Infant Comfort: How Diaper Rash Spray Works

Learn how diaper rash sprays help to treat and prevent diaper rash without the mess of traditional ointments and powders.

Most diaper rash treatments are of the old-fashioned ointment type: a heavy cream or sticky ointment that is either petrolatum-based or contains zinc oxide. Ointments such as A&D work well for preventing diaper rash, while zinc oxide ointments such as Desitin are effective for either treating or preventing a rash. And, of course, there's always cornstarch baby powder, which is good for helping to keep the baby's bottom dry when no rash is present, but does not treat an existing rash. (Talcum powder, that traditional favorite of mothers everywhere, should not be used on infants because it can be harmful to the baby's lungs when inhaled.)

All of these treatments are effective for either treating or preventing diaper rash, depending on the severity of the rash, but can be very messy to apply. That's why some companies have begun to manufacture diaper rash sprays. There are very few such products currently available, but their ease of use makes them worth a try.

How does a diaper rash spray work? These sprays, like several diaper rash ointments, most often contain zinc oxide. Zinc oxide acts as a barrier between baby's skin and wetness, and is effective for longer periods of time than petrolatum-based ointments or cornstarch baby powder - which makes it ideal for overnight use or for a baby who has very sensitive skin. Besides zinc oxide, diaper rash sprays may also contain additional soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or moisturizers.

When treating an infant's diaper rash, it is important to remember that a clean and dry baby is less likely to get a rash. Wash the diaper area well when bathing the baby (but use a hypoallergenic soap or cleanser that won't irritate your baby's skin, if sensitive skin is a problem). After the bath, make sure the area is thoroughly dry before applying diaper rash spray or ointment and putting on the diaper. Using diapers that wick moisture away from baby's skin is also a good way to prevent rashes.

It is also important to note the type of rash, because a diaper rash that is caused by a yeast infection not only won't respond to a diaper rash spray, but may even be irritated by it. If your baby tends to have diaper rashes that are fiery red with raised red bumps or ridges, your baby most likely has a yeast infection and will need a special prescription ointment called Nystatin. Yeast infections are very common in babies who are on antibiotics, so talk to your doctor about yeast infections and Nystatin at the same time he prescribes the antibiotics. (And once your child has had a yeast infection, it is likely to be a recurring problem - so keep the Nystatin handy.)

As long as your baby has a normal rash that would respond to a regular, over-the-counter ointment or cream, using a diaper rash spray is a wonderful way to care for your baby's skin while keeping your hands clean.

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