Do Food Allergies Cause Diaper Rash?

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Food allergies are becoming more and more common these days and yes food allergies can cause diaper rash in their babies.

It’s totally understandable to be worried about your child’s health, especially if they’re dealing with a difficult-to-treat condition like food allergies.

However, most diaper rashes are not caused by food allergies, but food allergies can cause diaper rash so it’s important to look for the symptoms when introducing new foods.

Are Food Allergies Causing Your Baby’s Diaper Rash?

Many parents worry that their child’s diaper rash is caused by food allergies, but the truth is less than half of all cases are due to allergic reactions. In fact, most children don’t have any reaction at all after eating certain foods and only a few will develop symptoms like itching or hives- these symptoms usually happen within minutes of eating the food and last for about an hour or two before going away.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of allergies, so you’ll need to see a doctor if your little one has any symptoms associated with their rash such as swelling around their mouth area (angioedema) which can occur when they breathe in the food allergen, or vomiting and diarrhea.

If your child has a history of asthma or eczema, they’re at a higher risk for developing food allergies.

Can diaper rash be caused by food allergy?

Yes, food allergies can cause diaper rash. The most common foods that trigger a reaction are milk, eggs, soy, wheat and peanuts. However, there is a whole range of food that can cause allergies or diaper rash.

When introducing solid foods it’s important to note if your baby then goes on to develop diaper rash or diaper dermatitis or even just irritated skin afterwards. Even changed in baby’s poop can indicate a reaction, but don’t panic too much, babies poop will change just by being introduced to solid foods or new foods. Keep an eye on any inflamed skin and ensure your diapering routine includes frequent diaper changes when introducing new foods.

Deciphering the diaper rash

Before you panic about a food allergy, its worth checking out the different types of diaper rash. Here is a short guide:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis: This is the most common type of diaper rash and is caused by something your child has come in contact with, like a new laundry detergent or material their diapers are made out of. The rash will usually appear as red bumps or blisters.
  • Yeast infection: A yeast infection diaper rash is more common in babies who are on antibiotics or have a weakened immune system. It usually shows up as redness around the genitals, buttocks and inner thighs with white clumps that look like cottage cheese.
  • Diaper dermatitis: This type of diaper rash is caused by irritation from wet diapers sitting against baby’s skin for long periods of time. It usually appears as a red, bumpy rash and is more common in babies who are teething or have just started solid food.
  • Irritant diaper dermatitis: This type of diaper rash is caused by contact with urine or stool and can happen when your child’s skin is wet for a long period of time. It will look like a red, bumpy rash and is more common in babies who are teething or have just started solid food.
  • Food allergy: A food allergy diaper rash is caused by an allergic reaction to something your child has eaten. The rash will usually show up as bumps or hives all over the body.
  • Eczema: If your child has eczema, they’re more likely to develop a food allergy. The rash will usually look like red patches that may be bumpy, itchy or scaly.

What does an allergy diaper rash look like?

If your baby is experiencing a diaper rash the following symptoms would suggest an allergy rash: 

  • Rashes that occur in different areas of the body, especially around the mouth and anus
  • Redness or itchiness near the rash
  • Hives on other parts of the body (like legs, arms, neck)
  • A swelling of lips and/or tongue 

An allergy rash won’t just be in the diaper area, it can be all over the body. However a reaction to acidic foods causing acidic poop may be a lot worse in the diaper area.

How do I know if my baby is having an allergic reaction to food?

A food allergy is a reaction to certain proteins found in foods. The most common symptoms include rash, hives, swelling of the lips and/or tongue, vomiting and diarrhea. These reactions usually happen within minutes of eating or drinking anything with those particular proteins (milk products) but they can take hours after ingestion as well if you’re sensitive enough. The best way to tell if your baby has an allergy is by keeping track of all the foods they’re eating and noting any adverse reactions.

What should I do if my baby’s diaper rash looks like food allergies?

If you think your little one could have a food allergy, talk with their pediatrician about doing some tests or an elimination diet. This involves taking your child off of all the common food allergens for a period of time and then slowly reintroducing them to see if any symptoms occur. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll also need to cut out all dairy products or other food allergens from your diet until the baby is tested.

