For individuals who wear adult diapers to address their incontinence issues, following the proper hygiene practices can be of the utmost importance.
Have you been seeing pink or red patches on your skin as of late, or experiencing extreme pain, itching, and burning along your inner thighs or genitals? Perhaps you (or someone you know) suffers from incontinence, and wants to prevent adult diaper rash. If so, we've got you covered.
Contrary to common knowledge, diaper rash is not just something that affects infants and toddlers. Adults are equally (or more) likely to get a rash from diapers, pads, and incontinence briefs. The reasons can be numerous — from frequently wearing pads, to allergic reactions, and more. Thankfully, there are concrete ways to prevent and minimize these rashes.
This article will take you through everything you need to know about adult diaper rash, and how to reduce it or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
What Does Adult Diaper Rash Look Like?
Adult diaper rash is a condition wherein your skin may get red and irritated around the diaper area. Alternatively, you may experience pain, burning, or even get boils.
Also referred to as diaper dermatitis, these rashes may be of different types. Here are the symptoms of adult diaper rash to keep an eye out for:
- Pink patches
- Itchy spots
- Burning skin
- Dry patches
- Tenderness or pain in the skin
- Bumps or boils with fluid
These symptoms can appear anywhere around the genitals, thighs, buttocks, or even up to the hips.
What Causes Diaper Rash in Adults?
Frequent use of wet diapers and incontinence briefs for extended periods — leading to constant dampness of the skin — is the prime cause of adult diaper rash. Some of the other visible causes are:
- Skin irritation caused due to prolonged rubbing against the diapers in individuals with sensitive skin.
- Lack of hygiene or improper washing
- Allergic reactions might occur from dyes, perfumes, or materials of the incontinence pad or diaper
- Candidiasis, a fungal infection caused due to heat and dampness in the area
- Other yeast and bacterial infections
The causes can vary depending upon your skin pH levels and sensitivity. The good news, however, is individuals with incontinence can opt for a definitive diaper rash treatment.
Adult Diaper Rash Treatment
If you are wondering how to get rid of adult diaper rash, here are multiple options for a diaper rash treatment.
- Use an OTC adult diaper cream containing zinc oxide
- Apply petroleum jelly over the ointment
- Wear underwear with a heavy absorbency capacity
Apply the cream 3-4 times a day after patting the affected area completely dry. Also, try to reduce the use of diaper pads until the skin fully recovers.
Visit the Doctor
If the treatment measures mentioned above do not exhibit signs of recovery even after 3-4 days, and the rash is severe, it may be a useful time to visit a doctor. A licensed physician can examine the skin and suggest a stronger cream for diaper rash treatment.
In the case of a fungal or yeast infection like candida, your doctor will recommend specific antifungal ointments and oral medicines.
Note: Individuals with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema may need special ointments, such as corticosteroid creams1. This is not medical advice — let the medical professionals examine your specific situation, and discuss what the best path forward might be for your specific case.
For mild symptoms, applying one of the following substances2 2-3 times daily may provide slight relief for your adult diaper rash:
- Aloe vera
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Calamine lotion
- Diluted apple cider vinegar
- Shea butter
Prevent Diaper Rash Naturally
Individuals with incontinence may fear getting diaper rashes; however, if you follow the preventive measures correctly, you decrease the chances that you will need to opt for treatments.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
Your best bet for preventing a diaper rash is:
- Change diapers frequently
- Let the diaper area dry up multiple times a day
- Apply an anti-moisture ointment before wearing a diaper
- Use hypoallergenic products, or creams and body washes specifically designed for people with incontinence
- Take some breaks from the use of pads and diapers, if possible
- Avoid wearing very tight diapers
Modifying your daily practices is the best way to prevent adult diaper rash.
Top Products for Treating the Symptoms of Diaper Rash
Modifying your daily practices is the best way to prevent adult diaper rashes. This includes using products that are specifically designed to assist with your exact condition. Some of the industry leaders are:
- Cleansing cream: Designed especially for individuals with incontinence, TENA Cleansing Cream cleans even the most delicate skin types with the utmost care.
- Protective underwear: The Abena Abri-Flex Protective Underwear exhibits heavy absorbency features. This reduces moisture and helps prevent rashes.
- Washable bed pad: The Abena Tuckable Washable Bed Pad absorbs up to 50 fl oz. The best part is you can wash it up to 300 times without any signs of wear.
- Super-absorbent underpad: The Prevail Super Absorbent Underpad ensures prolonged dryness. You can place it on a chair, bed, or other sitting surfaces.
- Body wash: The TENA Body Wash and Shampoo is unscented and is produced especially for older adults with sensitive skin and hair.
- Cleaning wipes: Tranquility Cleaning Wipes are ultra-soft, paraben-free wipes, perfect for travel and personal care. Furthermore, these are free of alcohol and comprise aloe vera.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about adult diaper rash:
Are baths good for diaper rash?
Yes, bathing daily with warm water can help treat the diaper rash, as it will prevent the infection or allergy from spreading. You can also add two tablespoons of baking soda into the warm bath water to soothe skin redness and irritation.
How to get rid of diaper rash in 24 hours: Is this possible, or is it just a pipe dream?
It's not always possible to get rid of adult diaper rash within 24 hours, this depends on the severity and other factors specific to your situation. However, for best results, and to try to alleviate your symptoms as quickly as possible, you may try:
- Wash with water instead of using wet wipes
- Air-dry the area before wearing incontinence briefs or pads
- Use a quality, well-proven cleansing cream
- Change a diaper as soon as it gets wet
- Say no to tight diapers; wear a diaper that ensures breathability
Do rashes occur with light bladder leakage products?
Yes, constant use of bladder leakage products may lead to skin rashes around the genitals, thighs, and hip area. If you use pads due to urinary incontinence, your skin is in contact with urine for a prolonged period. This may lead to irritation, itchiness, redness, bumps, and other similar conditions.
Urinary incontinence has multiple consequences, and adult diaper rash is one of the serious ones. Constant dampness of the skin leads to infections, allergies, and severe irritation.
In such a case, your best bet is to modify your daily routine and follow concrete preventive measures. These include going a step ahead to ensure complete hygiene and regular care using quality products specially designed for incontinent individuals.
1. Ference, J.; Last, A., MD, MPH (January 2009). "Choosing Topical Corticosteroids". American Family Physician.
Disclaimer: The information presented here is purely for educational purposes and should not be used in place of the advice of your doctor or physician.