Diaper dermatitis - irritant-induced

Alternative names
Irritant-induced diaper dermatitis

Definition
Irritant-induced diaper dermatitis is a diaper rash caused by chemical irritants rather than bacterial or candidal infection. Common irritants include ammonia (produced when bacteria break down the urea in urine), acids in the stool (seen more frequently when diarrhea is present), and soaps and other products used in laundering cloth diapers.

Symptoms
Red, irritated rash in the diaper area.

Treatment
Keeping the diaper area clean and dry is the best treatment for irritant dermatitis. The more time the baby can be kept out of diapers, the better. Your doctor may suggest a barrier cream, such as a zinc oxide based product.

Calling your health care provider
Call your doctor if the rash worsens or there is skin breakdown.

Prevention
See treatment section

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Harutyun Medina, M.D.

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