Diaper Rash Symptoms and Causes: 3 Important Things to Know!

Dr. Ashish Bhora

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ashish Bhora


5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Diaper rash is a common skin condition among children aged up to 2 years
  • Diaper rash symptoms include redness on the affected areas of the skin
  • Yeast and fungal infection are among the major diaper rash causes

Diaper rash is a common skin condition among children and may affect adults too. It is most frequent among children aged up to 2 years. As per a US-based report, diaper rash impacts around 35% children under the age of 2 years. Majority of toddlers go through this condition before being toilet trained [1]. As a part of newborn baby care, it is important to know about the diaper rash symptoms and diaper rash causes.  

 This way, you can take suitable preventive measures and protect your baby. Read on for a thorough guide on diaper rash 

Diaper rash symptoms 

Also referred to as diaper dermatitis, diaper rash leads to redness and painful burning on the affected areas of the skin. The usual areas where diaper rash occurs are buttocks, genitals and thighs. If your baby’s skin is affected by diaper rash, it may become warmer than usual to the touch. Diaper rash can increase in summer due to the heat and more sweating.

Diaper rash can also make your baby fussy and grumpy, especially while you change the diaper or washing the diaper area. In case of dehydration, one of the noticeable diaper rash symptoms is a bright red diaper rash. This may last for more than 48 hours. Such cases may be accompanied by a strong and uncomfortable odor of urine [2]. Some rashes may develop blisters, become weepy, and also lead to fever.

Additional Read: Tips for Healthy SkinDiaper rash symptoms 

Diaper rash causes 

Doctors are yet to determine the exact diaper rash causes but this condition is linked with the following.

  • Discomfort from stool and urine: If a child’s skin gets exposed to urine or stool for a long time, diaper rash may develop. Conditions like diarrhea are more likely to cause diaper rash as feces cause more irritation to your baby’s skin than urine. 
  • Rubbing or chafing: If your children wear tightfitting diapers, they can rub against their sensitive skin and lead to formation of diaper rash. This is why buying loose, cotton clothing is one of the popular newborn baby care tips. 
  • New products irritating the skin: Products like a new brand of diapers, baby wipes, or a bleach, fabric softener, or detergent used to launder diapers can affect your baby’s sensitive skin and be a part of diaper rash causes. Other products in this category include powders, baby lotions and oils. 
Diaper rash treatment
  • Yeast (fungal) or bacterial infection: The skin area that a diaper covers – genitals, thighs and buttocks – remains moist and warm all the time. That’s what makes it a perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. You can find diaper rash within the creases of your baby’s skin here and it can be accompanied by a number of red dots.
  • Consumption of new foods: When babies start eating solid foods, their stool is affected. As a result, the likelihood of getting diaper rash increases. Changes in diet can also spike the frequency of your baby’s bowel movement, which may further cause diaper rash. Children who are breast-fed can may develop this condition in response to the foods their mother has consumed.
  • Skin conditions: Babies who suffer from skin conditions like eczema or atopic dermatitis have a high chance of developing diaper rash. However, these conditions may affect other areas first and then gradually cover the diaper area.
  • Intake of antibiotics: Having antibiotics also has some side effects that can increase the risk of diaper rash. It kills bacteria that keep the growth of yeast in control and may lead to yeast infection. Consumption of antibiotics may also cause diarrhea, which is also a diaper rash cause. Breast-fed babies are also at risk of this condition if their mother takes antibiotics.
Additional Read: Helpful Baby Skincare Tips Baby Skincare Tips 

Preventive measures that can work as diaper rash treatment 

It is wise to keep the diaper area of your baby dry and clean. Note a few simple ways that can help decrease the chances of diaper rash symptoms on your child’s skin.

  • Change diapers frequently: Remove them as soon as they become wet or dirty.  
  • Wash the bottoms of your children with warm water before putting them on new diapers: Make use of a tub, sink or water bottle for this purpose. You can also use a mild baby soap with no fragrance. 
  • Let your child’s skin air dry or softly pat in dry with a towel: Make sure not to scrub the baby’s bottom. 
  • Avoid overtightening diapers: Ensuring normal airflow into the diaper region is important to prevent chafing as well as diaper rash 
  • Allow your baby to spend more time without a diaper: Exposing your child’s skin to air will help to dry it fast in a natural way. 
  • Use ointments: Applying a barrier ointment containing zinc oxide and petroleum jelly can help prevent skin irritation. 
  • Wash your hands after changing diapers: It can prevent the spread of infection.

Now that you know about diaper rash symptoms and causes, and the preventive measures to take, you can comfortably keep a check diaper rash. If conditions worsen, consult a doctor immediately for diaper rash treatment. You can easily online dermatologist consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health to talk to the best doctors near you. Prioritize your child’s health by taking the right steps without delay!

Published on 22 Apr 2022Last updated on 13 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Ashish Bhora

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ashish Bhora




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