Diaper Allergy – Babies wear diapers to help prevent them from having accidents as they do not have control over their bladders.  As they grow, they will soil several diapers in a day which can put them at risk of developing rashes.

This is not uncommon given the moisture that gets trapped around the diaper area, which can lead to chafing and skin irritation. Of course, there are other reasons for rashes to appear, such as food allergies or eczema. But, how will you know if it is diaper rash and not a diaper allergy [1]?

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Diaper AllergyBaby Diaper Rash Or Allergy?

It’s hard for parents to tell whether they are dealing with a diaper rash or an allergy when they start seeing red bumps in and around their baby’s bottom.

We all know that babies have sensitive skin, and with the combination of heat plus urine and feces, some skin irritation is bound to occur. So how will you know if an allergy or normal diaper rash cause those red marks on your baby’s skin? [2].

Diaper Allergy

Well, there are a few things that can help you figure out if you are dealing with diaper allergy on your little one’s skin. These are a few symptoms [3].

Doesn’t respond to rash treatment

If you’ve been applying a rash treatment (powder, ointment) on the skin irritation, and it doesn’t disappear or heal, then it is possible that it.

 Location of the rashes

Most diaper rashes appear on areas of the skin that are exposed to urine and poop. In the case of allergies, such as plastic allergies, the irritation appears on the areas of the skin that are exposed to plastic such as the waist and cuffs of the diaper.

Breakouts on other parts of the skin

Another tell-tale sign that your baby may have a plastic allergy is when other parts of the skin get irritated when exposed to plastic. These reactions may occur as hives, swollen skin, or reddened areas.

Swollen blotches on your baby’s skin

Diaper allergies may appear as slightly raised, red bumps on the surface that tend to be raw and a bit sensitive to touch. Older babies may reach out to scratch these areas because they are itchy.

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How To Spot Baby Diaper AllergiesHow To Spot Baby Diaper Allergies

As a parent, you’re probably thinking of how to protect your baby from skin irritation to ensure that they remain comfortable throughout their infant and toddler years.

But when these red bumps and rashes form, your first thought may be that it is a diaper rash. However, skin allergies can manifest themselves at a young age, and diaper allergies are not as uncommon as you might think. How can you diagnose if your little one has it? Here are a few things you should consider [4].

 Constant irritation

Constant irritation is the most common symptom that your baby will exhibit especially around the area where the diaper touches the skin.

This skin irritation doesn’t disappear regardless of their food intake and regular diaper changes. You will be asked by your attending pediatrician about when these allergies appeared, so it’s a good idea to note when you see them appear.

Switching brands

Another way to diagnose if your baby has diaper allergies is to switch brands. Try an organic brand that does not have any harsh chemicals or materials that can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Do not change anything else (ointments, wipes). If the redness disappears, it may be the diaper.

Synthetic fragrance

Take note of the ingredients that are in wipes, lotions, and other ointments that you are using. All of these things can cause allergies due to your infant’s sensitive skin.

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Common Causes Of Baby Diaper RashCommon Causes Of Baby Diaper Rash

Diaper rash, on the other hand, is used to refer to any skin irritation that may occur in your baby’s diaper area. Diaper rash is often called diaper dermatitis, or napkin dermatitis Contact dermatitis is the usual culprit behind this irritation, but there are others that may trigger the issue [5].

Other common diaper allergy rash triggers are:

Bacteria or yeast infection

Bacteria and yeast diaper rash can result when the skin’s natural defense mechanism is not enough to fight the skin infection. Yeast, or candida albicans, can also occur when there is an imbalance in the gut bacteria that can lead to the overproduction of yeast in the skin of your little one.

Allergic reaction

This can trigger diaper rash, and experts believe that it is caused by allergens that are present in wipes and diapers. With allergies, the patches of red are more defined. Patch testing is often conducted by a physician to determine if the rashes are caused by allergies as well as what triggered it in the first place [6].

How to spot diaper rash?

When a baby becomes fussy, parents often look for symptoms of diaper rash when they change the diaper. Normally, these rashes appear because of exposure to urine and poop, which quickly cause inflammation and irritation.

On the other hand, if the rashes develop into pustules or blisters, then they may be caused by strep or staph bacterial infection. In the case of a yeast rash, the infection can appear around the diaper area and anal area as well [7].

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Treatments For Baby Diaper Rash And AllergyTreatments For Baby Diaper Rash And Allergy

Regardless of whether your baby has a diaper rash or allergy, the goal as a parent is to make it disappear while reducing any discomfort that your little one is experiencing.

Fortunately, modern medicine has produced a variety of treatments that can reduce inflammation and irritation on your baby’s diaper area. You can try these out. (Always consult your pediatrician first if you see that a rash has appeared on your infant).

Antifungal cream or medicine

For babies, and adults, whose diaper rash is caused by a yeast infection, an antifungal cream may be recommended to help contain it as soon as possible.

This type of cream is applied on the affected area to help soothe and treat it. Zinc oxide, which is common in various creams, has been found to be effective in treating fungal infections and rashes.

