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How can I get rid of my daughter’s nappy rash?
Q: My 6-month-old daughter has a reddish rash on her genitals. It isn’t irritating her but it looks sore. I have been putting castor oil and zinc cream on it and keeping her nappy off to dry it up. Today I even placed a cloth nappy on her all day. What else could I do to take the redness away?
A: Mardi, nappy rash (or nappy rash) is common in babies, especially right after starting solid foods, taking antibiotics or having a bout of diarrhea. You’re doing many good things to help the rash go away.

It sounds like your baby has a mild nappy rash. The earliest sign of a nappy rash is some redness of the skin in your baby’s nappy area. As the nappy rash progresses, the baby’s skin around the genitals, lower abdomen, thigh skin folds, upper thighs and buttocks can become brighter red, swollen, shiny and sensitive to touch. You may see a solid red rash or red spots. With a more severe nappy rash, the skin in the nappy area can develop blisters or open sores. Fortunately, most nappy rashes are mild, and with proper care will clear up within three to four days. Try the following (some of which you may already be doing) to help clear up the nappy rash:
  • Change your baby’s nappy more frequently. This helps protect your baby’s rash from further irritation by urine and stool. Try leaving your baby without a nappy for periods of time to help dry her skin.

  • Don’t use scented nappy wipes. These may contain perfume, alcohol and other chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin. Look for hypoallergenic nappy wipes and consider rinsing them in warm water to remove the chemicals.

  • If your baby’s bottom is tender, clean with water instead of nappy wipes. You can use a spray bottle with warm water or rinse her bottom in the sink or tub. Then gently pat her dry (don’t rub) with a towel or washcloth, or use a blow dryer on the low or cool setting, to avoid burns.

  • When you bathe your baby, use only mild baby soap. Avoid adult soaps that have deodorants, perfumes, antiperspirants and other chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin.

  • Use an over-the-counter protective ointment (e.g., with zinc oxide or petrolatum) on your baby’s nappy area. This can help protect the skin from irritation from urine and stool, and help it heal. You don’t need to rub off the ointment with each nappy change.
If your baby has a more severe nappy rash that has blisters, open sores or doesn’t go away within three to four days, contact your baby’s doctor. Your baby may need an antifungal cream or powder for a yeast infection, antibiotics for a bacterial infection of the nappy area or a steroid cream to help reduce the inflammation.