Rashes in babies are just one of the most common causes of worries among parents and one of the most common reasons why parents would bring their child to see the doctor. In several cases, rashes do not pose a threatening condition although in some cases, they can be a serious cause of concern.
Luckily, most types of rashes don’t require any treatment as they would simply disappear in a matter of days. If your baby’s rash is accompanied by vomiting, breathing difficulties, high fever, or any other health issues, it is best to take your child to see a doctor instead of talking about the situation over the telephone.
There can be several causes for a rash to appear on your baby’s skin depending on the type and the severity of the rash. Bringing your child to the doctor will not only allow him to note what the rash looks like, it will also allow him to check how widespread the rash has been, if it’s the type of rash that is itchy, how long it has been affecting your baby’s skin, and how many and how big the rash marks looked like.
What causes a baby’s rash?
Since most babies needed to wear diapers, it is usually common for them to develop a diaper or nappy rash. It is an irritation of the skin caused by urine, feces and dampness. So long as the baby is wearing a diaper, he is prone to have some type of diaper rash at one point or another.
Other causes of diaper rash include acids in the stool (usually occurs when the child has diarrhea); ill-fitting diapers that rub the skin because of severe tightness; ammonia (a type of chemical produced by the presence of bacteria in urine); and skin reactions to soaps and other products for cleaning cloth diapers.
Yeast diaper rash
Otherwise known as Candida diaper rash, this type of rash usually appears in the baby’s genitals and buttocks. It usually has a very red color with small red spots located close to the big patches. It causes an infection on the skin or mouth. If the rash occurs in the mouth, it is referred to as thrush.
Since yeast is a type of fungus, it thrives in a warm, wet and dark environment. It is also brought by an irritated skin of the baby.
More commonly known as prickly heat, its predominant cause is the blockage of the pores leading to the sweat glands. Although it is most common among children who are very young, it can also occur at any child’s or adult’s age. Usually, heat rash is triggered by hot and humid weather.
Other types of rashes that can bring certain levels of discomfort to your baby include baby acne (caused by the baby’s exposure to the mother’s hormones); erythema toxicum (appears after the baby turns 5 days old although rarely, usually it disappears within 7 to 14 days); hives (cause is uncertain, may last for a couple of weeks); eczema (often associated with asthma and allergies; it often runs in families); and cradle cap (cause is unknown; usually goes away by itself).
How can baby powders and ointments affect my baby’s rash?
There are certain types of skin creams and ointments that can help in clearing up infections that are caused by yeast. Some of the most commonly used medicines that can effectively solve yeast diaper rashes include ketaconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and nystatin. When the rash seemed severe, you can apply a steroid ointment such as one with 1 percent hydrocortisone.
Unlike the yeast diaper rash which requires the application of skin creams and ointments, regular diaper rash that looks red and sore may require you to discontinue using powder, ointment, baby lotion or baby oil unless they are prescribed by the doctor.
At the earliest sign of a diaper rash, you can try applying non-prescription petroleum jelly, zinc oxide ointment or lanolin-based ointment on your baby’s affected part. Continue with the application around 2 or times more one day after the initial treatment.
There are some anti-inflammatory skin ointments or creams which can help relieve the discomfort brought by a rash. These include miconazole, nystatin and hydrocortisone.
Baby powder is a mild form of astringent that is popularly used for treating several types of skin rashes in babies. It’s mostly made up of talc or corn starch and talcum powder.
Baby powder, when used with adequate amounts, can help keep the skin dry and free from sweat.
If you’re using baby powder, make sure that it’s kept away from your baby’s face. The cornstarch or talc found in the powder can cause breathing problems. Also, avoid using those baby powders that have perfumes, dyes and asbestos.
You can also apply unscented petroleum jelly or a skin cream that has zinc oxide to your baby’s diaper area for protection and lubrication purposes.
Have you heard about “papaw ointment?” Its sole active ingredient is fermented papaw although it also has 0.1 mg/g Potassium sorbate as a preservative. This ointment claims that it is good for treating nappy rash as well as insect bites, open wounds, splinters, gravel rash, cracked skin, cuts, chaffing, burns and boils.
Homemade ointment recipe
Here is an ointment recipe that you can try at home.
First, you need to prepare 1 tablespoon each of powdered comfrey (Symphytum officinale), powdered marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), and dried chickweed leaves (Stellaria media).
You would also need ¼ cup beeswax, 1 cup sweet almond oil, and 1/8 teaspoon goldenseal root powder (Hydrastis Canadensis).
To prepare, heat the herbs in the oil for 5 to 10 minutes using a cast-iron pan. Don’t allow them to burn. Then, add beeswax and let it melt. Using a cheesecloth for straining, strain the formed mixture into a jar that comes with a tight-fitting lid. Place inside a refrigerator to allow it to solidify.
Apply the solid mixture when you’re changing your baby’s diaper. You should be able to see some improvements on the rash after three or four applications.
Go for a diaper-free solution
Allow your baby to be diaper-free as often as possible. This will allow some air to go into the diaper zone which can help the baby’s skin to heal faster.