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Curr Med Res Opin. 2004 May;20(5):645-9.

A review of the pathophysiology, prevention and treatment of irritant diaper dermatitis.

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Department of Paediatric Dermatology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London WC1N 3JH, UK.


Irritant diaper dermatitis (IDD) is a form of contact dermatitis occurring in the diaper area as a consequence of disruption of the barrier function of the skin through prolonged contact with faeces and urine. Despite advances in diaper technology, it is a condition that still occurs regularly in young children. To combat this, barrier preparations can be used to protect the skin by coating the surface of the skin and/or by supplying lipids that can penetrate the intercellular spaces of the stratum corneum. In this review, the pathophysiology of IDD is outlined and its prevention and treatment are discussed, with particular reference to the role of emollients.

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