Your baby will likely encounter a diaper rash (or five) in the first years of life. This irritation is common and typically presents as redness and warmth with raised bumps. It can be caused by a number of things from changing frequency to chafing and rubbing to sensitive skin. While it’s important to first assess and try to determine the cause of the rash, you can give your child fast relief by applying various ointments and creams to the affected area.
Regardless of which brand you choose, there are a few active ingredients that are known to work best at healing and protecting. Zinc oxide glides on the skin and creates an impermeable barrier to block moisture. It is usually present in creams in concentrations of 10 to 40 percent. Calendula is a natural, antibacterial oil derived from marigold flowers. There are various other vitamins and soothers, like aloe, that are often added to help revive inflamed skin.
1. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment
$1.96 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 Natural Diaper Ointment. As the name suggests, the ingredients are all natural. The ointment contains almond oil, proteins, and even vitamin D, which work to soften and recondition your baby's skin. 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 is difficult to wash out without stripping.
2. Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment
$0.91 per ounce
Aquaphor is a multi-purpose ointment that can be used for diaper rash, chapped cheeks, cuts, scrapes, burns, eczema, and more skin irritations. It’s also useful for preventing diaper rash before it starts by protecting the skin. In fact, it’s clinically proven to relieve diaper rash within six hours of application. A few reviewers shared that the ointment is quite greasy. Still, it’s great for sensitive skin because it’s fragrance-free, preservative-free, and dye-free.
3. Triple Paste
$1.62 per ounce
When other diaper rash treatments fail you, try Triple Paste. This medicated ointment is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and “unconditionally guaranteed” to heal your baby’s raw skin. Its active ingredient is zinc oxide, which works to repel water away from skin and create a safe barrier for healing. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, though there are a few customers who shared that it simply didn’t work for their babies.
4. Earth Mama Angel Bottom Balm
$4.45 per ounce
American-made Earth Mama Angel Bottom Balm was formulated by a nurse herbalist and is free from toxins, petroleum, mineral oil, vitamin E, phthalates, and parabens. The solution is naturally antibacterial and antifungal with organic herbs and essential oils like calendula. The balm allows skin to breathe, versus creating a barrier that might otherwise trap bacteria against the skin. It also claims to be safe for use on cloth diapers. Though most reviewers rave about this balm, a few shared that it didn’t do much to help their child’s rash. It’s also one of the most expensive products on this list.
5. Babyganics Diaper Rash Cream
$1.70 per ounce
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. As with many other natural products, this cream was not tested on animals. Several reviewers shared that the product does not 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.
6. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
$1.05 per ounce
Pediatrician recommended Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is a popular choice among new parents. It boasts an easy on, easy off formulation along with a pleasant scent that doesn’t overwhelm baby. It’s not the most natural of the bunch, with boric acid, castor oil, mineral oil, white wax, and petrolatum on its ingredients list. Still, it’s effective and contains a solid percentage of zinc oxide. If you’re concerned about some of the contents in its classic paste, Boudreaux offers an all-natural cream as well that contains a whopping 40 percent zinc oxide.
7. Desitin Rapid Relief
$0.72 per ounce
Desitin diaper creams have been around for a long time. The company’s Rapid Relief has been voted a #1 new release by Amazon, and for good reason. In a clinical study, 90 percent of babies with diaper rash had noticeable relief within 12 hours with the use of this cream. The ingredients work immediately against inflammation that causes the redness, warmth, and pain. It also happens to be one of the most cost-effective options on this list. Several people complained that the product does not have a safety seal.
8. Weleda Calendula Rash Cream
$4.29 per ounce
Weleda’s Rash Cream is made with calendula extract from flowers grown in Weleda’s own gardens in Germany. It’s one of the more expensive options on this list, but it’s made with fair trade beeswax and pharmaceutical-grade zinc oxide. It’s also free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and petroleum. As far as effectiveness goes, most reviewers give this product five stars. Some customers don’t like that it comes in an aluminum tube and can be hard to squeeze for the last applications.
9. A&D Ointment
$1.45 per ounce
With A&D’s Treat Cream, you can stop a diaper rash in its tracks with powerful zinc oxide. It also contains dimethicone to treat itch, and aloe to moisturize. The cream creates a barrier between wet diapers and your baby so skin has a chance to heal. The company also offers a Prevention Cream for everyday use that contains lanolin. Some reviewers don’t like that both products contain paraffins, which are possible carcinogens according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
10. Cetaphil Baby Diaper Relief Cream
$2.40 per ounce
Cetaphil’s Diaper Relief Cream is another, more natural option. Its active ingredients include zinc oxide and organic calendula, along with vitamins B5 and E. You won’t find any parabens, mineral oil, or colors in the mix, and it’s hypoallergenic for the most sensitive skin. Reviewers share that this cream works great for prevention and mild rashes, but it doesn’t do much for the worst irritations.
11. Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Ointment
$3.10 per ounce
Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Ointment gets high scores for being cloth diaper-safe, going on clear, and being manufactured in the United States. Though this brand does not contain zinc oxide, it has vitamin E, lanolin, and amber petrolatum, used as a healing and protecting agent. The company shares that the solution also works well for eczema, heat rash, minor burns, cradle cap, and more. 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.
When to See Your Pediatrician
Be sure to change your baby’s diaper promptly whenever it’s wet or dirty, to prevent more avoidable rashes. You may also want to try a few different brands of diaper rash ointments to see which one works best on your child’s skin. If your little one’s rash persists and doesn’t respond to habit changes or creams, you should call the doctor. Some skin presentations, like those from a yeast rash, impetigo, seborrhea, or an allergy rash, require more specific treatment. Occasionally, certain foods or medicines might be fueling the situation, so it’s best to treat the root cause and not just the symptoms. Of course, if you notice an adverse reaction to any diaper creams and ointments, you should phone your baby’s pediatrician straight away.