Article by Victoria Crombie
Nappy rash is a very common and uncomfortable condition that most babies will suffer from at some point in time. Read on to find out what causes nappy and how to prevent nappy rash naturally.
What is nappy rash?
Nappy rash is a red, inflamed area of skin around the nappy area, generally around the genitals, folds of the thighs and buttocks. The affected area can by moist or dry and sometimes can be covered in tiny pimples. It’s important to treat nappy rash quickly, not only is it uncomfortable for your baby and can cause a lot of distress but if untreated it can also become infected.
What causes nappy rash?
· Wet and soiled nappies. Leaving a baby in wet or soiled nappies can weaken the top layer of a baby’s delicate skin and even ‘burn’ the skin
· Exposure to chemicals - fragrance, preservatives, and synthetic ingredients in commercially available wipes, nappy creams and lotions can irritate delicate skin
· Plastic nappy covers and nappies – some disposable nappies contain high levels of plastic and plastic cloth nappy covers can prevent airflow creating a warm moist environment ideal for infection.
· Friction - rough nappies can rub and chafe skin
· Other factors - some babies can suffer from nappy rash when teething or breastfed baby can react to acidic foods in their mothers diet
Preventing nappy rash naturally
While it is true that some babies are more prone to nappy rash then others the following tips are a guide to keeping any baby’s skin healthy and kissable!
· Change nappies frequently – for babies prone to nappy rash change as soon as they are wet.
· Try not to use commercial wipes that can contain alcohol, fragrance and preservatives that can irritate delicate baby skin – you can even make your own or use eco-friendly ones that don’t contain potentially irritating chemicals
· Use natural or organic baby balms and nappy creams as they do not contain the synthetic chemicals that can irritate skin and many contain herbal extracts or essential oils helpful for nappy rash and will provide a barrier against wetness (for sensitive skin use fragrance free)
· If using cloth nappies try to switch to natural fibres like bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton – avoid chemical presoakers and fragranced detergents and stick to eco-friendly detergents with less chemicals and make sure they are well rinsed with not detergent build up
If using disposable nappies try to use eco-friendly ones (such as Bambo Nature) that don’t contain plastic and potentially harmful chemicals that can irritate delicate skin.
Plenty of nappy free time – although easier said than done with a mobile baby, Fresh air is great for keeping baby’s skin healthy.
Natural remedies for nappy rash
Gently wash baby’s bottom with plain water and gently pat dry with a clean soft towel (or even use a hairdryer on the lowest setting) every time the nappy is dirty or wet.
Try a soothing bottom bath – blend about ½ a cup of oatmeal (any unflavoured oats should work), blend until a fine consistent powder is achieved. Add oatmeal powder to a running bath and be sure to disperse evenly. Allow baby to sit in bath for 15-20 minutes twice a day until rash has healed.
Allow baby some nappy free time – fresh air is a great healer. Non-mobile babies can be placed in a warm room on a water proof mat with lots of toys. For mobile babies choose a warm day to be outside or try to contain baby with an engaging activity in an easy to clean area.
Olive oil has great healing, moisturising properties as well as providing a thin barrier against wetness - whisk a tablespoon of olive oil with 5 drops of water until a smooth creamy texture has been achieved then apply to baby’s clean, dry bottom.
Try adding 2 drops of the below essential oils to a base oil like olive oil or sweet almond oil (never use neat)
- Tea tree oil is effective against yeast, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial
- Lavender oil is gentle and anti-inflammatory
- Calendula is antiseptic and soothing
- Comfrey is a wonderful healer
- Chamomile is soothing and gentle
When to seek further medical help
If you’ve followed the above guidelines and there has been no improvement within 72 hours then the rash may be infected and appropriate medical attention needs to be sought.
7 Apr 2011
Article/Information supplied by Victoria Crombie
Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.