Diaper Rash Detective
Dr. Ann is a five time Best of Boston Pediatric Allergist with 35+ years of experience. She’s also a NEW grandma! She pens letters to her granddaughter Avery Ann here, with thoughts and advice all parents and grandparents can use.
Ouch! Your mom and dad showed me a photo of your diaper rash. Hope it is getting better as your parents carry out detective work to figure out the cause. They are not sure why this rash has popped up. Could it be that they have been cleaning you too thoroughly? Or perhaps the it’s due to the type of wipes or diapers being used? I know your parents are eagerly awaiting the launch of Kudos diapers which are made with sensitive-skin-friendly and breathable materials like cotton. These might help prevent your rash in the future!
That's your dad going the extra mile to keep you dry and protected from diaper rash.
Rashes result when our skin becomes inflamed. This usually occurs due to one or more triggers. There are external and potential internal factors such as sensitivity to ingredients in most disposable diaper wipes and/or diapers and foods ingested can result in intolerance presenting in different manners including inflamed skin or rash.
There are many types of rashes. and sometimes we can identify the cause. Sometimes not. The list of rash triggers is lengthy, sometimes there is only one cause, and sometimes there may be a combination of factors resulting in skin inflammation.
Your parents tell me, Avery Ann, that you love the changing table!
Here are two common forms of rashes:
“Contact dermatitis” is a type of rash that can result from contact with chemical agents such as ones found in skin care products, metals, and color dyes. This type of reaction is usually delayed and it may take time for our skin to be exposed before signs of inflammation appear. Sometimes, even natural agents can cause rash. Some people may even react to healthy ingredients such as plant and food products like leaf extracts, seed and nut oils. Often it is difficult to determine if someone will show signs of sensitivity. Sometimes, if there are other family members with allergies or sensitivities, an offspring may also be reactive.
Another type of rash is “atopic dermatitis” which is another term for eczema due to allergic reasons. Triggers for this type of allergy can be food, inhalants (house dust, mold, animal dander, pollens) and/or medications (prescribed as well as over the counter drugs). The latter includes medicines that are ingested as well as topical medicines applied to the skin.
Causes of diaper rash:
Often, a rash is due to multifactorial reasons. For example, we may tolerate a skin care product, but then over time (with prolonged exposure or if another factor comes into play) we become more inflamed and a rash will appear. Our body talks to us the way babies talk to us! For example, we may be able to tolerate a diaper wipe early on because we have not used it too long, but if our skin is exposed to other factors such as extreme temperature, or if our diaper occludes our skin too much, then a rash may appear. Prolonged exposure to moisture also can play a big role in diaper rash, causing the skin to chafe and get irritated. That’s why choosing a highly absorbent diaper is important.
What can cause diaper rash?
In short, there are many causes for inflammatory conditions such as rash. This may make it difficult to sort out the cause, but your parents took the right steps by not using the diaper wipes in question, and cleansing your skin gently with water and mild soap instead. They took steps to try to stop the rash from progressing, and at the same time help your skin heal as they try to determine what may be triggers for your rash.
So how can we know what is causing your diaper rash?
With detective work, your caring parents may identify an answer. They may find that the wipes aren’t the rash trigger at all! If that happens, they can move on to do more detective work to see if rash is caused by diapers (as they wait for Kudos to launch), or if it is from the food you have been eating, or dressing you too warmly and not allowing your skin to “breathe”!
I have a feeling your parents have been a bit busy since your arrival. I also know for a fact that they are so in love with you and will do anything to keep you healthy and well! I hope that by now, your rash is healing well. Keep shaking those long arms and legs, and keep growing and thriving.
You are doing great, Avery Ann! Every day brings a new adventure.
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This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Kudos.
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