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Baby's health

03rd Nov 2023

How to prevent and treat nappy rash

Anna Martin

nappy rash

Nappy rash is a common problem for newborns and babies.

It can be the cause of many tears for both parents and their little ones but it doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong.

Nappy rash can appear quite quickly and for no obvious reason, yet the question is; how can you prevent and treat it?

What are the signs?

The first sign of the rash is red skin irritation in the area covered by the baby’s nappy. You may also notice:

  • white pimples around your baby’s bottom and skin folds
  • swollen skin in their nappy area
  • that your baby is having trouble sleeping
  • it spreads beyond the nappy area
nappy rash

What causes it?

In most cases, nappy rash is caused when your baby’s skin becomes irritated due to prolonged contact with faeces and urine.

It can also be caused by the nappy or clothing rubbing against your baby’s skin.

The three types and treatments

Mild nappy rash: Everyday nappy rash looks red, sore and can look shiny.

Most of the time your baby won’t seem any different to their usual self.

Change their nappy more often than normal, and keep their bum clean by gently dabbing with warm water and cotton wool.

Let their skin dry completely before applying an emollient or antibacterial cream, and it should clear up in two to three days.

Candidal nappy rash: A nappy rash which refuses to go away with the usual treatment may be a candidal rash.

Warm, wet places such as inside a nappy, provide the perfect environment for the yeast called candida to grow.

A fungal rash looks similar to a normal nappy rash, but it’s also bright red and scaly.

You may want to make an appointment with your GP who may recommend an antifungal or mild corticosteroid cream.

Bacterial nappy rash: If your little one is uncomfortable and has a rash that is weeping or has a yellow crust, they may have a bacterial nappy rash.

Make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.

nappy rash


Thankfully, preventing the rash from rearing its head is easy enough and may just involve a few minor adjustments to your usually changing routine.

  • change wet or dirty nappies as soon as possible
  • keep the skin clean and dry
  • leave nappies off when possible
  • use extra absorbent nappies
  • make sure your baby’s nappies fit properly
  • clean your baby’s skin with water or fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes