Diaper Rash is a common problem in infants, although adults who cannot control passage of urine or feces and must wear incontinence pads or "adult diapers" also can experience the problem. Diaper rash in infants can cause a great deal of discomfort for the infant, but almost always stops when the child is toilet trained. Diaper rash results primarily from continued moisture on the skin and is made worse as the skin is exposed to urine and feces. For this reason, diaper rash is best prevented by changing diapers frequently to allow the skin to dry thoroughly between episodes of passing urine. When the child passes feces, the skin should be cleaned with mild soap.
Since the goal is to keep skin dry, diapers that are labeled as superabsorbent or ultra-absorbent should be used. These prevent diaper rash better than older, regular absorbency diapers. They are also better than reusable cloth diapers, although many parents prefer cloth diapers for reasons of economics, sanitation or conservation. If cloth diapers are used, they should never be covered by plastic traps moisture inside the diaper and thus promotes diaper rash.
Protectants Skin protectants are the safest method for treating diaper rash. These include such ingredients as allantoin, calamine, cod liver oil, dimethicone, kaolin, lanolin, mineral oil, petrolatum, talc, topical starch (corn-starch), white petrolatum, and zinc oxide. Powders containing kaolin, topical starch or talc must not be used on broken skin.
All powders also must be kept away from the child's face during application. In some cases, babies have inhaled powders, which causes a chemical pneumonia that has resulted in death. The best method to apply powders is to place the container close to the body away from the face. Also, the parent can shake the powder onto a hand away from the baby and then apply it to the area.
What Not to Use During an active case of diaper rash, the skin is very sensitive. Most commercial diaper wipes should be avoided during this time. They may contain soap or other chemicals that irritate the skin affected by diaper rash.
Some chemicals should never be used on the baby. Never use homemade preparations such as baking soda since their safety would be questionable. Any product containing boric acid or borax is unsafe and must be avoided.
Chemicals such as calcium undecylenate, benzethonium chloride, sodium borate, camphor, eucalyptol, extracts of aloe vera, matricaria, chamomile, primrose, cholecalciferol, peruvian balsam, bismuth subnitrate, and vitamin E are all of unknown safety or effectiveness. Some inactive ingredients could cause allergic reactions or other problems. Antibiotic ointments containing neomycin, polymyxin or bacitracin should not be used only when recommended by a physician.