Diseases Home > Identifying and Treating Diaper Dermatitis

What Does Diaper Dermatitis Look Like?

Your basic run-of-the-mill diaper dermatitis is a flat, red rash within the diaper area. The buttocks, upper thighs, lower abdomen (stomach), and genitals are the most common areas affected. It is normally not found within the folds of skin between the body and thighs or body and genitals.
 
Unlike irritant diaper dermatitis, diaper rashes infected with yeast will often be found within the skin folds.
 
There is variation in what diaper dermatitis looks like based on how severe it is and what is causing it. In more severe cases, the skin can be painful and the rash raised, thickened, peeling, weeping, and/or bleeding. There may also be bumps, blisters, pimples, and/or open sores within the red area or on the outside of the main rash.
 
Diaper dermatitis can affect anyone who wears a diaper, although it is most common in infants and toddlers between 9 and 12 months of age.
 

Diaper Dermatitis Remedies

Most cases of diaper dermatitis can be treated at home without seeing your healthcare provider. Successful treatment focuses on minimizing moisture, friction, and irritation from stool and urine to the affected area. This means more frequent diaper changes, diaper-free periods, and being gentle (see Diaper Rash Treatment for specific suggestions).
 
A diaper dermatitis cream or ointment is also needed. Many different choices are available without a prescription. These products work as a barrier, either through the cream or ointment itself (such as with petroleum jelly or lanolin) or within the active ingredients (such as zinc oxide). Some brands include Desitin®, Triple Paste®, A&D Ointment®, Balmex®, Aquaphor®, and Vaseline®.
 
More severe cases of diaper dermatitis or those infected with yeast or bacteria may not get better with the standard treatment. These types of rashes may require a prescription cream or ointment from your healthcare provider.
 
(Click Diaper Rash Creams and Ointments for more information, including information about other options for more severe diaper rashes).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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