Diaper Dermatitis: Frequency and Severity Among a General Infant Population


W. E. Jordan, Ph.D., The Procter and Gamble Company, Miami Valley Laboratories, P.O. Box 39175, Cincinnati, OH 45247.


Abstract: The frequency and severity of diaper dermatitis was measured among a midwestem suburban population of 1089 infants ranging in age from 1 to 20 months. No diagnosis of specific etiology was made. Fecal samples were collected and analyzed for Candida albicans, and information on family characteristics, infant diet, general health, history of rash, and diapering habits and practices was collected by questionnaire. The distribution of the severity of observed diaper rash can be described as a logarithmic-normal function, implying several multiplicative causative factors. Within the total severity range, there appear to be three subcategories of diaper rash, differing in some manner, perhaps reflecting different etiologies. The frequency of observed diaper rash was a function of the maturity of the infant, reaching a maximum around 9 to 12 months of age. The prevalence of severe rash correlated with the presence and level of fecal C. albicans. Infants diapered exclusively in disposable diapers showed less rash (P<0.001) than those diapered exclusively or sometimes in cloth diapers.