Types of Diaper Rash: Ignore Them At Your Own Risk!

Types of Diaper Rash: Ignore Them At Your Own Risk!

Diaper dermatitis commonly referred to as nappy rash or diaper rash is a common irritating skin condition that usually affects infants and children. This skin condition generally affects between 7 and 35 percent of infants between 9 and 12 months, but can affect your child at any point in their diapering phase.  Although there are several causes and types of diaper rash, it is most commonly caused by exposure to a variety of irritating substances such as new food, urine to even the diaper detergent you use.

causes of diaper rashes
Image Via: Johnsonsbaby

Diaper rash starts off looking like sunburn, so if you child’s diaper area is red and irritated, great chances is it’s diaper rash.

The skin in the area might also be warm and puffy when you touch it and can be mild with a few prickly red spots in the area to extensive with soft bumps that spread to your baby’s child’s tummy and thighs.

You can read more about the causes of diaper rash and how to prevent them here and this article discusses the various type of diaper rash to help you pursue the right treatment.

Chafing Dermatitis

Also known as irritant diaper dermatitis, chafing Dermatitis is the most common form of diaper rash, and is generally caused by urine and feces that are trapped by the diaper.

When affected by this type of nappy rash, the genital area, buttocks and thighs can appear puffy and red and usually occurs after bouts of diarrhea and can cause mild discomfort.

This type of diaper rash can be easily fixed by applying a good diaper rash cream and letting your child go diaper free.

types of diaper rash ointments

Another effective cleansing method and a great alternative to using skin irritating chemical laden wipes is to simply rinse the bottom with warm water.

Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of Eczema that is generally an inherited skin condition and generally starts off at other parts of the body and gradually moves to the groin and leg area.

After your child’s first year, Atopic dermatitis is most likely to show up at the back of knees, wrists, ankles, elbows, and is not limited to these areas.

In terms of numbers, roughly 20 percent of babies are affected by this condition, which generally starts at infancy. Atopic dermatitis isn’t contagious and generally comes and goes, and because it is very itchy, it tends to cause thickened and scaly skin.

As mentioned earlier, Atopic dermatitis is generally inherited, and even though it is not an allergic reaction to a substance, it can be triggered by irritants in the environment.

It can also be aggravated by changes in temperature, heat and even unfriendly diaper detergent. If you think your baby is affected by Atopic dermatitis, it is best to consult your doctor immediately to determine the best treatment.

different types of diaper rashes

Perianal Dermatitis

This form of diaper occurs mostly in bottle fed babies owing to their increased alkalinity of the feces. It will not appear in breast-fed babies until they start consuming solids. When affected by Perianal Dermatitis, symptoms bright to dark redness around the anus area.

Candidal Dermatitis

This is technically a yeast infection and not diaper rash and is very tender and painful. When affected with this type of yeast diaper rash, it appears in the baby’s legs, folds of the genitals and creases between the abdomen and thighs.

Studies indicate that candidal dermatitis affects mostly babies who are on antibiotics. This yeast infection may occur if common diaper rash remains untreated for more than a few days.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Also referred to as Cradle Cap, infantile Seborrheic dermatitis is somewhat similar to dandruff and as you might have guessed looks a lot like dandruff.

The cause of cradle cap is unknown, and even though it shows up in the first few months of life, it usually clears up in roughly 6 -12 months by itself.

This condition is not limited to a baby’s scalp, but can appear on eyelids, around eyebrows and ears, armpits and other creases.

Leading experts claim that the hormones passed on from baby to mother at the end of the period of pregnancy greatly contribute to the over stimulation of the seborrheic glands resulting in this condition.

Sebum is a substance that grows in these glands and is the main cause of itchiness in severe cases of cradle cap.

It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor in the event you notice any bleeding or the cradle cap condition spreads beyond your little ones scalp.


A common skin condition that affects kids between 2 and 6 years old, Impetigo is highly contagious and occurs when strep or staph bacteria enters the skin.

When affected, it shows up on the neck, face, hands of young children and infants and around the diaper area for kids that wear diapers. There are two bacteria responsible for this skin condition namely streptococcus pyogenes and staphylococcus aureus.

With regards to treatment, this is where it can get tricky because you first have to determine which of the two bacteria is causing the damage.

Good news is that when treated properly, Impetigo usually goes away within two to three weeks. Although contagious, Impetigo isn’t dangerous, but can be itchy and ugly just like any other diaper rash.

In worse cases, it may cause serious scarring, skin infections and even kidney inflammation.

With regards to symptoms, there are different types of Impetigo, but generally shows up as a group of little red blisters that ooze, burst and spread.

This blistering mostly occurs around a baby’s nose and mouth, but can also be seen in other areas including arms and legs. The big question you’re probably faced with is how your child got impetigo to begin with.

Well, the answer is simple, since this condition is contagious and caused by bacteria, your child could’ve picked it up from anywhere including touching a toy, towel or even another infected child.

baby toys

In terms of treatment, mild impetigo will go away by simply keeping the area clean. However, your baby may need a course of antibiotics (oral or cream) to speed up the healing process, which is why it is best to seek medical help if you notice any symptoms of impetigo.

Take note that your baby may remain contagious for several weeks if the condition isn’t treated, and it is highly recommended that you keep them out of public areas and daycare unless they are completed healed.

Heat Rash (Miliaria)

Miliaria also known as prickly heat or heat rash can be uncomfortable and itchy and is a common condition caused by the blockage of the sweat glands. Although this skin condition can affect all ages, babies are highly prone to it because their sweat glands are still underdeveloped compared to those of older children or adults.

Miliaria rash is generally caused by fever and most commonly affects infants who are dressed too warmly in the winter as well as the summer when weather is hot and humid.

When it comes to signs and symptoms, things can get tricky because there are two forms of heat rash namely miliaria rubra and miliaria crystallina.

Both types consist of clear fluid filled blisters, but the former is surrounded by tiny red bumps or red areas. In infants, the latter generally occurs on the neck, head and upper part of the trunk, whereas the former groin, armpits and neck area.

If you find your child scratching the affected area constantly, this would be the best time to consult your physician.

Infant Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and does affect newborns as well as adults. Treating infant psoriasis however requires special attention owing to the risks medications may pose to a developing baby.

In terms of numbers, roughly 75 million Americans are affected by psoriasis, and even though it most commonly affects people between the ages of 15 and 35, psoriasis in infants is generally seen under the ages of 2.

There is no single cause for psoriasis in both infants and adults, where some experts claim that it is genetically attached.

When affected, psoriasis first triggers an infection of the upper respiratory tract, and is often seen in the diaper area.

It is however important to note that infant psoriasis symptoms might not necessarily develop in the diaper area, but redness can appear behind the knees, in the folds and creases of skin under the armpits and even scalp.

It does look like a diaper rash when it appears on their bottoms and is itchy especially on the scalp, and is harder to cure than adults owing to the risks of side effects of the medications. Common treatment includes tar shampoo and types of topical steroids.

tar shampoo

Listed above are some of the most common diaper rashes, and apart from learning how to treat diaper rash, it is strongly advised that you consult your pediatrician upon first notice of any symptoms.


When the term diaper rash crops up, most parents think there is just one diaper and as such there’s just a single remedy. i.e. using diaper rash creams. But as you might have learnt from this guide, there are several different things that can cause itchiness, which may be a form of diaper rash, but a different ailment altogether such as infant eczema. I’ve written detailed guides on each type of diaper rash so you can take an educated step in pursuing the right solution.  


Close Menu