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Nappy rash

Nappy rash is common in babies and can usually be treated at home.

Check if your baby has nappy rash

Symptoms of nappy rash can include:

  • red or raw patches on your baby’s bottom or the whole nappy area
  • skin that looks sore and feels hot to touch
  • scaly and dry skin
  • an itchy or painful bottom
  • your baby seeming uncomfortable or distressed
  • spots, pimples, or blisters on bottom (spots can appear red or brown, but may be less noticeable on brown and black skin)
Nappy rash on a baby with white skin. The skin around the bottom is red and blotchy.

Things you can do to help with nappy rash

Nappy rash can be treated and prevented by following some simple advice.


  • change wet or dirty nappies as soon as possible

  • keep the skin clean and dry – pat or rub the skin gently to dry it

  • leave nappies off when possible

  • use extra absorbent nappies

  • make sure your baby's nappies fit properly

  • clean your baby's skin with water or fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes

  • bath your baby daily (but not more than twice a day, as washing too much can make the skin dry out)


  • do not use soaps, baby lotion or bubble bath as they can irritate the skin

  • do not use talcum powder or antiseptics on nappy rash

  • do not put nappies on too tightly as it can irritate the skin

A pharmacist can help with nappy rash

If the rash is causing your baby discomfort, a pharmacist can recommend a nappy rash cream or medicine to treat it at home.

They may suggest using a thin layer of a barrier cream to protect the skin or giving your baby child's paracetamol for pain relief (only suitable for babies over 2 months old).

Non-urgent advice: See a health visitor or GP if:

  • your baby's nappy rash does not go away, gets worse or spreads to other areas
  • your baby has a high temperature
  • your baby seems very uncomfortable

Treatment for nappy rash

A GP may prescribe treatment if your baby is in a lot of discomfort or they think your baby might have an infection.

They may prescribe:

  • a steroid cream or ointment to help with redness and soreness
  • an antifungal cream, if they think your baby has a thrush infection
  • antibiotics, if they think your baby has a bacterial infection

Causes of nappy rash

It's normal for babies to sometimes get nappy rash.

It can be caused by:

  • your baby's skin being in contact with pee or poo for a long time
  • not cleaning the nappy area or changing the nappy often enough
  • the nappy rubbing against your baby's skin
  • an allergic reaction to soap, detergent or bubble bath
  • irritation from fragranced baby wipes or wipes containing alcohol
  • some types of medicines, such as antibiotics or laxatives (used to make a baby poo more often)
  • thrush (a fungal infection)

Page last reviewed: 1 January 2023
Next review due: 1 January 2026