How long does it take to get rid of a food allergy rash?

Unfortunately, there is no set time frame for how long it will take to get rid of a food allergy rash. It really depends on the severity of the reaction and how long your child has been eating the offending food, and how sensitive they are.

In some cases, a child may outgrow their food allergies. If your baby’s diet hasn’t changed, it could be that they’re sensitive to something else in their environments such as laundry detergent (which can cause skin irritation) or even diaper rash cream.

Can I use diaper rash cream for a food allergy?

Yes! Whilst your baby’s skin is inflamed and irritated by the allergic reaction, a diaper cream will help soothe and heal the skin. Using a barrier cream may actually help protect their skin from further irritation. Look for a cream or ointment that contains zinc oxide or lanolin. These ingredients will help form a barrier on the skin and prevent moisture from getting in.

Which Foods Cause Diaper Rash in Babies?

There are a few different foods that can cause diaper rash in babies. The most common culprits are:

Tomatoes and tomato-based products:

Tomatoes are another very acidic substance that might aggravate diaper rash symptoms. Your infant should also avoid tomato-based foods such as spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, ketchup, and anything else with a tomato foundation.

Citrus fruits and juices:

These foods are quite acidic, which might be difficult for Baby’s digestive system. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and citrus juices of any kind should be avoided.

Dairy Allergy:

Another frequent allergy that might cause a diaper rash is dairy. Milk proteins can be found in a variety of foods, including cereal, breads, pasta sauces, chocolate, and yogurt.

Soy Allergy:

Soy is another common allergen that might cause a diaper rash and can be found in many processed foods, so it’s important to read food labels carefully.

Egg Allergy:

Like soy, eggs are a common allergen and can be found in many products such as baked goods, mayonnaise, and salad dressings.

Peanuts:

If your child is allergic to peanuts, they might also experience a diaper rash. Peanuts are often found in processed foods, so once again it’s important to read food labels carefully.

Wheat:

Wheat or gluten is another allergen that can cause a reaction in some babies. Commonly found in breads, pasta, and cereals.

Fish/Shellfish:

Fish and shellfish are both common allergens.

Corn:

Corn is another food that might cause a reaction in some babies. It can be found in many processed foods.

What Can I Do to Prevent a Food Allergy Rash?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent diaper rash in your baby from food allergies:

  • -Read food labels carefully and avoid any processed foods that contain common allergens.
  • -Don’t give your child too many acidic foods at once., baby’s sensitive skin may react to all the acid!
  • -If breastfeeding, eliminate dairy from your diet.
  • -If you’re bottle-feeding, try a formula that doesn’t contain soy or milk proteins.
  • -Introduce new foods gradually to help identify any potential allergies.
  • -Keep a food diary to track what your baby eats and drinks and any symptoms they experience.

How to Treat Diaper Rash Caused By Food Allergies:

The first thing you need to do is remove the offending food from your baby’s diet using an elimination diet and a food diary. This will stop the rash from getting any worse.

Once the rash has improved, you can slowly reintroduce different foods to see if they cause a reaction. Start with one food at a time and keep track of what your baby eats in their food diary. If they develop symptoms again, you’ll know it’s caused by that particular food (or ingredient).

Choosing Baby Names x
Choosing Baby Names

Then you can treat the diaper rash as you normally would, frequent diaper changes (whether using cloth diapers or disposable diapers). Changing diapers often will really help. Also ensure to clean the bum area thoroughly with warm water.

A moist environment makes it worse so always pat dry your baby’s bottom  with a soft cloth at diaper change time and change diapers often. When your baby begins to eat solid foods for the first time, bowel movements and diapers become.. more interesting! You will need fairly decent baby wipes to help you clean it up!

Do all food allergy reactions produce a raised rash?

No, some food allergies are very minor and may only produce digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting. 

The Bottom Line

It is important to keep track of what your baby eats and drinks as well as any symptoms or food sensitivities they experience. This will help you identify potential allergens that may be causing the rash. Unless they have other symptoms these rashes can usually be treated with a natural home treatment.