Diaper rashes are simply a part of life during your little one’s first years.
You can say you’ve hit the baby jackpot if you manage to go through the first twelve months without your baby ever experiencing the annoyance, discomfort, and pain of a diaper rash.
As noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), diaper rash is the most common skin disorder of infancy, with as many as 25% of infants and toddlers affected at some point in their lives.
A rash appears as a patchwork of bright red skin in areas that are in direct contact with the diaper. It’s usually caused by the moisture in a diaper, skin sensitivity or chafing.
Luckily, mild diaper rashes can be treated quickly and successfully at home.
While rashes are generally easy to heal, they are definitely a pain in the butt (so to speak). A diaper rash leaves babies irritated, clingy, and, depending on its severity, also in pain.
Hello sleepless nights and stressful days! And that’s no one’s idea of fun, I’m sure.
Luckily, there are preventive measures you can take in following good diaper hygiene, as well as a wide selection of diaper rash creams you can choose from to make the situation a more bearable one – and fast healing.
In this article, we’ll talk about the ins and outs of diaper rash cream, how it works, when it’s needed, and what to look for in these products when shopping for the best diaper rash cream out there.
Best Diaper Rash Creams – A Quick Look At Our Top 10 Recommendations
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
- Desitin Maximum Strength Baby Diaper Rash Cream
- Organic Diaper Balm by Earth Mama
- A+D Original Diaper Rash Ointment
- Aquaphor Baby Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
- GroVia All Natural Magic Stick Baby Diaper Balm
- Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment
- Triple Paste Medicated Ointment
- Cetaphil Baby Diaper Cream
- Babyganics Diaper Rash Cream
- Weleda Diaper Rash Cream
Best Diaper Rash Creams – A Closer Look Into Our Top 10 Recommendations
When it comes to giving your little one fast and effective relief from skin irritations, here’s a closer look at what we believe to be the best diaper rash creams of today.
Desitin Maximum Strength Baby Diaper Rash Cream
If you’re looking for something that will keep your baby’s skin protected all through the night, this cream is a great choice. It’s been clinically proven to last up to 12 hours.
The name doesn’t lie – it really is strong. It’s made with 40% zinc oxide (which is a lot by the way!). For those of you who don’t know, 40% is the maximum amount of zinc oxide you can get in a diaper cream without a prescription.
The texture is rich and thick, helping to create a barrier against wetness and protect your baby’s skin from rubbing against the diaper.
It’s a great option for mild chafing all the way through to more severe rashes.
- Made with 40% zinc oxide.
- Designed to soothe and protect skin all through the night.
- Thick consistency that prevents severe chafing.
- Can be used on a daily basis if needed.
- Some people might not like the smell, which can be a bit strong to some.
Organic Diaper Balm by Earth Mama
If you’re passionate about using safe organic products and busy raising little eco warriors, this bottom balm could be one of the most satisfying purchases you’ll ever make.
It’s 100% organic and certified by Oregon Tilth.
As a herbal remedy, it offers all the benefits of a gentle and effective diaper balm, but with an extra focus on natural ingredients. Plus, it’s fine to use with cloth diapers.
Overall, it’s effective at preventing diaper rash and soothing mild skin irritation.
- No harsh chemicals.
- Made with organic oils, herbal extracts and botanicals.
- It is completely free of petroleum, parabens and artificial fragrance.
- Great for cloth diapers.
- Comes in a jar, which means you need to dip your fingers in to apply the balm. Some parents might prefer a tube that you can squeeze the product out of and keep your hands out of it.
- It has a smell you’ll either love or hate.
- May not be the best option to treat diaper rashes that are moderate or severe. It might be better for using on a daily basis as a preventative measure.
A+D Original Diaper Rash Ointment
While some ointments and creams come in small tubes or jars that run out fast, this one comes in a one-pound tub – so it should last you a lot longer.
The large tub is especially handy because this diaper ointment is more of a preventative measure for diaper rash, and is gentle enough to use at every diaper change, if needed.
