Nappy rash: Do’s and Don’ts

September 14, 2023

Nappy Rash Treatment: The Do’s And Dont’s

Nappy rash is a common skin condition among babies and toddlers. It’s not harmful to your child but it can be painful for them if it isn’t cared for properly.

Here’s some advice about how to spot nappy rash, why your child might get nappy rash, some of the things that cause it so you can avoid it if possible. There are some tips on how to treat an existing case of nappy rash and a list of do’s and don’ts that can help you manage it in future.

Newborn baby getting a diaper change

What is nappy rash?

Nappy rash is the term used to describe skin irritation of the outer layer of skin near your baby’s bottom. You’ll notice it as your baby’s bottom begins to look red, blotchy and sore.

Nappy rash is a common condition that affects babies. It’s not serious and it clears up on its own, but can be irritating for your baby.

If the nappy rash looks particularly bad, or you notice redness with weeping sores on the skin then they need medical attention.

If you have any concerns about the nappy rash or want to know how to help it clear up, please contact your paediatrician or health visitor.

What causes nappy rash?

Nappy rash is usually caused by the combination of urine and faeces irritating the skin. Most typically this is due to:

  • Not changing the nappy often enough.
  • Not cleaning their bottom often enough.
  • Your baby’s nappy rubbing against their skin.
  • A reaction to soap or detergent.
  • Baby wipes that contain alcohol.
  • If your baby is on a course of antibiotics.

In most cases, nappy rash clears up on its own within a few days without medical intervention.

In some cases nappy rash is caused by a skin infection such as thrush, that requires specific treatment.

How to treat nappy rash

Fortunately, nappy rash can be easily treated at home and should clear up within a few days with the right care.

The best way to treat nappy rash is to apply a barrier cream at each nappy change to act as protection. Your paediatrician or pharmacist can recommend a good one and will prescribe medicated ointments if thrush is the cause. Make sure your baby’s skin is completely dry before applying a thin layer of cream every time to change your baby’s nappy.

If the rash is causing particular discomfort, there are nappy rash creams you can buy at your local pharmacy that can help to soothe the affected area.

Practising good hygiene and changing your child’s nappy frequently can prevent it from reoccurring.

A nappy rash that is not resolving with treatment requires further assessment for other rarer causes.

Nappy rash do’s and don’ts

Although most cases of nappy rash clear up on their own with time there are certain things you can do to help prevent it from happening again soon after it heals.


  • Change your child’s wet or soiled nappies frequently.
  • Clean your baby’s bottom and nappy area gently and thoroughly.
  • Wipe from front to back to prevent spreading bacteria.
  • Use water or fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes.
  • Bath your baby daily
  • Have some nappy-off time after their bath to let fresh air get to their skin.


  • Don’t bathe your baby more than twice a day as it can dry out their skin and aggravate the problem.
  • Don’t rub your baby’s nappy area too firmly after washing them.
  • Don’t apply barrier cream or nappy rash cream to wet areas as it will lock in the moisture and make the problem worse.
  • Don’t use fragranced bubble bath, soap or lotions until the rash has cleared.
  • Don’t use talcum powder as it contains ingredients that could irritate your baby’s delicate skin.

At Childhealthy, we believe in the value of regular health checks and health surveillance for children of all ages, so we can keep an eye on any health, growth, or development concerns.

Our child health checks offer parents the opportunity to raise any questions or concerns relating to their child’s health from birth to teenage years. If you have a question, if you’re concerned about your child’s nappy rash, or if would like to book a health check for your child, please contact us, we will be happy to help.


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