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'Nappy Rashes'

How to treat, prevent and when to seek medical advice

First Line of Treatment

  • Ensure the nappy fits properly (too tight increases skin occlusion; too loose minimizes absorption of fluids).

  • ‘Air time’. Leave nappies off for as long as possible to help skin drying of the nappy area.

  • Clean the skin and change the nappy every 3–4 hours, or as soon as possible after wetting or soiling, to reduce skin exposure to urine and faeces.

  • Use water, or fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes.

  • Bath your Baby daily — avoid excessive bathing (such as more than twice a day) which may dry the skin excessively.

  • do not use soaps, baby lotion or bubble bath as they can irritate the skin

  • do not use talcum powder or antiseptics on nappy rash

  • do not put nappies on too tightly as it can irritate the skin


Nappy rash usually clears up after about 3 days if you follow these hygiene tips


If it does not clear

  • Your local Health Visitor or Pharmacist can recommend a nappy rash cream to treat it.

  • You should apply the cream first and wait a few minutes before you apply the barrier cream.

When to seek medical advice

  • If the rash doesn't go away or your baby develops a persistent bright red, moist rash with white or red pimples that spreads into the folds of their skin, they may have an infection.

  • Follow your Prescriber, Health Visitor or GP's instructions on whether and when to apply barrier cream as well as the prescribed cream.

[CHC 2.3.2023  National Health Service: Choices

The recommendations on management are largely based on a Cochrane systematic review Disposable nappies for preventing napkin dermatitis in infants [Baer et al, 2006], and expert opinion in review articles on nappy rash [Lund, 1999; Visscher, 2009; Ravanfar et al, 2012; Ness, 2013; Coughlin, 2014; Stamatas, 2014; Merrill, 2015; Atherton, 2016; Van Gysel, 2016; Cohen, 2017].

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