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There will probably come a day when you change your baby’s diaper, and instead of smooth, creamy skin, you see a red and irritated area. First things first: don’t panic, and you are not a bad parent. Most babies will experience diaper rash at least once in their first three years of life, particularly between the ages of 9 and twelve months when your child is sitting more often and switching to solid foods. While it’s important to ascertain the cause of any persistent rash, or see a doctor if your baby appears to be in a lot of pain, you can manage most diaper rashes with a quality diaper rash cream.
Parent Guide to Diaper Rash Cream, Lotions and Ointments
Since diaper rash is such a common occurrence, there are plenty of products on the market. But which one is the right one for you? Let’s take a look at some basics for buyers.
We all want to know what we’re putting on our babies. As with skin care products for baby’s bath time, it’s essential that anything coming into direct contact that their sensitive skin is gentle and dermatologically tested to a very hight level. So here’s a brief look at some common ingredients you’ll find in baby cream. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, you might very well come across these names as you search for your perfect product.
This component creates a barrier that keeps excess moisture from seeping into your little one’s skin. Products that contain zinc oxide usually do so in concentrations of 10 to 40 percent. If you are using cloth diapers, you’ll want to avoid products that contain zinc. The buildup caused by repeated use can render your cloth diapers ineffective and, well, no parent wants that.
If you’ve read our article on nipple creams, you might be familiar with lanolin. Simply put, after sheering a sheep, companies pull out and refine the waxes, oils, esters and alcohols that the animal naturally produced. The result is lanolin, which has proven very effective at treating irritated skin. Be warned, however, that some parents are wary of the process used to refine lanolin, fearing a lingering pesticide presence in the final product.
Derived from a plant, this all natural ingredient is known to have skin soothing properties. It can reduce pain and inflammation and is commonly found in both all natural and traditional products.
Yes, you can use products with hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation associated with diaper rash, but there are a few caveats. For starters, never use it as a stand-alone treatment; layer another diaper rash cream over it. Secondly, only use a thin layer of the product, no more than twice a day, and only for a few days. Hydrocortisone can be damaging to sensitive skin if used too often.
Natural vs. Traditional Diaper Rash Creams
This is more of personal preference than anything. If you choose to go with a natural remedy, we advise you to inspect the ingredients carefully. Some companies will label their product as all natural even though it contains ingredients that organic shoppers don’t want to use.
Scented vs. Unscented
Again, this boils down to personal preference. Finding a product that smells good certainly shouldn’t be the primary reason for purchasing it, and we recommend double-checking that harsh ingredients have not been added to the diaper rash cream to achieve a pleasing fragrance. Also, that diaper won’t stay clean for long, so remember, that sweet smell will eventually be mixed with…well, something not so sweet.
With those facts out of the way, let’s move on to some of our favorite diaper rash creams so your baby’s hiney can start healing.
Best Natural and Organic Diaper Rash Creams
If you’re looking to avoid traditional ingredients, you are not alone. There are plenty of baby products on the market that will meet your needs.
This affordable vegan diaper rash cream contains soothing ingredients like organic calendula, organic chickweed, and organic tea tree oil. Clinically tested, dermatologically reviewed, and even used in neonatal intensive care units across the country, it is a quality product. In 2017, it won the Most Soothing Diaper Cream in The Cribsie Awards. It is safe to use with cloth diapers and has no artificially generated fragrance.View on Amazon
This product is USDA Certified Organic, fragrance-free, and, while it is a little more pricey than other creams, it treats a multitude of baby skin issues, including diaper rash. It provides relief from pain and itching, as well as moisturizes and protects skin from infection. It is also safe to use with cloth diapers and is not greasy.View on Amazon
If you have decided that a zinc product is right for your baby, you certainly have plenty of options. Here are some of our picks for quick relief.
Desitin is a brand known for quality. In fact, they are the pediatrician’s #1 choice when it comes to diaper rash treatments. This particular product contains 13% zinc and is considered strong enough for overnight protection. It is free of fragrances, dyes, and parabens and can be used with every diaper change. However, since it contains zinc, it’s not recommended for babies diapered in cloth.View on Amazon
Developed by Dr. Forest M. Smith Jr. M.D., this cream contains 10% zinc oxide and is safe to use for overnight treatment. Many parents report seeing quick improvement while using this pediatrician approved product. This cream does contain lanolin which, depending on where you stand in the argument, can be either a pro or a con. One definite con that parents agree on is that the tube is rather small, and doesn’t last long if you are using it with each diapering. However, with ingredients like olive oil and beeswax coupled with zinc, this product will protect and soothe your baby’s skin.View on Amazon
Sometimes, you might find your baby has a diaper rash that has a little more staying power than your average skin irritation. Here are some products you can try for those stubborn skin rashes.
Go ahead and giggle, we know you want to; we certainly did. The slightly silly name aside, this product delivers excellent relief for your baby’s behind. It contains 40% zinc oxide for maximum treatment and is free of parabens, preservatives, and phthalates. While it is a little on the expensive side and cannot be used with cloth diapers, it was developed by a pharmacist and is pediatrician recommended.View on Amazon
This pediatrician-tested cream contains 40% zinc oxide. While you can’t use it with cloth diapers, it certainly provides maximum treatment for a stubborn diaper rash. It also soothes skin with shea butter, jojoba seed oil, and lavender and has not been tested on animals.View on Amazon
If your are on the go, or just not a fan of having cream residue on your hands, you might want to purchase a roll-on treatment for your baby’s bottom.
This soothing roll-on balm contains natural ingredients, like beeswax and grape seed oil. Better still, it can be used with your cloth diapers. It does have a few drawbacks. You can only use one stick per child for hygienic reasons, and you should not use it if your baby has any kind of skin infection. With that said, it is certainly easy to apply and will soothe your child’s skin.View on Amazon
With chamomile and vitamin E to soothe skin and zinc oxide to heal, this diaper rash roll-on is safe for cloth diapers and easy to apply. It has an all-natural chamomile scent and absorbs easily into your child’s skin. As with other roll-ons, you can only use one stick per child and should discontinue use if your child is being treated for a skin infection. However, if you’re looking for an easily applied product with the healing power of zinc oxide, look no further.View on Amazon
Don’t miss the rest of our Diapering series
Okay, so things are going to get messy! But it doesn’t have to get that bad. Our guides and reviews will help you to keep the poop under control whilst remaining cool and calm.
The other articles in our Diapering series:
Diaper rash is no fun for anyone, but any of these products will be an excellent addition on the road to healing. If one diaper rash cream doesn’t work, don’t give up as, like so many things in life, there is an element of trial and error here. And remember, diaper rash is extremely common, so don’t go berating yourself if you find your baby’s bottom red and irritated. We wish your family happy healing.