Nappy rash designates the inflamed area of a baby's bottom area, usually the part covered by nappies which, as they hold back urine and stools in contact with the skin, create maceration conditions that favour the development of irritations. It is very common in babies; most suffer from it in varying degrees of seriousness. In general even though cases are less serious than they were 20 or 30 years ago, nappy rash remains frequent among my young patients.
In the case of nappy rash, I prescribe creams containing anti-inflammatory molecules, anti-bacterial agents and ideally agents that favour skin repair. The texture is also very important. It needs to be sufficiently rich to insulate the skin properly and must spread easily to avoid rubbing on application.
What are the causes of nappy rash?
Principally urine and stools: humidity, maceration and contact with the digestive enzymes contained in stools or ammoniac contained in urine are all factors that cause inflammation and irritation of babies' bottoms. This humid environment, rich in fertile strains, is an ideal place for certain yeast or bacteria to grow and this can cause complications.
Rubbing and compression also have an impact: excessively tight or badly fitting nappies can create zones of friction that can favour nappy rash.
Some chemical substances contained in certain washing detergents or skin cleansing and care products for infants can also be irritant and even allergenic. I recommend my patients to opt for hypoallergenic washing detergents that guarantee good tolerance for babies. The same applies to creams and lotions.
Finally, the use of certain antibiotics can sometimes disturb the normal balance of good bacteria that help to control proliferation of certain organisms like yeasts.
What are the risks linked to nappy rash?
The major risk is infection, which can be more or less extensive and more or less serious. When nappy rash becomes infected, the redness is accompanied by red pimples in the skin folds, sometimes blisters full of pus. It is necessary to consult your pediatrician rapidly.
What are the right prevention steps to be recommended to parents?
Good hygiene, applied delicately, without unnecessary rubbing, using the right products which should be hypoallergenic, alcohol, and paraben-free.
Frequent nappy changes to reduce maceration time and contact with urine and stools.
And even when the child does not have nappy rash, the application of a barrier cream enriched with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents is an excellent prevention gesture.