Nappy rash will affect 1 in 3 babies before the age of 2. There are things you can do to help avoid these rashes and to treat them if and when they do occur.
First, its key to understand the 4 different types of rash....
BACTERIAL Most rashes are an irritation of the skin caused or aggravated by contact with the wee and poo. The rash starts with a slight reddening of the skin in the nappy area and can progress to soreness and discomfort.
FRICTION Nappy rash can be caused by chaffing or rubbing if skin is very sensitive or the nappy is the wrong size.
FUNGAL A bright red, moist rash with white or red pimples which spreads to the folds of the skin, may indicate that your baby has a thrush infection and requires a prescribed cream.
ALLERGY Occasionally nappy rash can become persistent and can be related to other skin conditions like eczema or allergies.
Bacterial Rash - Why do Babies get bacterial nappy rash?
Many parents note a nappy rash outbreak coincides with an event.
These events may change the alkalinity / acidity and bacterial content of their babies' excretions.
What you can do to avoid & treat mild bacterial nappy rash
1.Choose a breathable, natural material nappy
2.Change your baby often
3.Nappy free time
How to identify Severe Bacterial rash
Sensitivity or Allergy Rash
Some babies have sensitivities or allergies to the various components of their nappies or wet wipes.
Normal nappies are made using:
That's right - normal nappies are +80% plastic. Polyester, Polyethylene, PVC, and Polypropylene. And they are wrapped in Plastic.
Bear in mind that, 3 billion plastic nappies went into landfill last year in the UK alone! These require 150 ml of crude oil in production per nappy. They also use harsh petrochemicals to process and most use chlorine bleach.
There are more skin-kind and earth-kind disposable versions available, like Mama Bamboo nappies which avoid the oil-based plastics, latex, PVC and chlorine and choose natural dyes, zero perfume or zero lotion
Mama Bamboo uses 100% bamboo viscose covers, chlorine free pulp, zero fragrance or lotion. We are also the only company to use 100% compostable liners and packaging.
Or you can try a reusable. Again bamboo or organic cotton covers are best for the babies' delicate skin.
If you are interested in comparing 'eco' disposable nappies, we have made a handy table in our blog: Compare eco friendly nappies
In addition to your choice of nappies, your choice of baby wipes can have a great impact on your babies' skin.
Baby wipes are made up of 6 components:
Some also include totally unnecessary fragrance
Whilst it is true that baby wipes should contain a high degree of water, it must be noted that water alone is not enough to effectively remove stubborn residues and prevent the growth of microorganisms or maintain a healthy skin pH
There are a few known ingredients in well known brands of baby wipes which are allergens or typical sensitivity triggers:
Wipe Watch List
The ingredients in Mama Bamboo's wipes are:
Everything you need and nothing you don't need.
Polyester and Polypropylene
11 billion plastic wet wipes went into landfill last year in the UK alone!
This is completely unnecessary. There are several good brands of fully compostable ones available.
Choose a 100% plant based zero plastic material like bamboo, wood pulp or organic cotton to avoid these and do your bit for the environment and stop using plastic wipes full stop.
Mama Bamboo wipes are made from 100% bamboo fibre. ZERO plastic. No pesticides or fertilizer. No irrigation. 100% certified sustainable crops
So why chance it…should I use just cotton and water?……Well no!
Several independent clinical studies* have demonstrated that the use of modern baby wipes were superior to using water and cotton to clean delicate skin.
In all trials babies skin was visibly improved by using wipes:
Also cotton itself is highly polluting.
Cotton is one of the most water intensive crops to grow. And unless its organic cotton it uses a significant amount of pesticides as well. And most cotton wool and cotton pads are bleached in chlorine.
On the whole, you shouldn’t need a barrier cream with every nappy change. It really only needs to be applied when a little redness is beginning to show. And should only be used for a few days.
Some companies do advise you to use it with every change, but this should not be necessary.
There are many creams around and we would steer you towards natural, organic ingredients wherever possible.
Just like wipes you should look for the magic words…..
Other things to specifically watch for include:
One thing your barrier cream should include is zinc or zinc oxide. Zinc should account for at least 5% of the formulation to be effective.
And it goes without saying you should be looking for the Leaping Bunny or Cruelty Free badges on all products.
Many babies do get nappy rash at some point. It does not mean you have done anything wrong.
There are things you can do to help avoid it but it may still happen occasionally:
If it does occur, there are things you can treat it with at home:
However, if it doesn’t clear up within a few days, do seek medical advice – it could have developed into a bacterial infection or it may be a fungal infection.
Our mission is to make nappy rash a thing of the past.
*Referenced studies and articles:
1.Ehretsmann C, Schaefer P, Adam R. Cutaneous tolerance of baby wipes by infants with atopic dermatitis, and comparison of the mildness of baby wipe and water in infant skin. J EurAcad DermatologyVenereol. 2001;15(Supplement 1):16‐21.
2.Lavender T, Furber C, Campbell M, et al. Effect on skin hydration of using baby wipes to clean the napkin area of newborn babies: assessor‐blinded randomised controlled equivalence trial. BMCPediatr. 2012;12:59.
3.Adam R, Schnetz B, Mathey P, Pericoi M, de Prost Y. Clinical demonstration of skin mildness and suitability for sensitive infant skin of a new baby wipe. Pediatr Dermatol. 2009;26:506‐513.
4.Visscher M, Odio M, Taylor T, et al. Skin care in the NICU patient: effects of wipes versus cloth and water on stratum corneum integrity. Neonatology. 2009;96:226‐234.
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