Adult Nappy Rash / Incontinence Associated Dermatitis

What is Adult Nappy Rash / Incontinence Associated Dermatitis and what does it look like?

Adult nappy rash develops on the bottom area and most commonly occurs in bedbound people, people who are sitting in the same place for long periods of time, immobile people and people that require incontinence underwear and pads.

As a user of incontinence products or as a carer for someone who uses incontinence product you may notice that the skin around the users bottom might be red, inflamed, and may be spotty. The affected areas may feel hot to the touch and small blisters can be present. Sometimes these symptoms can get worse, to the point where it can be very painful.

While trying to manage adult nappy rash / incontinence associated dermatitis on top of incontinence may seem very stressful. It always great to know that it can be treated and managed so you can go about doing your daily activities. 

What causes adults to develop an Adult nappy rash / incontinence associated dermatitis?

  • Dampness
  • Warm Barrier Environment
  • Lack of exposure to fresh air
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Incontinence
  • Infection
  • Incontinence pads or adult nappies rubbing against the skin
  • Soap, detergents, bubble-baths
  • Alcohol-based wipes
  • Bacterial skin infections
  • Allergic Reactions

Common Symptoms:

  • Pink or Redness may appear around the bottom.
  • Dry or peeling skin
  • Small bumps
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Tender or painful areas

How to prevent Adult nappy rash / incontinence associated dermatitis?

  • Ensure wet bedding, clothing or incontinence pads are removed as soon as possible.
  • Encourage or assist the person you care for to clean and dry their bottom area thoroughly, wiping from front to back. It is always recommended to use water, gentle fragrance-free wipes or body wash to prevent further discomfort.
  • Offer a regular shower or bath if possible, avoiding hot baths and bathing more than twice a day as this could dry out the skin.
  • Avoid vigorous rubbing with a towel when drying after a wash.
  • Encourage where possible to allow fresh air to the bottom area. If you are caring for someone who is immobile or bedbound you may want to offer more regular turning to relieve pressure and allow flow of air.
  • Do not use harsh soaps, bubble-bath, or lotions.
  • Do not use talcum powder as it contains ingredients that could irritate the affected area.
  • If you or the person you care for uses incontinence products like adult slips / nappies, disposable adult incontinence pants then do use a product which is correct for your condition to manage your level of incontinence. If your adult incontinence pads is not absorbing enough and leaves you with a wet feeling that means you should stop using that particular type of adult incontinence pads and shift to another one which is super absorbent and comfy for you.

 The rash should usually clear up in around 3 days if you follow the self-care advice above. If the rash doesn’t clear up after following self-care advice, then do contact your local pharmacist or health care professional for advice.


  1. National Association for Continence -