Topical steroid cream

Pediatricians can recommend creams and ointments like these that contain topical steroids when a rash develops that was not caused by an allergic reaction. This is usually applied after washing the affected area or as indicated in the package.


For infections caused by bacteria such as impetigo, doctors typically prescribe antibiotics to help with the problem.

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Natural Remedies To Combat Diaper Rash And AllergiesNatural Remedies To Combat Diaper Rash And Allergies

Some parents prefer to try treating the rashes on their little one using natural alternatives. Fortunately, several possible remedies may provide help.

Breast milk

When it comes to diaper rash treatment, using your own breast milk may help. Just add a few drops of your milk on the affected area and let it air dry. After this treatment, put a fresh diaper on your little one [8].

Baking soda

Another possible treatment that can help you deal with your baby’s diaper rash or allergy is baking soda. This kitchen staple can regulate your baby’s pH levels while helping to get rid of any fungi or bacteria that may appear on their skin.

Just mix two tablespoons of baking soda with warm water to create a paste, then apply on the irritated area. Leave it on until it has dried [9].

Coconut oil

What other treatment can you use to reduce diaper rash symptoms? You can try coconut oil since this natural oil is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

For this treatment, get half a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply it on the area where the rashes are found. After washing the skin with warm water, then pat dry prior before applying coconut oil.

Aloe vera

Another natural remedy that can help soothe irritated skin is aloe vera. The gel from this plant can be applied to severe inflammation to provide a soothing feeling on the skin.

Simply cut the leaf and open it up to scoop out the gel inside. Spread it on the rashes and leave it to dry.

Apple cider vinegar

The acidic nature of this vinegar may help provide relief from skin irritations caused by a yeast infection. Mix a cup of this vinegar in your little one’s bath water and/or rinse cloth diapers in it to treat the rashes [10].

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How To Prevent Baby Diaper Rash And AllergyHow To Prevent Baby Diaper Rash And Allergy

Parents should be aware of prevention and treatment tips that can help reduce their baby’s risk of having diaper rash or diaper allergy. If you or you know someone prone to adult diaper rash, these tips may help them out as well.

 Change diapers frequently

If you want to protect your loved one from various skin conditions, especially rashes or an allergic reaction because of their diaper, then you need to make it a point to change their diapers as often as possible.

Leaving their soiled diaper on for hours can cause moisture to get trapped, which can promote infection and irritation. In cases of a suspected allergic reaction, try a different brand, preferably one that is organic and free from harsh chemicals.

 Use zinc oxide cream

If you notice that your baby’s skin remains red whenever you change their diapers, you might want to invest in a diaper cream that contains zinc oxide.

Severe diaper rashes can be quite uncomfortable for your little one. So, layer this cream on the skin and remove it at night. This cream creates a barrier that will help protect your little one’s skin.

 Go gentle on the skin

Some babies may experience a reaction when you use certain wipes on them. For those babies, choose wipes that do not contain alcohol or synthetic fragrance.

For severe rashes, squirt some water from a bottle on the irritated skin as this may be gentler. Pat excess water from their skin and allow your baby to go diaper free for a while until their skin is dry. This may help speed the healing process.

Talk to a doctor

If you think that your baby has a skin infection, bring them to the doctor for a checkup. Check to see if the rash has developed into blisters, or have pus. Also, contact your pediatrician if your baby has developed a fever.

Diaper Allergy Conclusion

Take into consideration that babies have sensitive skin during their first few years. They may develop rashes at some point, no matter how much parents try to protect them from rashes. If the rash does not heal, have the rash checked again (a follow-up exam) by your pediatrician.

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Diaper Allergy Resources:

[1]   Mayo Clinic; Diaper Rash, April 21, 2018.
[2]   MedicineNet; Diaper Rash, John Mersch, MD FAAP, May 04, 2018.
[3]   Johns Hopkins Medicine; Diaper Dermatitis.
[4]   Cleveland Clinic; What’s Really Causing Your Baby’s Diaper Rash, Pediatrics, February 02, 2017.
[5]   Stanford Children’s Health; Diaper Dermatitis, Stanford Children’s Health, 2019.
[6]   Diaper Dye Dermatitis; Diaper Dermatitis, Lauren Alberta, BA, Susan M. Sweeney, MD, and Karen Wiss, MD, May 24, 2019.
[7]   MyHealth; Perianal Step Infection in Children: Care Instructions, Healthwise Staff, March 27, 2018.
[8]   Assessment Effect of Breast Milk on Diaper Dermatitis; Dermatology reports, Bahar Seifi, Sheida Jalali, and Mohammad Heidari, Mar 13, 2017.
[9]   Healthline; What Are the Benefits of a Baking Soda Bath, How Do You Take One, and Is It Safe?, Emily Cronkleton, November 02, 2017.
[10]   Medical News Today; What are some natural treatments for toddlers with a yeast infection?, Scott Harris, July 05, 2018.

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