If your baby is particularly prone to chafing and you’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to prevention, this ‘everyday ointment’ is certainly well worth a look.
- Comes in a one-pound jar.
- Great at preventing diaper rash.
- Can be used at every diaper change.
- Not everyone likes the smell – some people complain about it being a bit too strong.
- While it’s effective at preventing diaper rash, it may not be as good at actually treating it if it’s already happened.
Aquaphor Baby Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment
If your little one is prone to lots of different skin conditions, from diaper rash all the way through to drool rash, then a multi-purpose ointment could be much better suited to their needs.
As well as healing diaper rash, this ointment can also be used for lots of other skin ailments, including dry skin, chapped cheeks, drool rash and minor scrapes. In this way, it really does grow with your children – you’ll find it useful long after they’ve been potty-trained.
It’s also worth mentioning its unique formula that makes it good for skin. The ointment is made with 41% petrolatum, which allows oxygen to flow and helps to heal the skin.
- Can treat a variety of skin ailments.
- You can continue using it long after baby stops using diapers.
- 41% petrolatum helps to heal skin.
- Some people might find that it’s a bit more oily or greasy than some of the other creams out there.
- Can sometimes be a bit hard to squeeze out of the tube.
GroVia All Natural Magic Stick Baby Diaper Balm
Unlike most other diaper creams that have to be applied by hand, this one comes in stick-form, so you don’t have to touch the balm directly at all.
This is great if you find your hands get dry from constantly having to wash them after applying diaper rash cream to your baby, or if you simply don’t like getting messy hands.
We also love that it uses lots of natural ingredients, so it’s very gentle on your baby’s skin. That being said, it’s better for mild rashes than it is for more severe rashes. Probably something you’d use on a regular basis to try to prevent redness or soreness from occurring.
- Comes in stick-form so you don’t get dirty hands.
- Made with natural ingredients.
- Can be used with both disposable and cloth diapers.
- Can be a bit tricky if you have multiple children, even though it’s not that big of a deal. It’s recommended you use only one per child. It means you’ll need to buy separate products for each child and make an effort not to get them mixed up.
- May have somewhat of a strong smell that you might not like if you’re sensitive to things like this.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment
While some creams are lighter and thinner like lotion, this ointment for diaper rash is thick and applies on nice and smooth, giving great coverage across the diaper area.
We also love it for its preventative qualities – if you use it on a regular basis, it’s very effective at keeping your little one’s skin free of redness or irritation.
Plus, this might be a bit subjective, but the manufacturers have done a brilliant job with its smell – an issue which has proven to be a bit of a downside with some of the other products mentioned on this list so far – which is always a bonus for many parents who tend to get annoyed from small (but important) details like this.
- Thick consistency that provides a strong barrier against wetness.
- Made with 16% zinc oxide.
- Doesn’t have an unpleasant smell.
- If you don’t like the idea of scooping the paste out of a jar, this might not be for you – in which case, something that comes in a tube form might be a better fit for you.
- Not everyone appreciates how thick this product is or the extra coverage it brings to the table.
- If you use cloth, be aware that it may stain.
Triple Paste Medicated Ointment
If you’re looking for effective and rapid relief that handles a big portion of an already existing problem fairly quickly, this diaper ointment is definitely worth considering. It can often even clear up rashes within a couple of days of application.
As well as being fast-acting with ingredients that include zinc oxide and petrolatum, we love that it contains lanolin and beeswax – both of which are great for skin.
Plus, being fragrance-free, it’s perfect if you’re not a huge fan of strong smells.
- Usually shows good improvement within a couple of days.
- No fragrances.
- Gentle enough to be applied on a daily basis if needed.
- Contains 12.8% zinc oxide. If you’d prefer something with more zinc oxide, a different type of cream might be more suitable for you.
Cetaphil Baby Diaper Cream
Diaper creams come in all different types of consistencies and textures – this one is great if you prefer something lighter and thinner than some of the other thicker products out there.
