6 Natural Ways to Treat Diaper Rash (& Why Petroleum Jelly Is Not One Of Them)
Most of us expect baby skin to be smooth as satin, soft and flawless. Unfortunately, the reality is when it comes to baby’s skin, what’s underneath the diaper can be a different story. It can be almost guaranteed, at some point or another, that infant skin will erupt into some sort of skin ailment in his/her first 12 months. For one, no baby escapes the most common skin issue – diaper rash.
Why is this so? According to Dr. Bernard Cohen, M.D., director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the baby’s epidermis layer takes about a year to function properly. As a newborn infant, skin is thin with less pigment and not able to regulate temperature well. This can cause many skin issues to occur.
Unfortunately, no mother is spared from diaper rash. Diaper rash occurss because the nappy area is warm and moist, breaking down baby’s tender skin makeup. Once baby’s pee and poo is added to the mix, the diaper area becomes a perfect environment for skin breakouts. The condition is exacerbated by friction when sensitive baby skin rubs on wet diaper or when skin is exposed to acidic irritants like urine, feces and cleaning agents. Allergic reactions to laundry detergent, soap, diaper wipes, diaper material and lotion can also cause diaper rash.
What to do
1. Change baby diaper often.
2. Rinse baby’s bum with warm water. Pat dry or air dry baby’s bottom before putting on a new diaper.
3. Avoid over-tighten diaper.
4. Consider using a natural-based ointment like lanolin (Read Sheep Fat That Saves Skin).
When it comes to ointments, most mothers would automatically reach for petroleum jelly or Vaseline. Petroleum jelly is generally considered harmless and often seen as a “cure-all” ointment. The main ingredient is a derivative of crude oil refining. Imagine the jelly coating found at the bottom of an oil rig – that is petroleum jelly! While carcinogenic components of petroleum jelly are removed from the oil in the refining process, the problem is that there are plenty of petroleum jelly imitators in the market. And it is hard to determine the extent of which these components are removed in the jar you are using at home for your baby’s tush.
For the record, Vaseline is triple-purified, highly-refined and regarded as non-carcinogenic. But then again, there are so many “Vaseline fakes”.
The other issue with petroleum jelly is it creates the illusion of moisturized and hydrated skin, when in actual fact, it is water-repellent and non-soluble. What does this mean? It merely seals the skin’s barrier so moisture does not leave the skin. This essentially also seals in dirt. When skin is sealed to keep out air and water, it is not able to breathe. This triggers dry skin and possible breakouts. You may be facing a never-ending battle of nappy rash!
If petroleum jelly is not your preferred option, don’t worry. We have 5 natural (and easy) ways to treat diaper rash that you will thank us for.
1. Breast milk
Rub a few drops of breast milk unto the skin and leave it a few minutes to air dry before putting on a new diaper. Believe it or not, applying human breast milk to the site of your baby’s nappy rash can help the skin heal. Many mothers have claimed this works better than any cream or skin product.
2. Plain sugar-free yogurt
Rub a layer of yogurt (like you would with cream) on the affected area. Wipe it clean with every diaper change and apply a new layer until the rash is gone. The important thing about using yogurt for nappy rash is to use plain and sugar-free yogurt.
3. Baking soda
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into your baby’s bath water. This will make a soothing soak for irritated skin. The thing about baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is it neutralizes acids, balances the body’s PH balance and inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast and infection.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Dilute a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with half a cup of water. Lightly dab it onto your baby’s rash with a washcloth and let the skin dry. Urine is very alkaline and prolong exposure can burn the infant’s skin. Vinegar balances the skin’s acid-alkaline ratio and has anti-bacterial agents to prevent and treat diaper rash.
5. Coconut oil
Apply a thin layer to the affected area to soothe the skin. For all naturist mothers, coconut oil seems to be the “cure all”, one of which is diaper rash. Coconut oil is a natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. This makes it is safe and gentle for your baby. The best kind of coconut oil to use is organic and virgin.
6. Naked Bum
One of the best ways to treat diaper rash is to let your baby go naked and air dry for intermittent periods of time. Skin rashes thrive in wet environments. No matter how many times you change a baby’s diaper, it will still have a little wetness. If the rash is severe and need be, leave your baby naked overnight. Simply lay down an absorbent pad underneath them when they go to sleep.