Diaper dermatitis, commonly known as a diaper rash, is a term used to describe different skin rashes in the diaper area. The rash is usually red and scaling, but rarely ulcerated. It is most commonly seen in infants between the ages of 9 to 12 months, can also begin in the first 2 months of life.
Possible causes of diaper rash include the following:
Other less common causes of dermatitis in the diaper area include the following:
The symptoms of diaper dermatitis vary depending on the cause of the rash, and may be different from child to child. The following are common characteristics of diaper rash:
The symptoms of diaper dermatitis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult a physician for the correct diagnosis.
Diaper dermatitis is usually diagnosed based on the location and appearance of the rash during physical examination of the child. In addition, the physician may do skin scraping to aid in the diagnosis.
The treatment for diaper dermatitis varies, depending on the cause of the rash. Specific treatment for diaper dermatitis will also be determined by the physician based on:
Treatment may include:
Proper skin care is also very important in preventing diaper dermatitis. This includes:
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Health System continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.
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Scott A. Norton, MD, MPH, MSc, is the Chief of Dermatology at Children’s National Health System and is on the faculty at George Washington University, Georgetown University, and Howard University.