Establishing a skincare routine that keeps babies’ skin healthy remains a challenge for parents, since up to 50% of babies suffer from at least one episode of diaper rash at some time. Diaper rash is an irritant contact dermatitis caused by the interaction of several factors, particularly the prolonged contact of the skin with urine and feces, which makes the skin more prone to disruption through friction with the diaper. Prevention of diaper rash is the ultimate goal, but if the condition does develop, treatment should aim to reverse the skin damage and prevent recurrence. Routine baby skincare should comprise of gentle cleansing whenever the diaper is soiled (using warm water or alcohol-free baby wipes), the use of good-quality super-absorbent diapers, and the application of an ointment or cream preparation at every diaper change. The ointment or cream should be clinically proven to be effective in babies and mimic the skin’s natural function by forming a long-lasting barrier to maintain maximum moisture levels. It should not contain any unnecessary ingredients, including antiseptic, preservative or perfume, or any ingredients that are toxic or have undocumented safety.
Treatment of diaper rash should comprise essentially the same actions as its prevention. Application of a barrier ointment at every diaper change can help to both prevent and treat this condition. Items containing Zinc oxide are appropriate. Zinc oxide is a skin protectant and soothing. The amount of zinc oxide is usually less in a cream than in an ointment. As with any patient with any condition, the individual child’s needs may vary. An ointment is a thicker barrier with petrolatum and offers more protection. These may be purchased over the counter and will have other ingredients included. Doctors may use topical steroids for the care of diaper rash . However, topical steroid therapy should be reserved for use where the rash has failed to respond to over the counter approaches, and antifungal treatment should only be employed where Candida infection is established or suspected. Parents should implement a simple skincare routine that could help keep babies’ skin healthy.
The key to prevention and treatment of all diaper rashes is frequent diaper changing, cleansing with a mild soap and water after each stool, and application of the appropriate topical agent.
Bokowski, S, Diaper Rash Management. Pediatr Nurs. 2004 Nov-Dec;30(6):467-70.