Sometimes identifying diaper rash can be frustrating. During the first year of cloth diapering I spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out what kind of rash we had.
Identifying different types of diaper rash isn't always easy and I went from wondering if it was allergies, detergent, suedecloth sensitivity, yeast, you name it.
Our most common rash started out looking like a sunburn and would then end up with open sores. After a trip to the pediatrician, we discovered that this type of diaper rash would develop yeast while we were trying to treat it. We found that we were constantly treating the rash but not finding the source of the problem.
While we eventually conquered the majority of our rash problems, you may need some help figuring out what kind of rash you may be dealing with.
Keep in mind that I am not a physician and this list is a combination of my personal experience.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be medical advice. If you are experiencing a severe rash or one that won't go away, please see your pediatrician immediately.
Contact diaper rash
We all probably know this rash. This is your Joe Average diaper rash usually caused by being in a wet diaper for a little too long. You will notice some redness on the skin but nothing too severe.
Applying your usual diaper rash ointment and changing soiled diapers more frequently will likely clear this up pretty quickly.
A yeast rash looks like a raised, prickly rash often starting in the folds of the skin. When we have experienced yeast rashes it looks like small red spots that are a little bigger than pinpricks.
A rash lasting more than two days without any improvement or even getting worse with typical diaper rash treatments may very well be yeast. Please see your pediatrician if you suspect a yeast rash.
If the pediatrician diagnoses a yeast rash, they will likely prescribe an anti-fungal ointment to clear up the infection. When used as prescribed, this rash will clear up in a few days.
If your baby is in cloth diapers be sure to treat your cloth diapers for yeast as well.
Diaper rash caused by acidic poop
An acidic rash happens when your child eats a lot of acidic foods. Some acidic foods include pineapples, citrus, and tomatoes. In our case, my son got this rash when he ate a lot of blueberries.
In my experience, the area starts to look like a sunburn and if you catch it early, great! If not, this can lead to a bright red, painful rash and even develop open sores.
These creams are not cloth diaper safe, but you can still use cloth diapers with a barrier like cotton liners or you can make your own fleece liners. If needed, read how to get diaper cream out of cloth diapers. You may also want to use disposable diapers until the rash clears.
If treatment with your standard diaper cream doesn’t seem to be working, see your pediatrician.
This may take some troubleshooting since it could be an allergy to a food, detergent, ointment, or a material in disposable diapers. Some clues may help you know where to begin with your detective work.
If there is a ring around the anus, this could be a food allergy. If it's all over the diaper area then it could be something in the diaper or the detergent if you use cloth diapers. If you suspect an allergy, see your pediatrician for advice and possible allergy testing.
There are other skin conditions that can manifest in the diaper area but they aren't technically a diaper rash.
This is a common, contagious skin infection that can be caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes (also called group A Streptococcus, which also causes strep throat). This can appear as a blister or a crusty area on the skin.
Impetigo is treated with prescription antibiotic ointments.
This skin condition causes inflamed red patches of skin that may have silvery scales.
For this, you will want to visit a Pediatrician or dermatologist for diagnosis and a prescription for a topical ointment.
Red, itchy, scaly rash that may cause blistering and oozing. Certain foods can make eczema outbreaks worse.
Treatment may require medication, antibiotic creams and steroids in severe cases. Visit a pediatrician or dermatologist if you suspect eczema.