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  • Writer's pictureMama Witz

What is Diaper Rash Cream & When, Why and How to use it

Diaper rash cream is a topical ointment or paste specifically formulated to soothe, protect, and heal irritated skin in the diaper area. Diaper rash cream is used to provide a protective barrier between the baby's skin and the wetness of urine and feces, preventing and treating diaper rash.

Most diaper rash creams contain a combination of soothing and healing ingredients like zinc oxide, lanolin, petroleum jelly, calendula, and vitamin E.

What causes diaper rash?

Common causes of diaper rash include:

Prolonged Exposure to Wetness:

  • When a baby's skin is exposed to wet diapers for extended periods, the moisture can soften the skin and make it more susceptible to irritation and rash.

  • Infrequent diaper changes can allow urine and feces to remain in contact with the baby's skin for prolonged periods, increasing the risk of diaper rash.


  • The constant rubbing of the diaper against the baby's skin, especially during movement, can lead to skin irritation and contribute to the development of diaper rash.

Sensitivity to Diapers or Wipes:

  • Some babies may experience sensitivity or allergic reactions to certain diaper brands, wipes, or detergents used to launder cloth diapers, leading to diaper rash.

Changes to the composition of urine and stool:

  • Introducing new foods during early childhood or taking certain medications can sometimes result in changes to the composition of urine and stool, potentially increasing the likelihood of diaper rash.

  • Illnesses or teething can sometimes lead to changes in a baby's stool, increasing the likelihood of diaper rash.

Bacterial or Yeast Infections:

  • The warm, moist environment of a diaper provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, which can lead to infections and contribute to the development of diaper rash.

How to prevent and treat diaper rash


Regular diaper changes, gentle cleansing of the diaper area, and using a diaper rash cream preventatively can help reduce the occurrence of diaper rash.


By implementing these effective treatments, caregivers can help alleviate discomfort and promote the healing of diaper rash, ensuring the baby's skin remains healthy and comfortable.

When it comes to treating diaper rash, several effective strategies can be implemented:

  1. Diaper Rash Cream Application Apply a thick layer of diaper rash cream containing zinc oxide or other soothing ingredients at every diaper change to protect and soothe the affected skin. Medicated creams may be prescribed for more severe cases.

  2. Frequent Diaper Changes Regularly change the baby's diaper to reduce exposure to urine and feces, decreasing the duration of skin contact with irritants.

  3. Gentle Cleansing Use gentle, fragrance-free wipes or warm water to cleanse the diaper area during changes. Avoiding wipes with alcohol or fragrance can prevent further irritation.

  4. Air Time Allow the baby's skin to air dry completely before putting on a fresh diaper. Giving the skin some time to breathe can aid in the healing process.

  5. Loose-Fitting Diapers Use diapers that fit well without being too tight, as snug diapers can exacerbate friction and contribute to irritation.

  6. Avoiding Irritants Be mindful of potential irritants such as harsh detergents or fabrics. Use fragrance-free, gentle detergents and opt for breathable, natural-fiber clothing when possible.

  7. Oatmeal Baths Oatmeal baths can help soothe and heal irritated skin. Adding colloidal oatmeal to lukewarm bathwater and allowing the baby to soak for 10-15 minutes can provide relief.

  8. Consultation with Healthcare Provider If the rash persists or worsens despite using diaper rash cream and home care measures, it's important to seek advice from a healthcare provider. They can recommend additional treatments, such as antifungal or antibiotic creams if a secondary infection is present.

Benefits of Diaper rash cream

Diaper rash cream has three main benefits:

  • Soothing: Alleviates discomfort caused by diaper rash.

  • Healing: Promotes the healing of irritated skin.

  • Protection: Acts as a barrier to prevent moisture from aggravating a rash.

When to apply diaper rash cream

The cream is applied to clean, dry skin during diaper changes, forming a protective layer that helps prevent further irritation.

At every diaper change

Diaper rash cream should be applied at every diaper change, especially when a rash is present or to prevent its occurrence.

Apply a thin layer of diaper rash cream to clean, dry skin during every diaper change to create a protective barrier. If the baby has soiled or wet the diaper shortly after application, it may be necessary to reapply the cream to maintain an effective barrier against moisture and irritants.

At night

Applying a slightly thicker layer of diaper rash cream before bedtime can help provide extended protection during the nighttime hours when diaper changes may be less frequent.

The Best Diaper Rash Creams

There are different types of diaper rash cream, such as medicated and natural options. Some are specifically formulated for severe diaper rash, while others are better for prevention.

These are the most recommended and highest rated diaper rash creams on Amazon, trusted by moms and pediatricians alike:

  1. Butt Paste Max Strength - This max strength diaper rash cream contains 40% zinc oxide, and is free from dyes, talc, parabens, and preservatives. It provides instant relief to irritated skin for moderate or worse diaper rashes, often healing the rash overnight in milder cases. The 2 oz tube is the perfect size for the diaper bag and the 4 oz tube is great for home. This should not be used with cloth diapers and will not launder out of fabric.

  2. Calmoseptine Diaper Rash Ointment - For severe diaper rashes, this is about as close as you can get to a prescription strength diaper rash cream over-the-counter without seeing a doctor. This thick paste contains petrolatum, zinc oxide, and lanolin for skin protection, and calamine and menthol for soothing pain relief. Smear it on thick to sooth and heal the worst diaper rashes. Be warned though you do not want to get this on clothes and it will not come out of cloth diapers.

  3. Aquaphor - This 3-in-1 paste contains 15% zinc oxide, is paraben and fragrance free, and pediatrician recommended for preventing diaper rash, soothing irritated skin, and treating diaper rash. Unlike other creams with higher zinc oxide amounts, this cream cleans off much easier.

  4. Clear Vaseline - Good ole Vaseline is a classic skin protectant, and can be used alone or over top of another ointment to make it last longer.

  5. Honest All Purpose Balm - Not a fan of petroleum-based products, or can't use zinc oxide with cloth diapers? This is a great option for you. This naturally derived balm is made with sunflower oil, shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and soothing chamomile oil. It is hypoallergenic, recognized by the National Eczema Association, cruelty free, and made in the USA. Not just for baby's diaper rash, it can also be used by the whole family to moisturize dry skin, and soften cuticles and rough hands.

  6. Noleo 3-in-1 Diaper Care - This multipurpose organic diaper care product cleanses, moisturizes and protects baby's sensitive skin. Runnier than the other products in this list, it feels more like a lotion than a cream or paste. This product is especially recommended as a preventative, gently and effectively cleansing the diaper area of any remaining bacteria that might irritate the skin. To use pump a small amount onto a cotton round and gently wipe the skin clean. Made with five simple skin-loving ingredients; limewater to naturally cleanse and balance skin pH, skin nourishing olive oil, sunflower oil to improve the skin barrier, beeswax to hold in moisture, and glyceryl stearate to naturally bond water and oils. Unlike creams containing zinc, this product is safe to use with cloth diapers.

In summary, diaper rashes can happen to any baby and diaper rash cream is an essential product for caring for a baby's delicate skin and protecting it from irritation and discomfort caused by diaper rash.

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