Recent Advances in Diaper Dermatitis: Etiology and Treatment

Marty O. Visscher


Pediatr Health. 2009;3(1):81-98. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Diaper dermatitis is a highly prevalent condition that causes discomfort and stress for patients and frustration for healthcare staff. Diaper technology has evolved to substantially lessen the severity of diaper dermatitis, but additional improvements are needed. Premature infants and incontinent adults are particularly at risk for developing diaper dermatitis and its potential consequences. Contributing factors include overhydration, irritants, friction, increased skin pH, diet, gestational age, antibiotic use, diarrhea and medical condition. Treatments aim to reduce hydration, provide a semipermeable 'layer' to facilitate skin barrier repair, shield the skin from irritants, deactivate specific fecal components and maintain skin surface contact. The published research on the effects of diaper dermatitis treatments is especially sparse. Controlled clinical trials are needed to provide definitive evidence for selection of effective treatments. This article discusses the incidence and etiology of diaper dermatitis in infants and adults. It provides the scientific basis for repair of diaper skin barrier damage and describes recent developments that will be available in the future.


In addressing diaper dermatitis (DD), we encompass the most recent views about the skin structure, function and development with the foundation that the skin is an interface for primary care in any patient-caregiver interaction.[1]


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