Contact Dermatitis In Babies: Causes, Cure & Symptoms

Contact Dermatitis In Babies: Causes, Cure & Symptoms

13 Jun 2022 | 5 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 607 Articles

The word, ‘Dermatitis’ is used to describe a number of skin irritations and rashes caused by genetics, an overactive immune system, infections, allergies, irritating substances and more. 

Contact dermatitis in babies is an inflammation of the skin caused when the little one comes in contact with a foreign substance. This can be any chemical substance, including soaps, detergents, and fabric softeners and the reaction can look like a burn.

Medical studies suggest that contact dermatitis in babies is common as their skin is ultra-sensitive and delicate. Here’s everything you need to know about  contact dermatitis in babies.

Types Of Contact Dermatitis

There are two main types of contact dermatitis:

  1. Allergic contact dermatitis: These cause the little one’s immune system to have an allergic reaction. Some of the common allergens include jewellery metals (like nickel), skincare products, fragrances and preservatives.

It can take several days after exposure for an itchy, red rash to develop.

  1. Irritant contact dermatitis: This painful rash tends to come on your little one’s skin quickly in response to an irritating substance. Some of the common irritants include detergents and soap.
Since the most common form of contact dermatitis in babies is diaper rashes, diapers should be changed frequently. | Image Source: pexels

Causes of Contact Dermatitis In Babies

The most common form of contact dermatitis in babies is diaper rashes. Some of the causes of contact dermatitis are:

  • Allergic reaction: Allergic reaction as a result of using wet wipes, lotions, soaps or detergents that contain nasties like paraben, phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, sodium benzoate and TCC (triclocarban).
  • Friction: When the baby’s bottom is rubbed by the diaper, the resultant friction can also cause diaper rashes, a form of contact dermatitis.
  • Irritation: A wet or dirty diaper can irritate your little one’s skin. The acid in poop or urine can cause the skin to become red and itchy.
  • Infection: A fungal or yeast infection typically created in warm, moist environments can also be a form of contact dermatitis.
A wet or dirty diaper can irritate your little one’s skin and make it itchy. | Image Source: pexels

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis In Babies

Some of the symptoms of contact dermatitis in babies include a skin rash that is:

  • Red, swollen, blistering or oozing.
  • Burning or stinging.
  • Flaky or scaling, itchy and painful.

Diagnosis of Contact Dermatitis In Babies

Since the symptoms of contact dermatitis can resemble other skin conditions, it is advisable to consult a doctor for the correct diagnosis.

The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history and will give your child a skin exam. He/ she will also ask about recent contact with any irritants or allergens.

Your child might also have skin tests or blood tests. The little one might also need to see an allergist or dermatologist.

Treatment of Contact Dermatitis

The treatment of contact dermatitis depends on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It also depends on how severe the condition is. Some of the treatment options include:

  • You can wash your child’s skin with a baby-soap and water as soon as possible after contact.

A body wash that is specially formulated for your little one with organic ingredients like rose oil, strawberry extracts, manjistha extracts, neem extracts, beetroot extracts, and aloe vera can also do wonders.

  • You can also use wet, or natural baby wipes that are free from chemicals and toxins, cold cloth to compress the little one’s itchy skin. This can also help reduce symptoms and ease inflammation.
  • Using wet dressings for oozing areas can also reduce itching and improve healing.
  • You can put corticosteroid cream or ointment on the skin to lessen itching and other symptoms.
  • One of the main ways of avoiding contact dermatitis diaper rash is to make sure your baby’s diapers are changed frequently.

You can also opt for a diaper rash cream that is infused with organic chamomile oil and hydrolyzed wheat protein that repair the skin and retain moisture.

It’s advisable to use diaper rash creams that contain oils like the moringa oil, calendula oil, and other nourishing ingredients like aloe vera extracts, organic shea butter that are a safe solution for babies.

  • A hand-wash devoid of triclosan, a cleaning agent found in many regular hand soaps and washes, might help to ease the inflammation on palms.


Contact dermatitis is uncomfortable and can be more painful for the little ones. If your little one has severe or persistent symptoms, the condition might become chronic. Early treatment of symptoms to stop the itching and scratching can help to avoid this.

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.



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