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Your baby will likely encounter a diaper rash (or five) within their first few years of life. This irritation is common and typically appears as red, warm, inflamed skin with raised bumps.
Diaper rash can be caused by several factors, including diaper change frequency, chafing and rubbing, and sensitive skin.
While it’s important to first determine the cause of the rash, you can give your baby fast relief by applying ointments or creams to the affected area.
With the large number of diaper rash creams on the market, it can feel overwhelming to pick the right one. There are a lot of factors to consider, which may include a product’s ingredients and how severe your baby’s rash is.
Regardless of which brand you choose, there are a few active ingredients that you should look out for. These are known to work best at healing and protecting babies from diaper rash:
- Zinc oxide: a powdery mineral that glides on the skin and creates an impermeable barrier to block moisture
- Calendula: a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory oil derived from marigold flowers
- Aloe vera: a soother often added to help revive inflamed skin
- Lanolin: a moisturizer that creates a barrier over the skin to help prevent rashes
- Petroleum: a moisturizer that protects the skin from rashes
There are also some ingredients you may want to be cautious of, especially if you’re looking for an all natural or organic product. These include:
- mineral oils
- toxins, such as aluminum starch octenylsuccinate
- artificial waxes
- artificial dyes and fragrances
Petroleum is also an ingredient to avoid if you’re opting for an all natural product.
For this list, we considered use of the above-mentioned ingredients, as well as:
- price points
- the use of chemical additives
- how quickly the ointment treats diaper rash
We’ve aimed to present a range of quality products that can help with even the worst diaper rash.
- $ = under $1.50 per ounce
- $$ = $1.50–$3.00 per ounce
- $$$ = over $3.00 per ounce
If you’re looking for a diaper rash ointment with no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or sodium laurel sulfate, check out Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment.
One of the benefits of this product is that the ingredients are all natural. The ointment contains almond oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter, which all work to soften and recondition your baby’s skin.
Reviews: A few reviewers shared that their tubes had hard granules in the mix. While this ointment claims to be cloth diaper safe, some report that it leaves a white residue that’s difficult to wash out without stripping.
Aquaphor is a multipurpose ointment that can be used for diaper rash, chapped cheeks, cuts, scrapes, burns, eczema, and more skin irritations.
It helps prevent diaper rash by protecting the skin. In fact, it’s listed as being able to relieve diaper rash within 6 hours of application.
Reviews: A few reviewers shared that the ointment is quite greasy. Still, it’s great for sensitive skin because it’s fragrance-, preservative-, and dye-free.
Plant-based ingredients are also the focus of Babyganics Diaper Rash Cream. The solution contains zinc oxide, calendula, aloe, and jojoba oil. These ingredients work to both treat and prevent diaper rash.
Babyganics Diaper Rash Cream is also free of parabens, phthalates, petroleum, mineral oil, artificial fragrance, and dye. As with many other natural products, this cream wasn’t tested on animals.
Reviews: Several reviewers shared that the product doesn’t go on the skin smoothly and isn’t quite thick or long-lasting enough to get the job done. A few even mentioned that their children had an adverse reaction (stinging) to the ingredients.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is a popular choice among new parents. It boasts an easy-on, easy-off formula along with a pleasant scent to avoid overwhelming your baby.
It’s not the most natural of the bunch, though. It has boric acid, castor oil, mineral oil, white wax, and petrolatum on its ingredients list. Still, it’s effective and contains a solid 16 percent of zinc oxide.
If you’re concerned about some of the contents in its classic paste, Boudreaux offers an all-natural cream as well, which contains 40 percent zinc oxide.
Reviews: Several reviewers highly praise this product, even for the worst cases of diaper rash. Reviewers also say that the product has a thick consistency, so a little goes a long way.
Cetaphil Soothe & Protect Cream is another more natural option. Its active ingredient is allantoin, which helps prevent dry, itchy skin as well as minor skin irritations.
You won’t find any parabens, fragrances, or petrolatum in the mix. Plus, its nongreasy formula is suited for the most sensitive skin types.
Reviews: Reviewers share that this cream works great for prevention and mild rashes, but it doesn’t do much for the worst irritations.
Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Ointment gets high scores for being cloth diaper–safe, going on clear, and being manufactured in the United States.
This brand doesn’t contain zinc oxide. But it does have vitamin E, lanolin, and amber petrolatum, which is used as a healing and protecting agent.
The company claims that this product also works well for eczema, heat rash, minor burns, cradle cap, and more.
Reviews: A few customers aren’t happy with the petrolatum content, since it’s a byproduct of petroleum. Others revealed that, despite the claims and positive reviews, their cloth diapers didn’t fare well with use.
To prevent avoidable rashes, try to ensure that you change your baby’s diaper promptly whenever it’s wet or unclean. You may also want to try different brands of diaper rash ointments to see which one works best on your baby’s skin.
If your little one’s rash persists and doesn’t respond to habit changes or ointments, you should call your baby’s pediatrician.
Some skin conditions are more severe and require more advanced treatments. These conditions can include:
Occasionally, certain foods or medications might make rashes and irritations worse. That’s why it’s recommended that you treat the root cause of the irritation rather than the symptoms alone.
If you notice an adverse reaction to any diaper creams and ointments, you should contact your baby’s pediatrician immediately.