Candida is a type of yeast that exists naturally in and on an infant's body. When the yeast reproduce rapidly and irritate the skin, a rash can develop. A yeast rash is very red, itchy and often has smaller bumps outside the main rash. Treatment of a yeast rash in an infant should be overseen by a health care professional whether the method is a natural remedy or an over-the-counter antifungal medication.
Mild Cleansers and Baths
Various mild cleansers can help keep a baby clean without irritating the yeast. Caregivers can obtain a recommendation from a health care professional, but good choices are those free of perfumes, dyes and other harsh chemicals. A baby can be given a lukewarm bath containing 1 Tbsp of baking soda, Epsom salts or colloidal oatmeal to help soothe the irritation of the skin caused by the yeast. For moderate yeast infections, a stronger cleanser with antifungal properties may be prescribed by a health care provider.
Tea Tree Oil
A solution consisting of one drop of tea tree oil mixed with two ounces of warm water can be used to cleanse a baby's bottom during diaper changes or to cleanse other yeast rashes. Tea tree oil may have yeast fighting properties, but direct application to the skin can cause irritation and sometimes allergic reaction. Research has not been strong in supporting this remedy for yeast infections, but when diluted, the oil is safe for daily use as a diaper wipe solution. Caregivers should discuss this remedy with a health care provider.
Keeping an infant in a wet or soiled diaper can increase the likelihood of a yeast rash. The same is true about any wet clothing. Plastic diapers and tight clothing can trap moisture against the skin and should be avoided while a baby has a yeast infection. Letting a baby spend extra time without a diaper or other clothing on can help dry the skin and eliminate the optimal conditions for yeast growth. Cloth diapers may require stripping to remove yeast that can grow in the fibers. Stripping can be done in various ways depending on the manufacturer's recommendation and the materials. Vinegar and bleach added to the wash are common solutions.
Creams and Ointments
Traditional diaper rash cream made with zinc oxide, lanolin, vitamin A or vitamin D are not made to fight yeast, but they can be helpful in creating a moisture barrier against the skin affected by yeast. Using petroleum jelly may help protect the skin. These creams can be applied over other treatments to seal in the medicine and keep moisture out. They can also be used on other parts of the body besides the diapered area.
The most common yeast rash remedy recommended by a health care provider is an antifungal cream. Three types include nystatin, clotrimazole and miconazole. These are available over the counter but should be used under the advice of a health care provider when used to treat a baby. Not all antifungal creams are safe for treating a yeast rash on all parts of the body, such as the face.