We have a 15-month-old daughter who has the worst case of diaper rash we've ever seen. It started after she had taken some antibiotics. It's bright red with little blisters. We've been using Desinex. We sometimes let her run around without a diaper on, hoping that it will help. Is this caused by yeast? What can we do?
Skin wetness is the common denominator underlying the various causes of diaper rash. Urinary wetness increases skin friction, raises the skin pH, makes the skin less cohesive, and makes it more permeable. These effects combine to intensify the action of stool enzymes or other irritants that then inflame the skin.
A surprising number of different entities fall under the label of diaper rash:
In all the above diaper rashes, the outermost layer of skin -- stratum corneum -- has been damaged. With this protective layer breached, it's easy for microorganisms such as yeast or bacteria to invade the inflamed skin. This makes the rash worse and less responsive to usual treatments.
Yeast is by far the most common type of organism found in a diaper rash. The organism is quite prevalent and thrives on warm, moist skin. Yeast involvement should be suspected in any diaper rash that hasn't improved dramatically with 72 hours of appropriate therapy. Current or recent antibiotic use makes a yeast infection even more likely, since this reduces the amount of the skin's "good" bacteria that fight infection. A classic yeast rash is beefy red with sharp raised borders and white scales. Small satellite lesions surround the main rash. Even without the classic pattern, however, yeast is often present.
Your daughter may well have a yeast rash. Try adding a cream such as Lotrimin AF to your usual diaper rash regimen. Continue air drying and applying a protective layer such as Desitin over the Lotrimin. Washing with warm water may also be helpful. If the rash hasn't improved within 72 hours of this treatment, it's probably still a yeast infection, but contact your doctor for additional help.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.