How To Treat Drool Rash, Because You Just Can't Stop The Slobber
Babies who drool all the time are cute, sure, but all that spittle can cause some issues. You can't entirely prevent your baby from slobbering all over the place, but there's a lot you can do to help manage it. Here's how to treat drool rash in babies and help protect that delicate skin.
"Drool rash is quite common in babies," pediatrician Jay Lovenheim, D.O., F.A.A.P., tells Romper, explaining that it's often part of a baby's oral development, frequently occurring around the time they start teething (and naturally producing a ton of saliva, too).
"Saliva is used by the body to help begin to break down carbohydrates," he continues. "The enzymes that do this are slightly acidic. When this acidic drool makes constant contact with the skin, it slowly begins to irritate and break the skin down, forming the 'drool rash.'" The moisture in drool can also irritate the skin.
"Drool dermatitis is a rash on the skin where when a child is profusely drooling, their skin gets wet and dry repeatedly," pediatrician Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson tells Romper via email. "This can lead to the skin breaking down, cause cracking, and children can experience significant irritation." Because nobody wants their baby to deal with this kind of discomfort, here's what the experts advise for treating drool rash.
1. Apply A Barrier Lotion
One of the best ways to help prevent drool rash is by making a barrier between the drool and your baby's skin, Dr. Lovenheim explains. "It is also common to use diaper cream on the chest to act as a barrier to contact as well," he says. Pipette's Baby Cream to Powder is a talc-free lotion that goes on as a cream and changes to a silky-feeling powder that prevents chafing and irritation. Or if you don't have any dedicated diaper cream on hand, then multi-use moisturizers, including Aquaphor Healing Ointment, can treat drool rash as well, according to Bustle.
2. Avoid Harsh Soaps
Take care when cleaning the area affected by drool rash. "Do not wipe the rash with hash soaps," Alex Monahan of Moon and Sun Doula Care tells Romper. "Using cool water on a clean washcloth after feedings can help keep the area clean." Being super gentle is the key.
3. Change Their Clothes
Sometimes drool soaks into your baby's outfit, no matter what you do to prevent it. "If the baby's clothes become wet, do your best to change them into a fresh outfit and try to avoid letting babies sleep in wet clothing," birth & postpartum doula Melissa Murphy of Boho Birthing tells Romper. This might equal a lot of outfit changes throughout the day, but your baby will be more comfortable for it.
4. Pat The Skin Dry
When drying drool from your baby, use very soft movements. "Pat skin dry, don’t rub. Patting is more gentle and less disruptive," says Dr. Swanson. It will feel better for your baby.
5. Try Hydrocortisone Cream
More intense cases of drool rash may call for a trip to the pharmacy. "Sometimes pediatricians will recommend an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream if the skin is very red or irritated," says Dr. Swanson. "It’s important to keep it away from the child’s mouth." Give your pediatrician a call if you have questions about how to use this cream on your child.
6. Use A Bib
Every expert interviewed for this piece strongly recommended bibs. "I love cloth bibs for my client’s babies. They are effective at keeping baby dry, often inexpensive for even organic options, and you can throw them in the wash when they are saturated rather than changing clothes all day," says Monahan. "Keeping the area dry is key in preventing and treating drool rash." If you need to stock up, there's a new baby line at Walgreens that includes bibs (and a whole lot of other baby gear, too).
7. Apply Coconut Oil
You might not need to look any further than your own kitchen for this treatment. "Coconut oil is a great treatment and barrier to help reduce the rash," as Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, LCCE, tells Romper. "Gentle lotions and creams can help as well. I like coconut oil because it is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and does not contain unnecessary ingredients."
Your baby's drooling phase won't last forever, even if it seems like a nonstop fountain right now. In the meantime, knowing how to help treat drool rash will help keep your baby comfy and healthy.
Alex Monahan of Moon and Sun Doula Care
Melissa Murphy, birth & postpartum doula of Boho Birthing
Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, LCCE
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, pediatrician