CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Causes of diaper rash can be traced to a number of sources, including:
- Irritation from stool and urine. Prolonged exposure to urine or feces can irritate a baby's sensitive skin. Your baby may be more prone to diaper rash if he or she is experiencing frequent bowel movements because feces are more irritating than urine.
- Introduction of new foods. As babies start to eat solid foods, the content of their stool changes, increasing the likelihood of diaper rash. Changes in your baby's diet can also increase the frequency of stools, which can lead to diaper rash. If your baby is breast-feeding, your baby may develop diaper rash in response to something the mother has eaten.
- Irritation from a new product. Disposable wipes, a new brand of disposable diapers, or a detergent, bleach or fabric softener used to launder cloth diapers can all irritate your baby's delicate bottom. Other substances that can add to the problem include ingredients found in some baby lotions, powders and oils.
- Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection. What begins as a simple skin infection may spread to the surrounding region. The area covered by a diaper — buttocks, thighs and genitals — is especially vulnerable because it's warm and moist, making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. These rashes can be found within the creases of the skin, and there may be red dots scattered around the creases.
- Sensitive skin. Babies with skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or eczema, may be more likely to develop diaper rashes. However, the irritated skin of atopic dermatitis and eczema primarily affects areas other than the diaper area.
- Chafing or rubbing. Tightfitting diapers or clothing that rubs against the skin can lead to a rash.
- Use of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria — the good kinds as well as the bad. When a baby takes antibiotics, bacteria that keep yeast growth in check may be depleted, resulting in diaper rash due to yeast infection. Babies whose breast-feeding mothers are on antibiotics are also vulnerable.
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- What can I do if my baby gets diaper rash? American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/pages/Diaper-Rash-Solution.aspx. Accessed April 2, 2012.
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