Diaper rash, also known as irritant diaper dermatitis, is a common skin inflammation that is seen in both babies and senior citizens who use diapers regularly. According to market research company IMARC Group, the Indian diaper industry was worth US$ 1.37 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach US$ 2.22 billion by 2027, growing at an annual rate of 8.18 percent from 2022 to 2027. The increase in diaper consumption, unfortunately also increases the risk of getting a diaper rash, said Maharukh T Rustomjee, chief scientist and managing partner, Amaterasu Lifesciences LLP.
What causes a diaper rash?
Diaper rash is caused by a mix of factors, including wetness, skin chafing, and a warm, moist environment. These rashes appear as little, itchy pink spots around the buttocks and genitals, thighs and the groin area and, if ignored, evolve to larger regions of red, raised, painful bumps with a rash surrounding them. Diaper rashes are painful, but are usually treatable with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and home remedies. Severe rashes that do not respond to simple therapy or stay more than three days could be the result of infections or underlying medical issues. Yeast infections and long-term skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema are examples. When it comes to babies getting a rash, wearing diapers all day can create a perfect storm.
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Usually, senior citizens with incontinence issues or those recovering from a serious illness may need to use adult diapers, incontinence underwear, or pads, and may also suffer from such rashes.
Few causes of diaper rash
Wearing a dirty diaper
Changing your diaper or incontinence underpants on a regular basis will help you stay clean, dry, and cool. If not changed frequently, the skin becomes grimy, sticky, and damp, providing the perfect condition for diaper rash to develop. It’s crucial to realise that diapers may need to be changed every time they get wet or every two to three hours. While it may be difficult at times, take into account that not changing the diaper on time can lead to rashes and irritation of the skin.
A simple skin infection can quickly spread to the surrounding area, when the infected area is warm and damp around the buttocks, thighs, and genitals (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)
When the skin folds or rubs against the diaper, it can aggravate skin irritation and cause a rash. It is often associated with pain, stinging or a burning sensation.
Diaper rash is more common in people with sensitive skin. If you have eczema or realise your skin is easily irritated, take extra precautions to prevent diaper rash. Disposable diapers, wipes, bath products, lotions, and laundry detergents all include substances that might irritate the skin and cause diaper rash.
Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection
A simple skin infection can quickly spread to the surrounding area, when the infected area is warm and damp around the buttocks, thighs, and genitals. It makes the skin more prone to infection and yeast. These rashes appear in the skin’s creases, and there may be red spots spread throughout the creases.
How can these rashes be prevented?
Keeping the diaper region clean and dry is the best method to avoid diaper rash. A few basic ways might help reduce the chances of diaper rash forming on the skin.
Change the diapers regularly
*To avoid skin infections and rashes, diapers must be changed frequently. The frequency is mostly determined by one’s lifestyle, health. Most people change the diapers five to eight times per day. This suggests that an individual would require at least 150 diapers per month. Additionally, caretakers of people who are less mobile should check frequently to ensure that diapers are changed as soon as they become dirty.
Bathe regularly and skip irritants
A warm water bath with a mild, fragrance-free soap every day or every other day might help keep the region free of allergens until the rash clears up. Just be careful not to over-bathe, as this might irritate the skin. If you are not sure how often to bathe, consult your doctor. Restrict the use of perfumes and alcohols in soaps, scented wipes, and other products that come into touch with the rash areas.
Wash the area and allow it to dry
Warm water should be used to gently cleanse the inflamed skin. Allow your skin to totally dry up after washing. This is critical since putting a diaper on damp skin will only aggravate the situation. Instead of rubbing your skin dry, grab a towel and pat it. Rubbing your skin with a towel might cause irritation, which is the last thing you want!
Applying a barrier protection gel
Chafing can be reduced by using diaper products such as skin gels and anti-chafing creams on chafe-prone areas such as the inner thighs, buttocks, and other areas surrounding genitals. While zinc oxide-based treatments have been long used to prevent and treat diaper rashes but they are not easily washed away thus can build up in layers occluding the skin pores which is not desirable. On the other hand new age skincare products with silicone-based barrier protection technology have proven to be superior in treating and preventing diaper rashes as they form long-lasting water repellent barrier layer that keeps urine and fecal matter from coming in direct contact with skin.
Silicone-based barrier gels help keep the skin dry and moisturised and not affect the absorbance of nappy. They provide best protection to the baby and elderly skin.
Diaper rash will be a thing of the past if you take care of your skin, wear the right size diapers, and change them frequently. It is advisable to visit a doctor, if the rash does not go away or grows worse after two to three days.