We all have a healthy bacteria that lives in our gastrointestinal tract called lactobacillus acidophilus (or acidophilus for short). When we eat, acidophilus helps to break down our food, and in doing so it produces byproducts like hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid. These byproducts kill unwelcome organisms and bacteria that naturally exist in our intestines from the foods we eat. When baby gets a yeast diaper rash, it is because this harmful bacteria from the intestines has invaded the outer skin area and baby’s acidophilus bacteria was unable to combat it. Thrush is another sign that acidophilus is low in baby's system. This most often occurs if baby has consumed something that has killed the acidophilus bacteria. Common culprits are oral antibiotics, sugar, non-organic dairy, gluten, or breast milk from a mother with a yeast infection. For this reason, the only way to cure a yeast rash is to kill the harmful yeast fungus and restore the body's natural balance of bacteria.
1. Make sure it's yeast
Yeast diaper rashes look like open chicken pox or pimples in baby’s genital area. On occasion they are accompanied by thrush in baby's mouth. Yeast rash also looks very similar to HFMD (hand, food and mouth disease) rash. In either case, the rash will not improve after 2 days. Your pediatrician can run a culture test to determine which type of rash it is for sure. You can also look at pictures in our diaper rash guide to diagnose your rash.
2. Kill the fungus with probiotics, ACV or coconut oil
Apply any one of the following to the affected area to clear the rash. This should be applied frequently and in between each diaper change to clear up the rash and kill the yeast.
a. Acidophilus Paste: Combine 1 tbsp of infant probiotic powder, 2 cups of water, 1 crushed glove of garlic. Mix well and let sit for 30 minutes. Then apply.
b. Apple Cider Vinegar (Mix in a 1:3 ratio with water to prevent stinging)
c. Gentian Violet (*can cause purple staining on clothes)
d. Coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil
3. Give your baby infant probiotics
Acidophilus (or Infant Probiotics) can be found in many foods including special acidophilus milk, yogurt, carrots, rice starch, bananas, soybeans, garlic and garbanzo beans. In addition, acidophilus can be purchased in capsules, powder form, liquids, and tablets at health food stores. Feeding baby foods high in acidophilus or adding one teaspoon of acidophilus powder per day to baby’s bottle can restore the good bacteria. If baby is on solids, it is best to give the acidophilus supplement one hour before meals.
4. Disinfect your diapers with bleach for up to 2 weeks
Yeast can live up to 5 days on baby’s skin and clothes even after the rash has cleared. Be sure to disinfect baby’s diapers, clothes, and sheets in between uses and up to 1 week after the rash has cleared to prevent reoccurrence. To disinfect add bleach to the FIRST wash cycle of baby's clothes, sheets and diapers.
NOTE: It will take roughly a week for the rash to clear and another week to kill the bacteria in your cloth diapers.
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Does your baby have a diaper rash? This chart will help you determine what type of rash your baby has, what caused it, and how you can treat it quickly.