Diaper Rash That Looks Like Pimples, White and Red Bumps

Most babies develop a diaper rash during their first 9-12 months. Although home care measures are generally recommended for treatment, the rash is often not due to negligence. The rash normally lasts for 2-3 days but can persist for longer if bacterial or fungal infections are involved.

Typical signs of a diaper rash are skin redness and irritation. If the primary cause of the rash is not eradicated, papules and pustules may appear. Commonly affected areas are the thighs and buttocks. Severe rash may spread to adjacent areas.

Medical treatment is not always necessary but recommended for infected diaper rash. Most babies are able to recover with home care and over the counter products.

What causes diaper rash red bumps with whiteheads?

If you notice diaper rash red bumps with whiteheads, you probably are dealing with a yeast (candida) infection. Candida is a fungus that normally lives in the intestines and on the skin without causing problems.  What causes diaper rash in infants? There are two main causes of yeast infection diaper rash.


Yeast grows best in moist and warm environments. When a soiled diaper is left on for too long, the fungi can build colonies and cause a bit of rash. This is why moms are advised to change their baby’s diapers after every two hours. Babies who spend entire nights in the same diaper are more likely to develop a diaper rash due to yeast infection.

Use of antibiotics:

Antibiotics are medicines used to kill bacteria. While they are aimed at killing harmful bacteria, these medicines can’t tell harmful bacteria from beneficial ones. Beneficial bacteria live in intestines and on the skin, just like yeast. Destruction of the good bacteria by antibiotics allows for yeast overgrowth which in turn may cause diaper rash. This effect occurs when either baby or mother is on antibiotics.

How to identify diaper rash with white bumps yeast infection

A classic yeast diaper rash is characterized by a bold red rash with small red dots on the edges. On the edges, you may notice slight elevation or swelling.

Yeast diaper rash mostly occurs only on diaper areas. However, there may be signs of scaling and redness on the vulva in girls and the scrotum in boys.

Another classic feature of yeast diaper rash is persistent. A normal diaper rash will be gone in a few days with appropriate home care. Red bumps diaper rash due to yeast infection lingers for days and may only go away after treatment with antifungal cream.

About half the cases of diaper rash are caused by yeast infection. It should not give sleepless nights, as the infection is not considered dangerous. But to avoid effects such as pain and discomfort, it is best that treatment be sought.

Can breast milk heal diaper rash? You may have heard that breast milk is good for diaper rash. The truth is that breast milk is good for irritated skin. The problem is that it contains sugars which make diaper yeast rash worse. For normal diaper rash, you can use breast milk to relieve symptoms like irritation. The same treatment is advised against when yeast infection is involved.

Diaper rash that looks like pimples

A diaper rash that looks like pimples can also be referred to as diaper dermatitis. It is caused by prolonged contact with fecal matter and urine, dry skin, skin irritation, chafing and infection. The rash presents with the signs of atopic dermatitis. You can find more on ICD 10 code for diaper rash.

It is common for diaper rash to occur when a baby is having frequent bowel movements or diarrhea. When urine mixes with feces, the mixture contains ammonia, the compound that causes irritation to the sensitive baby skin. Leaving a poopy diaper on for too long is a main risk factor. The enzyme that liberates ammonia from bacteria found on skin is a mild irritant. Irritated and wet skin becomes fragile and susceptible to forms of damage that may cause a bit of rash.

Another possible cause of diaper rash that looks like pimples is chafing. Babies with sensitive skin are more likely to get diaper rash when their skin rubs against the diapers. When diaper rash occurs this way, signs are often localized in the inner side of the thighs and on the buttocks.

Blisters or sores on the diaper region make it possible for bacteria to enter the skin and cause infection.  Signs of a bacterial infection include pus-filled blisters and bold red rash. The blisters may break open and ooze before crusting over.

Diaper rash is mostly categorized on basis of what causes it. However, the rash can be categorized on basis of how severe it is. When the rash is mild, affected skin will become slightly pink and may develop some papules. It is at that stage that diaper rash is easiest to get rid of. Without treatment, the rash becomes moderate or severe. The advanced stages are characterized by bold redness with lesions. Signs are usually localized to diaper region but may extend to adjacent areas, especially when yeast overgrowth is involved. It is not uncommon for severe diaper rash to present with signs of atopic dermatitis such as skin flakiness and dryness. Symptoms like fever and pus indicate a really bad diaper rash caused by bacteria and which requires immediate treatment with antibiotics.

How are diaper rash red bumps with whiteheads treated?

The best treatment approach for a diaper rash with white bumps is to check with your doctor. There are no special tests for candidal diaper rash but your doctor will most likely recognize it during physical examination. After diagnosis, an antifungal cream will be prescribed.

If necessary, a mild hydrocortisone cream will be prescribed. This is a steroidal medication aimed at reducing inflammation, redness and maybe pain.

Treatment at home:

Below are steps that may help with white or red bumps diaper rash treatment:

  • At every diaper change, apply an antifungal cream or a yeast rash diaper cream. These may be prescribed by your doctor or be bought over the counter.
  • Alternatively, you can use diluted apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties and also reduces inflammation.
  • Clean cloth diapers thoroughly before another use. Also, clean your hands appropriately before and after changing your baby. This helps prevent strep diaper rash contagious
  • If the diaper rash is accompanying severe diarrhea, consider skipping foods such as citrus fruits, fruit juices and wheat cereals. Such foods increase poop acidity and worsen diaper rash.
  • Try feeding your baby with probiotics such as organic yoghurt. They aid in growth of good bacteria.
  • At every diaper change, apply a protective cream. Use creams which contain zinc oxide. It soothes irritated skin. For severe rash, you can use ointments or pastes and cover with petroleum jelly afterwards. It keeps diapers from sticking to the paste or ointment.
  • Consider home remedies such as oatmeal diaper rash bath.

How to prevent diaper rash with red bumps

A couple of preventive measures may shorten the recovery period and make the rash less agonizing. These include:

  • Allow your baby to sit diaper-free for about 15 minutes several times a day. This allows for aeration and dryness.
  • When cleaning your baby, avoid scrubbing or rubbing when drying. You can opt for air drying or patting dry.
  • To reduce friction, use diaper powders. Powders also help absorb moisture from baby’s skin.
  • Always place a diaper on completely dry skin.
  • Avoid fastening a diaper too tightly. During diaper rash bouts, you can consider using larger diapers.
  • Use plain water when changing your baby’s diapers. Scented wipes are the easier option but may contain irritant fragrances.
  • Use less absorbent disposable diapers and check your baby after every 2 hours.

If the rash persists, check with your doctor for other diaper rash treatment options.