Diaper rash can be distressing for parents and painful for baby, but we’ve got help for parents who want to learn more about how to avoid it in the first place and use as simple products as possible when it does occur.
We spoke with doctor of naturopathic medicine Leslie Solomonian, who teaches paediatrics at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and asked her to explain the ins and outs of diaper rash and how to treat it naturally.
Understanding the causes
Solomonian explained that the most common causes of diaper rash are retaining moisture and warmth and the growth of organisms in the diaper. Commonly the growth is candida, or yeast, which is present in stools but grows and becomes problematic. Irritation can also be caused by moist skin rubbing against itself.
Some children are more prone to diaper rash because of food allergies. If your child has chronic diaper rash identifying and removing a food allergen can help. If the problem is specifically yeast, sometimes removing refined sugar can help a lot, because yeast loves to feed off it.
In extreme cases it could also be caused by a lack of good bacteria in the digestive system. Giving the child probiotic supplements, found in powder or liquid form at natural food stores, can restore the good bacteria, but check with your healthcare practitioner before starting this type of treatment.
1. The first thing you should do is keep the area as dry and clean as possible. “I often recommend to parents that they let their kids go naked when at home. Infants can be placed on an absorbent towel,” said Solomonian.
2. Prompt diaper changes.
3. Calendula, an extract of marigold that helps the skin to heal. The best form for diaper rash is a water-based cream. It’s also anti-microbial, which means it fights organism growth and it’s anti-inflammatory, which helps alleviate discomfort.
Solomonian suggests using the zinc chamomile cream from St. Francis Herb, which also contains calendula. Zinc is a common mainstream cure for diaper rash and is effective because it creates a barrier between the skin and organisms growing in the warm, moist environment of the diaper. She also recommends a straight calendula cream from Seroyal.
4. Baking soda in the bath water. This is not only soothing but also helps restore the ph balance in the affected area because it can become a very acidic environment in a diaper.
If the diaper rash is causing open sores, Solomonian recommends not putting any products on it because it might sting. First, get it under control by keeping the area dry and clean.
You should consult a professional if the diaper rash persists for more than two days after treating it, or if the diaper rash is recurrent and very upsetting to the child.
If you want to see a naturopathic doctor, a good source for finding an accredited naturopath in your area is the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors.