Diaper rash is caused by a skin reaction to irritating diapers and prolongedcontact with stool, urine, perspiration, soaps, detergents or creams. Typically, the rash affects the groin around the genitals and buttocks; it is red and scaly with tiny bumps, blisters or cracks. When areas outside the diaper region appear, it is important to rule out yeast infections, eczema, psoriasis, and other problems. Fever, pus, and digestive symptoms are not caused by simple diaper rash, and should prompt evaluation for other problems.
In her excellent book, Natural Child Care, Maribeth Riggs suggestsa well formulated ointment. I am quoting her directions for DiaperRash Skin Ointment partly because they are good, but also as an example of how such useful information can be presented for home use:
This ointment is made from ingredients that will help keep the surface of an infant’s skin dry, nourish the skin, and fight bacteria.Comfrey Root, Chickweed, and Marshmallow Root all have one thing in common:they contain large amounts of calcium, which can help stimulate tissue growth.Comfrey Root, in particular, is noted for its healing powers, sporting common folk names like knitbone and bruisewort. These three herbs combined with Goldenseal powder, which serves as a topical antiseptic, are an excellent combination for combating diaper rash. Beeswax and sweet almond oil both have skin nourishing and soothing qualities. This ointment is also good for mild abrasions, sunburns and hives.1 Tbl. Chickweed
1 Tbl. Marshmallow Root
1 Tbl. Comfrey Root
1/8 tsp. Golden Seal Root powder
1 cup sweet almond oil
1/4 cup beeswax
- Combine the Chickweed, Marshmallow Root, Comfrey Root and GoldensealRoot powder in a cast-iron frying pan with the sweet almond oil.
- Gently fry the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the herbs burn.
- When the mixture is hot, add the beeswax and melt it down.
- When the beeswax is completely melted, strain the mixture through a cheese cloth into a small, labeled jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Refrigerate the ointment until it solidifies. The final ointment isan opaque tan color and smells of beeswax and Comfrey Root. Keep the ointment in a convenient place near the infant’s changing table, away from heat.Discard any used portion after 2 months.
Application: Apply the ointment by gently rubbing it on the diaperarea each time the diaper is changed. This ointment is very soothing toa rashy infant. Three or 4 applications are usually enough to get rid ofdiaper rash. If the infant’s diaper rash does not respond to this treatment, or if it keeps reappearing, investigate factors such as the proper disinfection of diapers, changes in diet, or other skin disorders.
Herbs will not usually be enough to clear this problem, unless used in thecontext of appropriate care being taken with such issues as:
- Change wet diapers promptly and frequently. Switch types of diapers disposable to cloth or reverse. Use protective ointment (bees wax, zincoxide, calendula, Diaper Rash Skin Ointment).
- Avoid or reduce the use of occlusive rubber pants over the diaper.
- Allow baby to go without diaper, and air and sun dry the area.
- Do not use talcum powder or corn starch. If you must powder, use a clay product.