Diseases Home > Diaper Dermatitis

Many young children between 9 and 12 months old develop diaper dermatitis, also commonly known as diaper rash. This rash occurs when the skin area covered by the diaper becomes red and irritated. Although there are many causes of this condition, the most common cause is irritation of the skin from urine or stool. It can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) ointments and creams.

What Is Diaper Dermatitis?

Diaper dermatitis is a medical term for when the skin under the diaper becomes red and irritated. It is also commonly known as diaper rash.
Diaper dermatitis will affect almost every baby at least once. While there are things you can do to decrease the chances of your baby getting diaper rash, it is likely to happen anyway. Baby's skin is very sensitive. Add to that a moist environment, friction from the diaper rubbing back and forth, and skin-irritating urine and stools; this is the perfect environment for problems.
If your baby gets a little diaper dermatitis, know that it is not your fault. It happens. The trick is catching it early and making it go away as fast as possible.

What Causes Diaper Dermatitis?

By far, the most common cause of diaper dermatitis is irritation of the skin from stool or urine. This is known as irritant diaper dermatitis. The condition can become more severe if infected with yeast or bacteria. This is more likely to happen if the rash is left untreated for more than a couple of days.
Diaper dermatitis can also be caused by a number of different skin conditions that are unrelated to diaper use and/or irritants and also can become infected with yeast or bacteria.
(Click Causes of Diaper Rash for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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