Pediatric diaper rashes: Getting to the 'bottom' of things

Members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada may claim one non-certified credit per hour for this non-certified educational program.

Jacky Lo1, Joseph M. Lam, MD, FRCSC2
1Medical student, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
2Clinical Assistant Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Dermatology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Diaper dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions seen in the pediatric population and can cause significant distress for infants and their families. While many diaper rashes can resolve with simple treatments, having a thorough understanding of different diaper lesions can help rule out more serious conditions, guide treatment and alleviate some of the caregivers' anxiety. The following review article will provide an overview of select common and uncommon diaper eruptions.
Key Words: diaper dermatitis, pediatric, diaper rash, treatment.


I realize that this is related to the pediatric population; however, do all the same conditions not also apply to any person having to wearing a containment product like a "diaper"? Additionally the condundrum occurs when zinc is applied to the area, the cntainment product's wicking action to pull urine into the product is diminished therefore leaving the "wet" area vulnerable.

Hi Marcia, Thank you for the question. Yes, you are correct that there are certainly some conditions such as irritant/allergic contact dermatitis and candida dermatitis that can occur in adults wearing diapers as well. However, many of the other conditions that we discussed in the article such as langerhans cell histiocytosis, diaper psoriasis and lichen sclerosus are not caused by the diaper itself but are conditions that practitioners should keep in mind when assessing a "diaper rash" as they can present in the diaper area.

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