Diaper dermatitis: etiology, manifestations, prevention, and management

Pediatr Dermatol. 2014 Jan-Feb;31(1):1-7. doi: 10.1111/pde.12245. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


Pediatricians and parents report diaper dermatitis (DD) to be one of the most common skin diseases that affects almost every child at some point during the early months and years of life. Diapered skin is exposed to friction and excessive hydration, has a higher pH than nondiapered skin, and is repeatedly soiled with feces that contains enzymes with high irritation potential for the skin. The combination of these factors frequently results in skin damage, leading to visible erythematous lesions that can be irritating and painful to the child. Behavioral changes such as increased crying and agitation and changes in eating and sleeping patterns indicate emotional distress. Appropriate skin care can help to prevent the occurrence of DD and to speed up the healing of affected skin. This includes frequent diaper changes and aeration, gentle cleansing, and the use of a barrier cream. Mild to moderate cases usually resolve after a few days of following this routine, but the use of harsh cleaning products can exacerbate DD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diaper Rash* / etiology
  • Diaper Rash* / prevention & control
  • Diaper Rash* / therapy
  • Feces / enzymology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Skin Care / methods*