Understanding irritant napkin dermatitis

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Irritant napkin dermatitis (IND, often referred to as irritant diaper dermatitis) is an exceedingly common problem in the first 2 years of life. It is now established that a number of factors are considered important in the etiology of IND. The principal irritants are fecal enzymes, which damage infant skin and are further amplified by a number of factors, including skin maceration and friction, high pH, the presence of urine, and the duration of contact with feces. In recent years, the decreasing incidence and severity of IND reflects improvements in the design and performance of diapers, diaper skin care products, and overall awareness about maintaining infant skin health.

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