Nappies and nappy care for babies with eczema

A substantial proportion of babies with eczema do not get eczema in their nappy area. This is thought to be because of the humidity and the presence of urine which can act as a natural moisturiser. A synthetic version of urea, which is naturally present in urine in large quantities, is added to some moisturisers by manufacturers because it penetrates the skin quickly and attracts water, one of the things lacking in dry skin.

But, urine can irritate some children and aggravate those babies with eczema. If your baby or toddler has eczema in their nappy area, here are a few tips that may help:

  • change nappies frequently to avoid soiled nappies being in contact with the skin for extended periods of time
  • wash the soiled skin well with a soap substitute (your GP should be able to advise)
  • gently dry the area following washing
  • at every nappy change apply a thick layer of a protective barrier cream to the skin

Sometimes it may be necessary to see your GP or dermatologist. There is some very good steroid based creams available on prescription that can be used sparingly for short periods of time in order to get the eczema under control.

It is also a good idea to let the skin breath by taking nappies off for about an hour a few times a day or whenever possible, eg in between nappy changes and after a bath.

There are many varied brands of disposable and reusable nappies available. It is worth experimenting by trying different disposables, or by switching to reusable nappies to find out what suits your baby the best.

Sources used in writing this article are available on request

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Next review: 24 October 2022