How to tell the difference between diaper rash, heat rash, and yeast infection?

Specialties Pediatric

Updated:   Published

Hi all you experts out there. I sincerely don't want to pay more money and try to figure out a babysitter for a stinking heat rash or simple diaper rash so I am hoping you can help me. Bryce (9 months) has had a rash for a couple weeks now. It is just a great big red blob all around his penis and on his testicals and in the folds of his legs where they meet the pelvis.

Is there any way to tell exactly what kind of rash this is? Could it be a yeast infection do you think? What would I look for in that case?

We have tried regular diaper rash cream, A & D, Zinc Oxide and now are on Petroleum jelly. We bathe him almost every day, trying oatmeal baths at first. Nothing is working. We have also been letting him "go free" without a diaper for a couple hours each day, though this makes for quite the mess and since we rent and the landlords are obsessive about our new carpeting....well, it doesn't last long.

Any thoughts?


120 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTC.

My baby had the same thing - this was years ago and nothing worked with all the creams too. The paediatrician put him on soya milk / lactose free milk. He was tiny, only six weeks at the time. That seemed to do the trick.


136 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Cardiac, Med-Surg.


My son has very sensitive skin and used to get many rashes especially in warmer weather. My MIL, an LPN, worked at a pediatrician's office forever. They always suggested using cornstarch -- not the baby powder with cornstarch -- but regular cornstarch. This worked fine for most mild rashes.

He would sometimes get really bad ones, though. My pediatrician told me to get micotin (for athlete's foot) in cream form. It is sort of expensive but you only use a tiny bit. It did the trick. Also, I only used water to cleanse his bottom not wipes when he had a rash. Hope that helps.


12 Posts

A yeast rash has little pimple like spots usually. Corn starch is really good, but don't let it cake, just a light dusting. BTW, baby powder is actually very harmful if inhaled. Where I worked we did not recommend its use anymore.

Gompers, BSN, RN

2,691 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

You could also try sitting him in a shallow bath of vinegar and water for about 10 minutes two times a day. We do this in the NICU for babies with bad rashes - just use a little vinegar though, just a few splashes of it. We only do this if there is no open wound or bleeding - works well for yeasty rashes and other irritation.

Energizer Bunny

1,973 Posts

Thank you guys. He isn't fussing at all because of it, so I don't think it is uncomfortable for him. I read that the powders shouldn't be used (on WebMD I believe) maybe because they help to spread bacteria????? I can't remember the reasoning, but there WAS some reason. Now, I'll have to go back and look. LOL!

He goes to the dr. on Thursday for a regular check up so if we can keep him happy until then (and hopefully keep it from getting worse) the dr. can look at it and figure it all out.

All my kids have sensitive skin and I have had to use elidel on two of the three for eczema. We also have All Free and Clear detergent and Tide Free dryer sheets.

Thanks again!

Energizer Bunny

1,973 Posts

Oh, and no pimple spots, at least not the last time I checked, but he's due for a change now....LOL!

Gompers, BSN, RN

2,691 Posts

Specializes in NICU.
CNM2B said:
Thank you guys. He isn't fussing at all because of it, so I don't think it is uncomfortable for him. I read that the powders shouldn't be used (on WebMD I believe) maybe because they help to spread bacteria????? I can't remember the reasoning, but there WAS some reason. Now, I'll have to go back and look. LOL!

I thought I read something a long time ago about baby powder...I think they were saying that it causes more lung problems in kids because they inhale it when you're applying it. I could be wrong though!

If it's not pimply-looking, it's probably not yeast. Then I take back what I said about the vinegar baths - work best for yeast - but then again they make vinegar and water feminine douches so you never know. You could always try Aquaphor, too. We use it at work for all the babies and it seems to heal just about anything!


59 Posts

I will never forget when my baby had the most horrible diaper rash. No prescription creams/ointments were helping and it was only getting worse. I was so frustrated, and on making yet another call to the doctor's office, the nurse suggested I try bag balm. I about laughed, and told her I really thought she needed something stronger. However, I reluctantly tried it anyway. I swear, it was like a miracle! Worked like a charm! Definitely worth a try.


1 Article; 2,334 Posts

Yeast diaper rashes are usually very red with fairly defined borders and an almost taut look to the skin (once it has progressed from "dots" to "sploches" it looses the pimple look).

Give the list of things you have tried *if it were my child* I would suspect yeast (especially since it doesn't seem to hurt).

Both the Peds office I worked for (and my grandson's Ped recommended buying OTC athletes foot cream (clotrimazole) before going to a prescription med.

Their (the 2 different offices) instructions were to apply the anti-fungal to the affected areas 3-4 times a day then cover it with a generous (thick) coating of Vaseline or diaper rash cream to create a moisture barrier (to prevent the cream from being washed away). At diaper changes use water only and only remove the outer layer of Vaseline/diaper rash cream when cleansing (then reapply it before rediapering).

I wanted to point out: Corn starch can promote yeast by providing a food source in dark moist areas, it will also act as food and can make existing yeast worse.


115 Posts

Assuming it isn't yeast...the Godsend I used was Aquaphor. Aquaphor is worth it's weight in gold ... My son used to get so red from wearing disp diapers...once I switched to cloth he was hardly ever red again.

good luck...poor tushie



408 Posts

Yeast infections are usually "beefy" red and have very clearly defined borders. You can try monistat or the equivalent and apply it to the rash with diaper changes. If that doesn't work TAO has worked for me before when nothing else would. I also like vasoline and air for your garden variety diaper rash. In my opinion desitin, balmex etc. just make things worse, and powders dont really work. There is some stuff called boudreax's ?? buttpaste that is okay but nothing I have ever tried beats vasoline.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X