It absorbs into the skin fairly quickly, making it easy to spread onto the diaper area. Some people even refer to this as being more like a lotion than a paste.
Overall, it’s good for treating and preventing mild rashes and keeping your baby’s skin nourished and free of redness. Also a good diaper rash cream for sensitive skin, as it’s a hypo-allergenic product.
- Has a thin ‘lotion-like’ texture that absorbs easily.
- Only lightly scented.
- Ideal for prevention and minor rashes.
- Not everyone appreciates the thinness involved with this product. Some parents might prefer something with a thicker consistency, especially if the baby’s rash is severe and they need extra protection against chafing.
Babyganics Diaper Rash Cream
With 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend, this diaper rash cream is great for baby’s skin. It’s made with plant-based ingredients that aim to soothe and heal your baby’s rash.
Because it uses nourishing and gentle ingredients, you can use it as regularly as you like, keeping your baby’s skin protected against chafing.
Plus, if you or your little one are particularly sensitive to strong smells, you’ll be pleased to know this cream is fragrance-free.
- Treats and protects skin using natural ingredients.
- Includes zinc oxide, calendula, aloe and jojoba.
- Comes in a tube with a cute design.
- Fine to use with cloth diapers.
- While it’s great for preventing rashes and treating mild rashes, it may not be ideal for treating a severe rash – you might prefer something thicker for that.
- Some people might find the cream a bit hard to get out of the tube.
Weleda Diaper Rash Cream
If your little one has sensitive skin, this is a great diaper rash cream option.
Ingredients include anti-inflammatory calendula extract, taken from the flowers in Weleda’s very own biodynamic gardens. It also doesn’t have mineral oil (unlike some other diaper rash creams) – this is replaced with fair trade beeswax.
The ingredients help to soothe and moisturize your baby’s skin, with the anti-inflammatory properties of the calendula helping to heal diaper rash.
Plus, it doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrance.
- Made with calendula.
- Nice texture – not too sticky like some other creams can be.
- Gentle on sensitive skin.
- Lid is a screw on, so it’s not connected to the tube. This can sometimes be annoying as it’s easy to accidentally drop or lose.
- You may find the tube packaging bends easily when the cream gets low. If it starts to crease, sometimes cracks can appear.
What Is Diaper Rash Cream?
Diaper rash creams help heal a rash or prevent one from appearing. They come in various forms, including ointments, powder, creams, and pastes (more on this later).
A diaper rash cream builds a protective barrier between your little one’s bottom and any potential irritants, in this case, the diaper and its contents.
The ingredient list on diaper rash creams can vary greatly, but it generally contains soothing ingredients that are put there to calm redness and heal the skin.
What’s in a Diaper Rash Cream? How Does It Work?
As we’ve said earlier, ingredients in diaper rash creams vary, and sometimes vary a whole lot.
This is because there are various types of diaper rash, each requiring a specific treatment.
So, before we delve into what is in a diaper rash cream, let’s take a quick look at the different types of diaper rashes your baby can experience.
Different Types of Diaper Rashes
There’s different types of diaper rash that your baby might experience. This section will discuss each type in brief.
Type #1: Irritant diaper rash – the most common diaper rash, often caused by extended time between diaper changes, diarrhea or teething. It’s identifiable as red skin that’s warm to the touch, with the groin area looking normal.
Type #2: Yeast infection – caused by an overgrowth of a type of fungus which may develop after your baby has had a course of antibiotics. A rash due to a yeast infection appears shiny, and bright red or features pink patches with sharp edges.
Type #3: Bacterial infection – this is rarer and will have to be seen by a doctor. A bacterial infection usually involves bright red skin around the anus, with yellow crusting, weeping or pimples.
Type #4: Allergy – an allergic reaction to an ingredient in diapers, wipes or the diaper rash cream itself can manifest as a rash. You’ll know it’s an allergic reaction if the rash appears after using a specific product or diaper brand.
