Diaper Rash 101

diaper rash 101

What Causes Diaper Rash?

If you’re a parent, you have pondered “What causes diaper rash?” more than once. And while it may be the great mystery for new parents, there are several known factors that contribute to diaper rash.

The most common type of diaper rash is called “Contact Dermatitis.” Its causes include persistent wetness, friction/chafing, or the presence of digestive enzymes found in urine and stool.

Common causes of diaper rash include persistent wetness, friction/chafing, or the presence of digestive enzymes.

Wetness and Chafing/Friction:
Keeping your little one in her diaper too long exposes them to persistent wetness. This causes skin over-hydration, which can result in skin irritation. The over-hydration occurs due to the fact that the diaper is trapping the moisture in place.

And to make matters worse, the irritation caused by wetness is then exposed to friction. The friction between your baby’s skin and diaper or baby wipe–or even simple chafing from skin-on-skin rubbing can lead to even more skin irritation.

But don’t worry. There are things you can do! To minimize these risks, be sure to change diapers often, and remove wet or dirty diapers promptly. Rinse baby’s bottom with warm water, gently pat or air dry, and apply a barrier of protection with Balmex Complete Protection. Minimize rubbing as much as possible. Also, be sure that you don’t over-tighten the diaper, as this will lead to increased friction.

Digestive Enzymes:
Besides just the wetness, the prolonged contact of pee or poop with the skin results in irritation in other ways as well. Digestive enzymes that help break down food get passed through the poo, and when these enzymes come in contact with the skin, they can also break down the skin. This often results in irritation and damage, and results in, you guessed it, diaper rash.

Urine can also interact with another enzyme in the stool, which can cause an increase in the pH and compromise your baby’s skin. The increased pH also further activates the enzymes in stool. If left untreated, it can be an ongoing cycle.

While one of the key functions of our skin is to act as a barrier, if the barrier is compromised these enzymes can penetrate the skin further causing greater irritation. The key is to break down the enzymes! Only Balmex has a unique blend of botanical extracts that neutralizes these rash-causing irritants.

Other Causes:
Skin infections are the next most common category of diaper rash, and they are generally caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or other organisms. The warm and moist environment inside a diaper makes it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria (primarily staph and strep) and yeast (candida). Simple fungal rashes of this nature are typically found in the creases of skin, and have a spotty, red-dotted appearance. Skin infections of this nature may require the use of a topical antibiotic ointment, so if the rash persists for more than seven days, we recommend consulting your pediatrician.

Now that you know what causes diaper rashes, you can help prevent them. And that starts by having plenty of Balmex on hand.