Everything You Need to Know About Adult Diaper Rashes: From Causes to Care

While diaper rash is often associated with babies and toddlers, the reality is that anyone who wears a diaper- including an adult diaper for incontinence- is at risk for this uncomfortable skin condition.

The good news is you don’t need to worry too much, at least in the beginning. Most of the time, adult diaper rash can be treated right at home and doesn’t have any long-term impacts. All you need is to understand what it is, how it works, and how you can treat it both before and after you see the symptoms. 

What is Adult Diaper Rash?

Also known as diaper dermatitis, adult diaper rash occurs when the skin in the diaper area becomes irritated. Usually, it manifests as a rash with patches of red or pink irritated skin, sometimes featuring small bumps. These rashes are treatable and usually clear up on their own or with the assistance of home remedies, topical creams, and ointments. 

Sometimes these symptoms can get worse, to the point where it can be very painful. When the irritation occurs in the areas surrounding the diaper, such as in the groin, buttocks, thighs, hips, and genital area. Even if it’s a small irritation, this can lead to severe discomfort and make it difficult to walk, wear certain clothing, or go about your daily activities.

Causes of Adult Diaper Rash

Ultimately, adult diaper rash is caused by irritation that comes from wearing diapers on a frequent or permanent basis. 

According to Clinical Pediatrics, the following conditions and situations threaten the skin in the diaper area, which could lead to instances of adult diaper rash:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Fecal enzymes on the skin
  • Changes in the body’s pH levels
  • Overhydration
  • Improper washing or lack of hygeine
  • Skin irritation from excess heat or moisture 
  • Allergic reaction from materials in the diaper or pad
  • Mechanical friction between the body and the diaper
  • Medical conditions such as eczema, yeast infections, or psoriasis

Many people believe that disposable adult diapers lead to higher risk of adult diaper rash because they are made from a more synthetic material, and this may have been true decades ago. However, today’s selection of adult diaper products features high-quality materials that are softer and better for the skin, with featured technologies that are actually designed to reduce diaper rash.

Signs and Symptoms

Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of adult diaper rash, listed from mild to severe:

  • Pink or red patches of skin 
  • Small, raised bumps
  • Dry patches of skin
  • Itchy patches of skin
  • Tenderness in the area
  • Skin lesions 
  • Pain or tenderness when wearing the diaper or other clothing
  • Extreme itching or burning
  • Large bumps that may ooze with fluid
  • Constant pain

Preventing Adult Diaper Rash

Research has shown that the most effective way to prevent adult diaper rash is to keep the skin in the surrounding area clean and dry, replace diapers as often as possible, and use super absorbent products such as those in Medpro’s maximum absorbency category.

Follow these additional tips to help prevent adult diaper rash from happening and keep you as comfortable as possible:

  • Wash and clean the area any time you soil the diaper.
  • Change your diaper if it’s remotely wet, even if it’s not from urine or feces.
  • Use hypoallergenic soaps, wipes, powders, creams, and cleansers when cleaning the diaper area.
  • If you can, try to go without the adult diapers regularly – for example, if you’re at home and know you have access to supplies in the event of an accident. This helps give you a bit more airflow down there which can reduce constant friction.
  • Make sure your adult diapers aren’t too tight. They should be snug enough to stay in place, but not too tight as to cause friction.

Treatment Options and Home Remedies For Adult Diaper Rash

There are plenty of things you can do at home that can help if you find yourself becoming uncomfortable and irritated. Try this step by step guide:

First, start by practicing the prevention tips to prevent your diaper rash from getting worse. Next, try out some natural remedies. Getting rid of adult diaper rash all comes down to treating the skin. Most people have petroleum jelly in their medicine cabinet, and this can be an effective way to soothe the irritation. 

Here are a few other natural products that you can use at home to soothe the rash and skin:

  • Shea butter (apply directly to the affected area)
  • Coconut oil (apply directly to the affected area)
  • Apple cider vinegar (dilute with water to wash the area, or in a bath)
  • Olive oil (use when cleaning the area)
  • Cornstarch (apply instead of talcum powder when changing the diaper)
  • Chamomile tea and honey (brew tea, mix with one tablespoon of honey, and apply to the affected area via spray bottle)
  • Aloe vera (apply directly to the affected area)

If those don’t work, try a cream. There are a variety of different over-the-counter products and topical ointments you can use to soothe the skin, reduce irritation, and repair the surrounding area. Medpro Direct offers a variety of high-quality creams to treat adult diaper rash from reliable and trusted Canadian brands. Look for products that contain zinc oxide, which is proven to treat rashes and is safe to use in the diaper area. Apply these creams to the whole area multiple times per day until symptoms disappear.

Recent studies on hospital patients with diaper rash have linked guaiazulene, which is a blue hydrocarbon compound, to diaper rash relief when applied as a topical pomade.

What to do if These Remedies Aren’t Working

If you get to a point where you’ve been trying out these home remedies for some time and you aren’t seeing any changes (or your diaper rash is getting worse), it’s time to see a doctor. Sometimes an underlying medical condition could be a factor, and in that case, it’s necessary to treat that condition so the symptoms can go away.

Your doctor may prescribe a stronger topical ointment, such as an antifungal medication, as well as oral medications. Sometimes you’ll need to take those medications for up to 10 days to reduce your symptoms.

Additionally, if you’re noticing that the diaper rash is occurring frequently, even if it does clear up within a few days at a time, talk to your doctor. There could be an underlying reason why this is happening, and the sooner you determine the answer the sooner you can live comfortably.

Find Adult Diaper Rash Products That Work For You at Medpro Direct 

Medpro Direct offers a range of skin care products designed to help prevent, soothe, and treat adult diaper rash. These products have been carefully selected from trusted brands that use quality materials approved by individuals and caregivers alike.

Browse our skin care creams, washes, and ointments now and get the products that make your life more comfortable.