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Diaper Rash: What You Need to Know

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

When people think of diaper rash, technically known as diaper dermatitis, they usually think of babies. While little ones get their fair share of diaper rashes, this condition can also strike adults. Adult diaper rash is real, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about!

Adult diaper rash is not uncommon, especially to those that are bed-ridden, or suffer from incontinence, and therefore have a need to wear adult diapers. It is typically not serious, but if left untreated it can get worse.

What exactly is adult diaper rash?

Adult diaper rash is when the skin around the diaper area (or even around pads you may be wearing) becomes pink or red in color and irritated in some way. It may look like a sore and can be itchy or painful, causing you or your loved one discomfort. While adult diaper rash is most common in those with urinary incontinence, it can happen to anyone under the right circumstances.

Signs and symptoms of adult diaper rash

Adult diaper rash usually shows up as irritated-looking skin and can be very uncomfortable. Here are a few signs of an adult diaper rash:

  • Pink or red patches

  • Dry or peeling skin

  • Small bumps

  • Itching or burning

  • Tender or painful areas

What causes adult diaper rash to happen?

Just as with babies, the irritation that causes diaper rash is due to a combination of factors, including dampness, chaffing of the skin, and a warm and moist environment.

Wearing diapers 24/7 can create a perfect storm when it comes to developing a rash, which is why babies often deal with the problem. In the same way, adults who wear diapers, incontinence underwear, or pads can also have this unwanted skin condition! Let us look at the few common causes.


Prolonged periods of wetness can be a cause of diaper rash. This may happen if you are waiting too long in between absorbent product changes. Any wetness can cause skin irritation if left for too long, but skin can be especially sensitive to urine, sweat, or stool. Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea can also lead to diaper rash since feces is more irritating than urine.


When a material rubs against the skin causing friction, or when folds of skin stick to each other for a prolonged period of time, it causes skin irritation. Diapers that don’t fit correctly, or too tight clothing can cause chafing. Chafing may occur more during warmer months of the year due to the increase in potential sweat, or if you sit in a soiled diaper for too long.

Infrequent changing

Changing your pad or incontinence underwear frequently helps to keep you clean, dry, and cool down there. The opposite happens when you don’t change often — the area will be dirty, warm, and moist, creating the ideal environment for diaper rash to develop.

Infrequent diaper changing also means that your skin spends more time in contact with your urine or stool, which is irritating and contributes to diaper rash.

Poor hygiene

Many people with urinary incontinence go through several products per day. But if you’re not cleaning the genital area well after each change, and doing a thorough cleaning each day, you may be leaving urine or stool on your skin, setting yourself up for skin irritation and diaper rash to occur.


Some adult diapers or pads are made with materials or perfumes that can cause an allergic reaction. Similarly, many soaps and creams are made with harsh or irritating ingredients. Both leave you prone to developing diaper rash.

Treatment steps

1. Clean the area

Cleanliness is of utmost importance! Gently wash the irritated skin with warm water. Remember not to use chemical or fragrance-filled soaps that can irritate your delicate skin. Instead, wash with a hypoallergenic soap.

2. Allow your skin to dry

After washing, allow your skin to dry completely. This step is imperative, since putting a diaper on wet skin will only cause more problems.

To dry off, grab a towel and pat your skin rather than rubbing it. Rubbing with a towel can irritate your skin, which is the last thing you want to do!

If you can, air out the affected area (fresh air can only help!) for a few minutes.

3. Apply diaper rash cream

Next will be to apply specially formulated diaper rash cream to the affected area, like this one: DD Adult Diaper Cream

DD Adult Diaper Cream is a special formulated cream for providing relief to diaper rash. It contains chia seed oil, bisabolol from chamomile, lavender oil and most importantly, zinc oxide.

The combination of the product provides a protective barrier to the skin, while relieving itchiness at the same time.

There are 3 main actions that makes it perfect for diaper rashes:

1) Soothe

Bisabolol extracted from chamomile and lavender oil are both good in soothing skin irritation and helps with reducing inflammation of the skin.

2) Relieve

Chia seed oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help to relieve red skin patches, rashes and itchiness.

3) Protect

Zinc oxide are excellent in creating a protective barrier between the skin and the contaminants, which is important in preventing the onset of diaper rash.

4. Cover up the area

Once the affected area is clean and dry, you’re good to cover it again.

Be sure to wear the correct size and change your diaper, incontinence brief, or pad frequently.

Preventing diaper rash

  • Ensure your diaper fits properly. A diaper that is too tight or too loose can not only affect how well it keeps you dry, but it can also cause friction, leading to diaper rash.

  • Change often - don’t sit in a diaper after it’s been soiled for longer than absolutely necessary.

  • Clean the area well after each change. Be sure to use lukewarm water and mild soap. Rinse thoroughly to remove any soapy residue. If you’re unable to wash, carry non-irritating wipes as a backup, until you’re able to wash properly.

  • Wash yourself thoroughly once per day.

  • Allow your diaper area to air out before dressing.

  • Don’t over-tighten your absorbent brief, or wear tight-fitting clothing.

  • Apply a moisture barrier ointment to your skin to prevent chafing and friction.

  • If you do develop a diaper rash, treat it right away, for example with the diaper cream.

  • Consider looking for a different product if you experience frequent episodes of diaper rash.

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