What is diaper dermatitis?
Diaper dermatitis, commonly known as a diaper rash, is a term used to describe different skin rashes in your child's diaper area. The rash is usually red and scaling, and is sometimes ulcerated with open and possibly infected wounds. It is most commonly seen in infants between the ages of 9 to 12 months but may begin within the first 2 months of life.
What causes diaper dermatitis?
Possible contributors to diaper dermatitis include:
- friction in the diaper area, resulting from crawling or walking
- extended periods of time in a diaper containing urine and feces and/or failing to properly care for the skin in the diaper area
- irritating chemicals on the child's skin, such as detergents or topical medications
- the diaper material itself
There are different causes of diaper dermatitis, including:
- candida diaper dermatitis, a dermatitis caused by a fungal infection in the diaper area
- contact diaper dermatitis, the most common cause of diaper dermatitis, which is usually caused by exposure to certain chemicals in combination with extreme heat or moisture, which can cause a breakdown of the skin
- seborrheic diaper dermatitis, a common, chronic skin condition that can affect the diaper area as well as other locations on the body
Other less common causes of diaper dermatitis include:
- impetigo, a skin infection caused by a bacteria.
- perianal streptococcal disease, a dermatitis caused by a bacterial infection
- allergic dermatitis, a type of rash that is rare in the first 2 years of life, but may be caused by soaps and detergents
What are the symptoms of diaper dermatitis?
The symptoms of diaper dermatitis vary depending on the cause of the dermatitis and may be different for each child. The following are common characteristics of the rash that may occur with each type of infection:
Candida diaper dermatitis:
- This rash usually begins in the creases or folds of the thighs and in the diaper area, and then spreads.
- The rash is usually a deep, red, shiny rash with many oval lesions.
- The lesions may be pus-filled and have raised borders.
- This type of rash is often associated with thrush, a fungal infection in the baby's mouth.
Seborrheic diaper dermatitis
- This rash also affects the skin folds in the groin area and is usually yellowish with oily scales that appear greasy.
- Infants may also have this rash on their face, scalp or neck at the same time.
Contact diaper dermatitis
- This rash is mostly seen on the buttocks and may extend to the thighs, stomach and waist area. It does not generally involve folds in the area.
- The rash is usually red and shiny all over.
- Normally, the rash does not have well-defined lesions.
The symptoms of diaper dermatitis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.