Managing Diaper Rash


Diaper Rash 101

Did you know that diaper rash has been found in up to 35% of babies in the first two years of life? Although babies are the most prominent group to get diaper rash that doesn't mean individuals of other ages are in the clear. Diaper rash or diaper dermatitis, refers to inflammation of the skin caused by prolonged exposure to body fluids in the diaper area. Individuals who wear a tab-style brief or disposable pull-on are susceptible to getting diaper rash at various times during their journey managing incontinence. Whether incontinence is new to you or not, understanding diaper rashes and how to manage them will help you in the long run if you'll be using protective underwear or adult diapers with tabs. 

Diaper Rash Causes in Adults and Children 

1. Prolonged wetness
2. Friction
3. Waste products (urine and feces, in particular enzymes in the feces).
4. Microorganisms (yeast and bacteria can secondarily invade skin that is macerated).
5. Diarrhea

Diaper Rash Symptoms

The area can be shiny and reddish, with or without scaling, red bumps, water bumps or raw skin. Usually, it is the prominent part of buttocks, thighs and genitals that are affected, while the creases are usually spared. In cases where there is an overgrowth of yeast in the area, red bumps, pus bumps, redness with sharp borders, scattered satellite bumps outside the border and maceration are often present. The skin creases are usually involved in these cases.

Tips for Caregivers and Individuals Who Are Managing Diaper Rash:

1. Frequent diaper changes to reduce the exposure of the skin to urine and feces.
2. Gentle cleaning of the skin (avoiding harsh soaps and fragranced wipes, use non-perfumed products instead, avoid scrubbing the area).
3. Using super-absorbent diapers, such as NorthShore or Abena brands, that will whisk away the moisture quickly from the skin. Other options also include breathable adult diapers.
4. Avoiding tight-fitting diapers.
5. Using Barrier Creams, for example, zinc oxide or petroleum jelly, with every diaper change.
6. Cornstarch and talc powders are not as protective of the skin as Barrier Creams and so are not ideal.

Diaper rash is a common issue for diaper wearers but it can be managed with the right products and healthy changing habits. While babies are the largest group that experience diaper rash the truth is it can affect even teens, youths and  adults. Make sure you use barrier creams, fast wicking diapers and incorporate smart habits for yourself or your loved one.