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My baby has red buttocks: how can I soothe them?

Babies have sensitive skin that is easily prone to redness. This is especially true for the nappy area, which undergoes constant friction due to the continuous wearing of nappies. What should you do if your child has a nappy rash? What actions can help soothe it? Find some answers in this article.

Summary
Published April 11, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

What is nappy rash?

Just like adults, babies can also suffer from skin inflammation, particularly nappy rash. Several factors are responsible for these redness, such as prolonged contact of the buttocks with a wet nappy or an allergic reaction of the baby's skin to an irritating substance in the nappy, cream or soap. A bacterial or fungal colonisation can also be the cause of a nappy rash.

Even though they are often harmless, redness on a child's buttocks requires special attention and monitoring as their comfort depends on it. The irritation is not just visual, it also causes itching and tingling, which are difficult for a baby to endure as they do not understand the cause. Moreover, without appropriate treatment, the redness can spread to other areas of the body, or even become infected. To avoid this, prompt intervention is necessary.

How to alleviate nappy rash?

Even though diaper rash can be treated relatively easily, the prevention remains the best option.

The management of a baby's nappy rash focuses on two main objectives : accelerating the healing of damaged skin and preventing a new diaper rash. The first step involves rebuilding the child's weakened skin barrier. For this, the use of gentle cleansing care with a rich formulation containing emollients (squalane, glycerine, panthenol...) as well as lipid-replenishing active ingredients (ceramides, vegetable oils...) is recommended. These treatments will not only help the epidermis regain its integrity but will also strengthen the hydrolipidic film, which is naturally fragile in newborns.

We recommend for this purpose our cica-repair balm. To be used twice a day on your baby's bottom, this treatment promotes the reconstruction of the skin barrier thanks to its dressing-like texture. Our balm also combines the sanitising action of the copper-zinc complex with the soothing effect of Centella asiatica to immediately soothe the skin and make it more comfortable. It also contains baobab oil, rich in fatty acids and possessing nourishing and lipid-replenishing properties.

Frequent nappy changes (every one to three hours) are also crucial in managing nappy rash as they help to reduce the risk of infection. It is also important to avoid rubbing or friction during nappy changes and to gently clean the area, rinse it and pat it dry to minimise skin trauma. Ideally, an infant with nappy rash should also have periods of rest without a nappy to expose the damaged skin to the open air and reduce its contact time with the moisture from the nappy.

While the use of "traditional" moisturising preparations is generally sufficient to eliminate mild redness, moderate to severe nappy dermatitis requires more advanced medical intervention. In the event offungal infection, agents such as nystatin, clotrimazole, miconazole, ketoconazole or sertaconazole can be applied to the baby's buttocks at each nappy change. In the presence of bacterial colonisation, the paediatrician may prescribe antibiotics. Applying mupirocin twice a day for five to seven days generally effectively curbs the infection.

Finally, mild topical corticosteroids can also be used, for a maximum period of two weeks. 1% hydrocortisone is one of the reference treatments for babies, as stronger corticosteroids can lead to serious side effects in this vulnerable population, such as skin atrophy, intracranial hypertension, growth delay or Cushing's syndrome.

Sources

  • KANTI V. & BLUME-PEYTAVI U. Prevention and treatment of nappy rash. Paediatric Dermatology (2018).

  • MICETIC-TURK D. & al. Diagnosis and management of nappy rash in infants with a focus on skin microbiota in the nappy area. International Journal of Dermatology (2018).

  • CICCONE A. & VARBANOV M. Diaper rash, advice and treatments. Pharmaceutical News (2020).

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