A diaper rash is a skin problem that develops in the area beneath an infant's diaper.
Diaper rashes are common in babies between 4 and 15 months old. They may be noticed more when babies begin to eat solid foods.
Diaper rashes caused by infection with a yeast (fungus) called Candida are very common in children. Candida grows best in warm, moist places, such as under a diaper. Candida diaper rash is more likely to occur in babies who:
Other causes of diaper rash include:
You may notice the following in your child's diaper area:
Older infants may scratch when the diaper is removed.
Diaper rashes usually do not spread beyond the edge of the diaper.
Your doctor or nurse can often diagnose a yeast diaper rash by looking at your baby's skin. A KOH test can confirm if it is Candida.
The best treatment for a diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. This also helps prevent new diaper rashes. Lay your baby on a towel without a diaper whenever possible. The more time the baby can be kept out of a diaper, the better.
Other tips include:
Certain skin creams and ointments will clear up infections caused by yeast. Nystatin, miconazole, clotrimazole, and ketaconazole are commonly used medicines for yeast diaper rashes. You can buy these without a prescription.
Sometimes a mild corticosteroid cream may be used. Talk to your doctor before trying this on your baby.
If you use cloth diapers:
The rash usually responds well to treatment.
Call your health care provider if:
Dermatitis - diaper and Candida; Candida-associated diaper dermatitis; Diaper dermatitis
Krol A, Krafchik B. Diaper area eruptions. In: Eichenfield LF, Frieden IJ, Esterly NB. Neonatal Dermatology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2008:chap 16.
Morelli JG. Cutaneous fungal infections. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 658.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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