Yeast Diaper Rash: Symptoms and Treatment

Yeast Diaper Rash

It is a truth universally acknowledged that babies go through a ton of diapers. A newborn will typically have at least six wet diapers and at least three or four poop diapers per day! You do your best to keep your baby clean and dry, but diaper rashes happen to the best of us. Garden-variety diaper rash may only require a little extra diaper cream, but it’s meaner cousin, the yeast diaper rash, can demand additional attention.

What Is Yeast Diaper Rash?

A run-of-the-mill diaper rash develops when your baby sits too long in a wet or dirty diaper. The wetness, chafing material, and acidic nature of the urine can irritate your baby’s skin. The rash that appears is a form of contact dermatitis. Usually, more frequent changes and thick diaper cream (which creates a barrier between baby’s skin and the diaper) gives skin a chance to settle down.

A yeast diaper rash is caused by a fungus called Candida. You’ve got Candida on your skin all the time. It’s part of your normal host of yeast and skin flora. The problem is, Candida loves warm, moist places, like the inside of a diaper, and it can cause issues if it grows too much. If you or your baby are taking antibiotics, this can also clear the way for a yeast diaper rash to develop.

Yeast Diaper Rash Symptoms

It can be tough to spot the difference between ordinary and yeast diaper rash at first. Look out for these symptoms if you’re not sure:

  • Beefy rash: Yeast rashes are often deep red, with a raised or puffy border. If your baby’s butt is starting to resemble raw steak, ask your pediatrician if this is a yeast rash.
  • Doesn’t respond to treatment: If the rash doesn’t go away after about two days of using the cream and changing practices you use for regular diaper rash, that’s a sign of a potential fungal infection.
  • Red, scaly areas: A baby boy’s scrotum might be affected, and a baby girl’s labia may show this symptom.
  • Sores, pimples, blisters, and bumps that may contain pus

When in doubt, call your pediatrician! Don’t feel embarrassed about asking questions. First-time parents in particular are dealing with a brand-new experience, so feel free to check a professional’s opinion.

How to Treat Yeast Diaper Rash

If you know the yeast diaper rash culprit, Candida, loves environments that are warm and moist, you can probably guess one of the first steps to getting rid of the rash: Keep the area dry and cool!

  • Step up the number of times you check and change diapers, so your baby doesn’t spend long in wet things. Giving your baby time to “air out” after a change helps, too.
  • A diaper rash can make skin tender, and any areas with broken skin can sting when you wipe them. Keep your little one as comfortable as possible by using unscented wipes and mild, unscented cleansers.
  • Don’t sprinkle cornstarch on the area. This might actually act as a source of food for Candida.
  • Your pediatrician can recommend their preferred over-the-counter anti-fungal cream to get rid of the colony causing the rash.
  • Call the doctor if the rash still isn’t going away in 4-7 days, the rash spreads farther, or your baby develops a fever. These could be signs of another infection requiring medical attention.

Yeast rashes are no fun, but don’t beat yourself up if your baby gets one. The important thing is to take smart action to heal the rash and get your little one feeling clean and comfortable again.

Jessica Sillers
Jessica Sillers is a parenting and finance writer whose work has been featured in Pregnancy & Newborn, Headspace, and more. As a new mom herself, she’s passionate about helping other parents find the community and support they need. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading, and hiking.

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