What Is Diaper Cream And Is It Safe? (Plus 2020 Buyer’s Guide!)


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Diaper rash is a common skin irritation that many babies will experience during their first few years of life. It’s often caused by leaving a dirty diaper on for too long, your baby being allergic to the diaper, or other infections. Many parents might wonder what diaper cream is along with how to find the safest one to use with their baby!

What is diaper cream? Diaper rash cream is a product designed to provide relief from diaper rash and form a protective barrier on your baby’s skin to reduce friction that causes discomfort. They come in various forms and are usually safe to use at every diaper change.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of diaper creams, how to use them safely, and our recommendations for the best products to use on your little one’s skin.

What Is Diaper Cream Exactly?

Because your baby wears his or her diaper every hour of the day, their bottom is exposed to moisture that could create a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and infect the skin. Diaper creams were created to provide relief from such infections. These creams, pastes, and ointments work to soothe irritated skin and ease your baby’s discomfort. They also create a protective barrier between the skin and diaper. This helps prevent the skin from becoming more painful or uncomfortable.

Here are some common ingredients that you are likely to find in diaper creams and pastes:

  • Zinc oxide
  • Mineral oil
  • Lanolin
  • Glycerin
  • Calendula
  • Almond oil
  • Corn starch
  • Beeswax
  • Oat extract
  • Various other organic oils and extracts

What does diaper rash cream do?

Diaper cream prevents and treats diaper rash in infants. It protects the baby’s skin from potential irritants like moisture, feces, and chemicals within the diaper by using an active ingredient such as zinc oxide. Most diaper cream products also contain ingredients that help repair damaged skin and moisturize it so that it will be better protected overall from bacterial diaper rash.

Parents have many options when it comes to the type of diaper rash product they use for their child:

  • Ointments are oil-based – These products are great at creating a moisture barrier for your infant’s skin. It will sit on their skin for a long time, as opposed to being absorbed.
  • Creams are water-based – They’re easily absorbed by your baby’s skin and will spread easily. These products are great for providing relief for irritated skin.
  • Pastes are thicker than cream and used as a protectant and moisture barrier – They often contain zinc oxide, which is not recommended for use if your baby wears cloth diapers.

In all cases, be sure to check any product you are considered to see its recommended use. It may be that you need something milder or stronger depending on your situation!

Is Diaper Cream Safe for Babies?

Diaper cream is usually safe to apply to your baby’s bottom at every diaper change. They contain ingredients that were designed to heal your baby’s bottom safely and effectively. Many products are recommended by pediatricians.

It’s important to note that diaper creams are intended for external use only. Avoid letting the diaper rash cream make contact with your baby’s lips or mouth. Getting a small amount in the mouth accidentally is usually not harmful, but if your baby consumes these creams, it could result in vomiting or diarrhea in severe cases. Make sure to store these products where your baby cannot reach them. If your baby has extra sensitive skin, talk to your pediatrician to see if there are any chemicals and ingredients you should avoid.

Many big brands will contain chemicals that are harmful over prolonged use, like parabens, BHA, and sodium borate. Consider purchasing natural products that heal your baby’s rash without these harmful chemicals. The best products will contain non-nano zinc oxide (to avoid absorption into the skin) and organic oils or other ingredients to help soothe and protect the skin.

Also, if your baby has a diaper rash that is so severe that there is bleeding or open sores, do not use diaper rash cream as it could make things worse. Consult with a doctor on how to best proceed and treat the wounds properly to avoid infection.

When can I use diaper cream on my newborn?

Most diaper rash creams are safe to use on newborn babies if they are showing mild signs of diaper rash like redness and irritation. For newborns, you should try to find a gentle formula to protect their sensitive skin.

Pro tip: When babies are first born, they will have bowel movements called meconium. During these first few days, the poop will be thick and sticky with an almost tarlike texture. Many parents use diaper cream to prevent this fecal matter from sticking to their baby’s behind and make diaper changes easier.

How Do You Use Diaper Cream?

To treat your baby’s diaper rash with diaper cream, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Wash your hands before beginning a diaper change.
  2. After removing a soiled diaper, make sure your baby’s skin is clean and dry. Use a clean, warm washcloth to clean the baby’s bottom.
  3. Pat your baby’s bottom dry. Do not rub, as this could irritate the infected area.
  4. Use your clean fingers or a diaper rash applicator to distribute a thick layer of ointment on the irritated area. The action will be similar to frosting a cake.
  5. Finish with a new, dry diaper.
  6. Wash your hands after completing the diaper change.

You can safely apply diaper cream to the cheeks, but you can also apply in between the cheeks of the buttocks and around the anus if necessary. If you have a boy, diaper rash can appear on the scrotum, so it is safe to use on this area and around the penis. For girls, diaper cream is safe to use around the vaginal area, but do not apply inside the vagina.

In general, you want to make sure that you use enough cream to provide a good skin barrier, but not so much that it makes a mess or finds its way to places it shouldn’t!

