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If I was given a chicken every time I changed a nappy I would probably have enough eggs to feed an entire continent, after all with five children plus nieces and nephews, I must have changes thousands if not hundreds of thousands, in my time. One thing I've learnt through all these nappy changes is that while Sudocrem is brilliant at clearing up minor nappy rash there are times when something a little stronger (and more expensive) is needed. As far as two year old Freddy goes we had been pretty lucky, even though he has very sensitive skin up until a couple of weeks ago not even the dreaded teething runs had caused a rash that Sudocrem couldn't deal with. But a couple of weeks he had a rather nasty tummy that resulted in some extremely nasty nappies (where he was almost literally coated head to toe) and a very sore bottom, including bleeding and blisters that were simply too much for the old reliable. Being experienced in the bum department, I knew a possible solution to these painful and tender bums is Bepanthen, an ointment that claims to aid skin recovery while keeping it soft, smooth and moisturised.
Even if you're not a parent yourself you have probably heard of nappy rash, but you may not know exactly what causes it, makes it worse or even that up to one third of nappy wearing babies and toddlers will have it at any one time. Nappy rash itself is caused by a baby's (or toddler's) delicate bottoms being irritated by the chemicals in wee and poo. In the very early stages nappy rash is little more than redness, but as it gets worse little red or pink spots develop and at it's worst blisters can develop or the area can bleed. In my experience nappy rash is especially common around the time when baby is teething and with toddlers (who have especially toxic poo). With nappy rash the ultimate best cure is prevention itself, that is frequent nappy changes, allowing time with a bare bum and changing the nappy immediately after a bowel motion. However, this isn't always possible, especially if the baby/toddler has pooed in the night and then it's a case of the quicker you treat the less severe the outbreak.
Freddy's recent outbreak of nappy rash was indeed severe, his bum was clear when he went to bed, but he had pooed sometime in the night and by the time he got up he had the dreaded rash, along with bleeding and blistering, poor little mite. After cleaning him up, bathing the sore area with warm water and allowing some bare bum time I applied Sudocrem, but by the next nappy change there had been no improvement so I decided it was time to bring out the big guns and apply Bepanthen. Rather than being supplied in a tub, Bepanthen comes in a tube and is relatively expensive at approximately £7 for 100g. On opening the tube you need to break the seal using the reverse of the screw cap and then it's ready to use. You only need a tiny amount of this slightly greasy, white, unscented ointment, a fingertip's worth is enough to cover Freddy's toddler size bum and it rubs in easily without any evidence of stinging. The ointment spreads easily and leaves a thin non-sticky layer of the skin to not only help the skin heal itself but also help prevent further contact with urine and faeces. I particularly like that, unlike Sudocrem, I do not need to dip my fingers in a tub, which is a little unhygienic and that Bepanthen doesn't leave my fingers covered in white (hard to remove) cream.
While Sudocrem wasn't much help with this more severe outbreak, within the couple of hours between nappy changes, the Bepanthen had worked miracles on Freddy's bum. In just a couple of hours Freddy's bum was far less inflamed and less painful, he was far less upset at being cleaned up. By the next morning the rash had almost completely disappeared, the blistering had gone, there was no blood and his skin was just slightly pink. I carried on using the Bepanthen every nappy change for a couple of days, just to make sure the nappy rash didn't reappear while his bottom was a little more sensitive than usual, but to be honest his bum had cleared up within 24hours. Because only a tiny amount of cream is needed at a time a tube will last for ages, even if used every day, which means that even though it's fairly pricey at £7, it's still fairly economical.
As well as being brilliant for helping clear up nappy rash, Bepanthen can also be put to various other uses. It's brilliant for using to help tattoos heal, I used it on a tattoo several years ago and I swear that compared to the couple of weeks other tattoos took to heal without it, the tattoo was completely healed within a week. Due to it's soothing and moisturising properties Bepanthen can also double up as a nipple cream, although I would wipe it off before feeding. Bepanthen is also great for providing a barrier on the skin to help dribble rash heal and even prevent dribble rash if applied regularly. A final use that I've found for Bepanthen is that it is particularly soothing on small areas of dry, cracked skin.
While Bepanthen would never replace Sudocrem in my first aid cabinet, it certainly does deserve it's place alongside the old faithful. I find that it is far more effective than Sudocrem at helping sensitive bottoms heal themselves and like that as with Sudocrem it is multi-purpose. I do however feel that it is a little expensive, although it does last a long time for that initial investment. As to recommendation, I would recommend that every parent or caregiver has a tube of this available, but I would recommend visiting the Bepanthen website first to request a free sample to ensure that it is suitable for your child. Although it contains no preservatives, antiseptics or perfumes and hasn't caused a reaction in Freddy's very sensitive skin there is still a chance of reaction. Finally I must point out that if you see no improvement in the nappy rash within a few days then you should visit your GP as it is possible that your child needs prescribed medicated creams or could even have thrush.