Different Types of Diaper Rash Creams
There are two main types of creams for irritant diaper rash:
If the diaper rash your baby has is persistent and does not clear away with home treatment, a doctor may prescribe:
- A mild steroid cream
- An antifungal cream
- Topical or oral antibiotics
When you apply diaper rash cream, a barrier is built between your baby’s diaper area and the moisture and irritating enzymes in a soiled nappy. This protective barrier helps the skin stay dry and promotes healing.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be looking into diaper rash creams that are specifically designed to prevent and treat the very common irritant diaper rash.
Who Needs Diaper Rash Cream? and Why?
Anyone who wears a diaper will need a diaper rash cream at some point or another. Regardless of age, all babies and toddlers are susceptible to a diaper rash at some point or another.
This is because little bums are contained within a closed environment, a.k.a a diaper. Diapers can also lead to friction which can irritate your little one’s delicate skin.
Added to this, the environment is further compromised by urine and feces – the moisture in urine and the enzymes in poo are horrible on skin. This is why frequent diaper changes are important.
That said, there are different practices when it comes to applying diaper cream. Should it be done with every diaper change or only when the skin starts showing signs of irritation?
Do I Need to Use it Every Single Time?
I remember my daughter’s first diaper change in the hospital.
My mother in law happened to be in the room, and as I proceeded to fasten her diaper, she rushed to remind me to apply diaper rash cream as if we were dealing with a life or death situations.
That’s when I realized that there’s seriously conflicting advice out there on who needs diaper rash cream and how often to apply it.
A quick read through of the countless parent forums available on the internet leaves you with a 50-50 answer to that question, and will most probably make you even more confused than you were before you read all those conflicting answers.
Some parents swear by using diaper cream with every diaper change as a preventive measure. On the other hand, others think of diaper rash cream as medication – you only take medicine once you’re sick, and not as prevention.
So, what do the professionals have to say about this?
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Tiffany Fischman, MD, FAAP note that diaper dermatitis (skin irritation) “can generally be prevented with a simple coat of clear petroleum or non-petroleum jelly, or ointment applied to skin of the diaper area”.
When your little one has a diaper rash, they emphasize the importance of applying your favorite cream “during every diaper change”.
While diaper rash cream is an integral part of the healing process when your baby’s experiencing diaper rash, its use as a preventative measure boils down to personal choice.
Applying it at the first sign of irritation is a good way of preventing the rash from taking a turn to the worse.
That said, it’s wise to add diaper rash cream to your diaper change routine in these circumstances:
- In the newborn days, where your little one is still passing meconium
- In bouts of diarrhea
- While teething
- When taking antibiotics
- If your baby has sensitive skin
- Before bedtime, if your baby is sleeping long stretches
What Are the Benefits of Using Diaper Rash Cream?
The benefits of using diaper rash cream are plenty. Here’s a quick look at the most notable benefits:
- Can help prevent diaper dermatitis (in plainer words, skin irritation)
- Makes it easier to wipe off poo, especially that early meconium
- Creates a barrier between your little one’s skin and the moisture and enzymes in soiled diapers
- Prevents chafing
What Makes a Good Diaper Rash Cream?
There are specific elements which determine if the diaper rash cream you’re considering getting and using on your child is good or not.
Here’s a list of everything you need to know to make sure you’re making the best purchasing decision possible.
The Rash You’re Dealing With
It’s useless using an off-the-shelf diaper rash cream if your baby is experiencing, for instance, a rash caused by a yeast infection.
Identify the cause of the diaper rash first, and shop for a cream accordingly.
A regular diaper rash cream or ointment, provided it does not have any ingredients your baby is allergic or sensitive to, should work well on irritated bottoms.
Diaper rash creams are available in various consistencies: an ointment for diaper rash works well as a preventive measure, while creams are usually better for treating an existing rash.
Thick pastes help scary rashes heal better, as (generally speaking) the thicker the barrier, the better protection your baby gets.
Type of Diaper
All types of diaper rash creams can be used with disposable diapers, but the same cannot be said for cloth diapers.
If you’re cloth diapering, go for creams without petrolatum or zinc oxide – these ingredients work by creating a moisture barrier. That same barrier will compromise the diaper’s absorption, leading to leaks.
