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Nappy Rash

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team

Updated on

What is nappy rash?

Diaper rash, also often referred to as nappy rash, is a type of skin inflammation which appears as a bright red rash on the skin covered by a diaper on the baby’s bottom. It occurs typically in infants and children below the age of 2 years old.

In addition, it can also be observed in adults who are obliged to wear a diaper due to various reasons. Most babies will get a diaper rash at least once during the first 2 years of life, and it is often related to infrequently changed or wet diapers, sensitive skin, and skin chafing.

Diaper rash could be alarming for the parents and annoying for the babies. However it usually clears up with simple home treatments, such as more frequent diaper changes, air drying and the usage of ointments.

Risks for nappy rash

Diaper rash tends to affect mainly infants and children under the age of 2 years old, but the rash could also be seen in adults who have to wear a diaper due to incontinence or paralysis.

Diaper rash may be caused by irritation from stool and urine, chafing or rubbing, irritation from the introduction of a new skin product, a bacterial or fungal infection, sensitive skin or a change in diet due to the introduction of new foods.

Nappy rash symptoms

Nappy rash is usually relatively easy to identify. The rash is located in the area covered by the diaper. The skin will appear red, irritated and tender-looking all over the baby’s bottom or genital area, or only in certain places, which may or may not involve the folds of the skin.


The diagnosis is usually based on the history and examination of the skin rash. If the cause of the rash seems to be due to an allergic response, your physician may perform a skin test to determine the definitive allergy-causing agent.

Treatment of diaper rash

It is important to keep the affected skin as clean and dry as possible. Barrier creams may be useful in protecting the skin as it heals. However, If the diaper rash persists despite the home treatments, then a mild steroid cream could be prescribed. If an infection occurs additionally to the diaper rash, creams or medications might be needed to treat this.


Keeping the affected skin as clean and dry as possible should be quite sufficient to avoid the occurrence and recurrence of the rash. That could be achieved through more frequent diaper changes, air drying and the usage of ointments.

Other names for nappy rash

  • diaper rash
  • diaper dermatitis
  • irritant diaper dermatitis
  • napkin dermatitis

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