How much diaper cream do you use?

Parents can apply diaper cream liberally to help a baby’s diaper rash heal.

Apply a thick layer to protect your baby’s bottom from rubbing against the diaper and soothe discomfort. To avoid using too much product, start with a dime-sized amount, then apply more if the infected area is large.

You want to create a thick barrier so that your baby’s bottom will still be white at the next diaper change.

How often should I apply diaper rash cream?

It is safe to apply diaper cream as needed to soothe your baby’s discomfort. Sometimes, this is at every diaper change. You especially want to apply the product at bedtime or before your baby is expected to wear a wet diaper for a prolonged amount of time, like a road trip or overnight.

Here are some more safe diapering tips to help treat and prevent diaper rash:

  • As your baby heals, allow him or her to go without a diaper. This allows the bottom to air-dry and heal more quickly. It also reduces friction against the diaper and interaction with irritants.
  • Make sure your baby has the right-sized diaper. A diaper that’s too tight or snug can make them uncomfortable and cause unnecessary friction.
  • Change your baby’s diaper as soon as he or she has a wet or poopy diaper.
  • Wash your hands before and after each diaper change.
  • Use mild cleaning products like wipes and soaps that are safe for baby’s sensitive skin and free of harsh fragrances.
  • Visit a doctor if your baby’s diaper rash does not improve in two to three days or if your baby develops a fever. Keep a close eye on the rash itself to watch out for symptoms of a yeast infection or puss-filled bumps on the baby’s skin.

Also, be sure to watch out for any allergic reaction or sensitivity to the diaper rash cream itself!

What Is the Best Diaper Cream?

When you’re shopping for diaper cream, look for oil-based products and those containing non-nano zinc oxide. These will stick to the skin and stay there even after diaper changes.

Zinc oxide creates a barrier that reduces irritating friction, blocks wetness from interacting with the skin, and soothes discomfort. Products that are 40% zinc oxide creams can be pretty thick and are recommended for severe cases. Purchasing a product with around 12% will be smoother to apply. These lighter products often also contain petrolatum or petroleum jelly. These ingredients combine to make an easy-to-apply paste.

The best creams will offer non-nano zinc oxide as the active ingredient along with other natural, organic ingredients to help support the health of your baby’s skin. Here are three of my favorites!

The Honest Company Diaper Rash Cream

The Honest Company offers a whole range of products and I particularly like their diaper rash cream because of the ingredients list and the pleasant ‘fragrance-free’ scent.

This cream is made with:

  • Non-nano zinc oxide (14%)
  • Sunflower Seed Oil
  • Beeswax
  • Castor oil
  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Jojoba

It’s also free or any parabens, petrolatum, PEGs, Lanolin, mineral oil, or synthetic fragrances.

I can personally say that this product works well and many other parents have experience the same results. If you want to check out those reviews and purchase this product then click here to check it out!

Made Of Diaper Rash Cream

This is another top-rated brand in the natural baby product space. Made of consistently uses only the best ingredients in the safest possible formulation for your little baby’s sensitive skin! This product goes on as a thick lotion and stays on for a while!

This cream is made from:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Non-nano Zinc Oxide
  • Beeswax
  • Cocoa seed butter
  • Lavender oil
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
  • Avocado oil
  • Argan oil

It’s also free of any GMO products, soy, nuts, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances!

I can personally say that this product works well and many other parents have experience the same results. If you want to check out those reviews and purchase this product then click here to check it out!

Era Organics Diaper Rash Treatment

Finally, we have a slightly different product from Era Organics. I’ve recommended their products before when it comes to dealing with cradle cap because they consistently provide a great alternative solution that actually gets the job done.

This product actually skips the zinc oxide completely and focuses purely on skin-nourishing ingredients. As such, it will work best as a preventative or for only mild cases of diaper rash. If you are having serious issues, it might not do the best job of treating severe rashes.

Still, I must recommend it because I love it and it also smells awesome!

Here’s the ingredient list:

  • Cocoa seed butter
  • Sunflower oil
  • Calendula oil
  • Castor oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Rosemary extract

Despite the lack of zinc, this product still has 4.5 stars or better on Amazon with almost 500 ratings. If you want to check it out (and read what other parents are saying about it) then click here.

Protect Your Baby’s Health

Although diaper rashes often go away on their own, diaper creams can be a great help for parents to speed up their child’s recovery.

Keep these tips in mind as you navigate the treatment of your baby’s irritated skin. If you have any concerns or want to know the best course of action for your child’s individual case, make sure to reach out to your child’s pediatrician. He or she knows your child’s health and will be able to make an informed decision to help you safely and effectively care for your child’s skin.

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Josh

I'm the dad in charge of Natural Baby life. With 10 years of parenting experience across three children, I am constantly learning how to raise children more naturally. I'm passionate about doing whatever it takes to raise a happy and healthy baby! Find out more about me here.

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