If you’d like to learn more about that, here’s a link to an article we wrote about the best diaper rash creams for cloth diapers.
The ingredients that work best on diaper rash include zinc oxide, lanolin, aloe and calendula.
The most common ingredient in diaper rash creams is zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is great for treating mild to moderate irritations; it glides easily on the skin without the need for rubbing.
Ingredients to Avoid in Diaper Rash Creams
Unfortunately, many diaper rash creams contain ingredients that are not too kind on babies’ skin, to say the least.
This is especially so if your little one has sensitive skin.
Potential allergens include lanolin, mineral oil, coconut oil, beeswax, insecticide, cod liver oil and sunflower oil. So, be sure to check the ingredients list for these before purchasing. If you find any, run away!
You should also avoid perfumed or fragranced diaper rash creams, as these can actually worsen your baby’s irritation.
Steer away from powdered forms of diaper rash treatments, too, as these can be easily inhaled by your little one.
Parabens and preservatives have been found to lead to negative health concerns, including hormone disruption.
The ingredients below often show up on diaper cream labels, but should be avoided:
- Sodium tetraborate / Borax – while advertised as a ‘green’ ingredient, borax has been associated with several adverse health effects, including irritation and hormone issues.
- Talc – The World Health Organization (WHO) classified talc-based powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
- BHA – The National Toxicology Programm classified BHA as “reasonably anticipated to a human carcinogen”.
- Phenoxyethanol – Both the FDA and the European Union label phenoxyethanol as safe, however the latter reports that using several products all containing a low dose could result in overexposure.
Natural or Organic
Opting for a natural diaper rash cream or organic diaper rash cream ensures that there’s nothing nasty in close contact with your little one’s skin.
As noted by the Gentle Nursery, babies are especially vulnerable to toxins. Since their bodies are still not fully developed, it takes them longer to get rid of any toxins they come into contact with.
Toxins have been found to disrupt the endocrine system as well as affect the reproductive and immune system, among other ill effects.
Look for the certified organic and non-GMO symbols to ensure you’re getting the cleanest product possible.
Types of Diaper Rash Prevention and Treatment Products
Diaper rash products come in a variety of forms:
Creams are super easy to spread and ideal for soothing irritated skin.
These are thicker in nature and ideal for a more severe rash that requires a good barrier from potential irritants.
You have to be careful when applying paste, though – trying to remove diaper rash paste from clothing can (and often does) require some serious elbow grease!
Ointments are great as a preventive measure against diaper irritation, instead of treating an irritation that already exists.
They’re easy to apply and work by creating an oily barrier over the skin, protecting delicate skin from irritants.
While diaper rash products in powder form are still available on the market, they’re not recommended for use.
Fine powder ends up airborne, which means it can potentially be inhaled by both you and your baby.
In addition to that, powder diaper rash products are generally made of cornstarch, a food source for yeast, which is the one ingredient you definitely do not want coming anywhere close to a rash or infection!
If you’re reading this, chances are your little one is currently experiencing a diaper rash.
Unfortunately, diaper rashes are a fact of parenting life that we all have to accept and deal with. They leave babies irritable and often in pain, and it’s something we all have to go through.
Luckily, there are plenty of diaper rash products available out there, all of which aim to lessen the impact of this annoying condition.
Some do that better than others, and some are more natural than others, both of which are things we tried to highlight in this article to help you out with.
Ultimately, the diaper rash cream you opt for depends on the reason you want to use it for. Some creams are best used as a preventive measure, others work well on mild to severe rashes, while others have to be prescribed by a doctor.
So, the first step in identifying which diaper rash cream is best for you and your baby’s needs is to determine the cause of the rash.
Once that’s sorted out, shop for the best cream, keeping in mind your baby’s level of sensitivity or any allergies.
With some care and more attention to changing diapers, rashes generally sort themselves out in a few days.
Make sure to consult your doctor if the rash is persistent or reoccurs often!