use this remedy at least once daily.
Time Required: 10-25 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of vinegar, 1 bucket of warm water to rinse (this works for washable diapers). 1 Teaspoon of vinegar, 1 cup of warm water, washcloth, and petroleum jelly for alternative topical use of vinegar solution.
Part of the reason why a diaper rash is painful is because of the stinging sensation that occurs when the alkaline urine comes into contact with baby’s delicate skin for a prolonged time. Vinegar comes in handy because its acidic nature helps counter the effects of the urine. Depending on the type of diapers one uses, you may either soak and rinse the washable diapers in a solution containing vinegar or simply use a weak solution of the same to rinse baby’s bottom as described in the directions below.
Using washable diapers:
- Add the vinegar to the bucket of water and mix well.
- Rinse the already-cleaned diapers in the vinegar solution.
- You may allow the diapers to soak in the water for about 5 minutes before hanging them to dry.
- Use this remedy at least once daily; works more practically when batches of diaper laundry are done at a go.
Using vinegar solution to rinse baby’s bottom:
- Prepare a weak solution by mixing 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 1 cup of warm water.
- Splash this solution on baby’s genital area after changing diapers.
- Soak the washcloth in the solution too and use it to wipe the baby from front to back. This prevents the risk of yeast infection and provides much-needed relief.
4. Coconut Oil:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Coconut oil and bath water (optional).
Coconut oil is a practical and effective home remedy for the natural treatment of diaper rash. This oil not only has rich moisturizing properties, it is also an excellent anti-fungal and antimicrobial. These healing properties means that the oil provides much-needed relief from the effects of the rash while preventing the risk of infections.The soothing effect of the oil helps ease the severity of the rash. This remedy is intended for use after fresh diaper change.
- After changing the diaper and cleaning baby’s diaper area, apply a protective layer of coconut oil.
- Alternatively, add some coconut oil to baby’s bath water and allow her to soak in it for a few minutes before dressing as usual.
5. Breast Milk:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Fresh breast milk, clean washcloth, warm water, and cotton wool.
Breast milk is not only a nutritious food for babies, it is also a wonder remedy for the most part. This is because it is packed with antibodies that help keep off infections. This is one of the least expensive remedies, and most practical of them. Another advantage of using breast milk to treat diaper rash is that there are low chances of getting an allergic reaction since the milk soothes the irritated skin. You will need cotton wool to apply the remedy on the diaper area once you have changed and cleaned the baby.
NOTE: For the purposes of this remedy, it is advisable to express the milk beforehand to avoid contamination. Store the milk in a cool place before use.
- Discard the used diaper and clean the genital area well using a clean washcloth and warm water.
- Soak the cotton wool in the breast milk and use it to wipe the diaper area.
- Allow the milk to air-dry for quick relief before the baby wears the new diaper.
6. French Green Clay:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: French green clay
French Green clay is primarily marketed as a facial product, but its benefits may be extended to the natural treatment of diaper rash. This remedy is especially effective in the treatment of serious diaper rash that includes yeast infections. This clay is rich in beneficial minerals that keep the rash at bay and allow the baby’s delicate skin to heal faster. As with all the aforementioned remedies, the clay should only be used on cleaned skin.
- Sprinkle some of the clay on the cleaned diaper area after every change. Use this remedy as often as needed until the symptoms of the diaper rash ease.
7. Improving Airflow in Diaper Area:
Time Required: At least 30 Min everyday, best divided into periods of about 10 Min.
What You Need: Baby needs to stay diaper-free for some time.
To speed up the healing process of a diaper rash, one of the best things that you can do is to allow baby to stay diaper free for at least half an hour. This allows increased air flow over the diaper region, reducing the irritation of the skin as well as providing relief from the associated symptoms. The best way to do this is to take diaper-free sessions for about 10 minutes after every diaper change. In addition to these, the tips below should help treat the rash.
- Always ensure that baby goes diaper free for at least 10 minutes after each diaper change, and especially during afternoon naps when it often gets stifling hot.
- Secondly, steer clear of plastic pants as this cause excessive heat and further irritation of the skin when the diaper is soiled.
- If using disposable diapers, go for a size larger until the rash eases. This is key because it allows for air circulation, no matter how minimal. The key is to get a diaper one size bigger so that it has a stable fit.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/4 Cup of cornstarch, warm water to clean the diaper area, and a soft towel to dry.
Cornstarch is recommended for the treatment of diaper rash as it helps absorb the excess moisture and keep the diaper area dry effectively keeping the irritation at bay. This goes a long way in reducing friction and provides much needed relief. As with oatmeal, this remedy should not be used on wet skin. You will need warm water to clean the diaper area as well as a soft towel to dry. A soft towel is key to prevent aggravating baby’s delicate skin.Follow the directions below to use this remedy.
- Remove the wet diaper and clean baby’s diaper area using the warm water.
- Dab the soft towel on the wet skin and ensure it is dried thoroughly. Allow air-drying for some 5 minutes before applying the remedy.
- Sprinkle a light layer of the cornstarch on the affected skin and then allow to ‘breathe’.
- Use this remedy every time you carry out a diaper change.
If the rash does not ease even after regular use of these home remedies, make sure you seek the services of your pediatrician to chart the way forward. In case you need to get any products over the counter, it is advisable to ensure that the products are specially formulated for babies to prevent toxicity.