The Best Diaper Rash Cream 2018

Best Diaper Rash Cream 2018

Last Updated: Dec 27, 2017 @ 3:29 pmBest Diaper Rash Cream 2018. After testing 13 over-the-counter diaper rash remedies on actual baby butts and consulting with pediatricians who fight the diaper rash battle every day, we pick Balmex Diaper Rash Cream ($12.99 for a 16 ounce jar on Amazon) as the Best Diaper Rash Cream. 

Scroll down for our picks for Best Budget-Friendly Diaper Rash Cream, Best Diaper Rash Cream for Severe Rashes and Best Eco Friendly Diaper Rash Cream.
New to diaper rash? Need some shopping tips? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying Diaper Rash Cream for advice and tips.

The best diaper rash cream creates a moisture barrier that keeps baby’s skin from being irritated (moisture + diaper + skin = diaper rash). After testing, we believe the best diaper rash cream is more creamy than sticky, making it easier to apply.

Our top pick Balmex contains one of the most effective moisture barriers: zinc oxide. Balmex has 11% zinc oxide as its active ingredient plus inactive ingredients like beeswax, mineral oil and microcrystalline wax. Balmex also claims one special ingredient: evening primrose extract, which the company claims helps “inhibit enzymes in stool that are known to irritate skin.”

The Best Diaper Rash Cream 2017 Balmex Diaper Rash Cream

Balmex is priced at as little as 81¢ per ounce in a 16 ounce jar or, if you prefer tubes, you can buy it for about $1.50 per ounce.

Does it work? Our readers swear by it, according to our message boards and email feedback. Parents tell us they like the creamy texture; it’s not as sticky as many other zinc oxide diaper rash cream—and we would agree with this after road-testing several diaper rash creams ourselves for this article. The scent isn’t bad either. Bottom line on the diaper rash bottom battle: the crown for best diaper rash cream goes to Balmex.

The Best Diaper Rash Cream

After road testing 13 diaper rash creams, we crowned Balmex as the best of the bunch.

Also Great: Desitin

The Best Diaper Rash Cream 2017 Desitin diaper rash cream

Around for over 40 years, Desitin is a diaper rash cream that often tops pediatrician surveys for diaper rash creams. Our informal poll of pediatricians also confirmed Desitin is still among the top diaper rash creams recommended to parents.

Desitin comes in several varieties: Rapid Relief Cream, Maximum Strength Original Paste and Multi-Purpose Skin Protectant and Diaper Rash Ointment. Maximum strength has a whopping 40% zinc oxide, beating out Balmex and other zinc oxide options.

Desitin’s web site has helpful graphics that illustrate the different severity levels of diaper rash (see below). Also helpful: advice on how much to use on your baby and discount coupons.

Desitin 5 degrees of diaper rash

So why isn’t Desitin our top pick? Desitin isn’t called “paste” for nothin’! It is stickier than Balmex—and that makes it harder to apply, in our tests. And the smell? Well, let’s just say it funkier than Balmex. Those flaws aside, however, Desitin is a decent runner-up to Balmex.

Best Budget-Friendly Diaper Rash Cream

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Yes, it’s old school but effective: Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is our pick for best budget-friendly diaper rash treatment.

The humble jar of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly in your bathroom has a long and storied history . . . all the way back to 1859. A British chemist, Robert Chesebrough, was traveling through Titusville, PA where petroleum was first discovered. While touring the petroleum fields, Chesebrough noticed that the grunts doing all the oil drilling were using a byproduct of the process to moisturize and heal cuts and burns. Light bulb!

Once the idea hit him, it took Cheseborough five years to get petroleum jelly to the state he wanted. He purified it three times: filtering it and distilling it to clean the substance, then de-aerating it to remove air bubbles. This triple process removes all impurities so it’s safe for everyone’s skin, including your baby’s. (Not all petroleum jellies are guaranteed as pure, hence our recommendation of the Vaseline brand.)

Vaseline triple purification seal

So how does petroleum jelly help with diaper rash? Petroleum jelly isn’t really a moisturizer for your skin per se. Instead, it’s very good at holding in moisture–or in the case of diaper rash, keeping moisture out, like pee and poop.

If your baby is suffering from diaper rash Vaseline should be your first line of defense. It’s cheap at a mere 32¢ per ounce and easy to find. And it will keep urine and poop off baby’s sensitive skin, allowing it to heal.

For our eco-friendly readers, we realize it is easy to diss Vaseline. If the thought of using a petroleum product on your skin is a non-starter, there are “un-petroleum” diaper rash remedies to consider (see above). Just remember, these other options may cost considerably more than Vaseline and aren’t necessarily any more effective!

Best Diaper Rash Cream for Severe Rashes

Boudreaux's Butt Paste

Sometimes, you have to bring in the big guns. If your little one’s diaper rash goes from mild to severe overnight, we suggest the oddly named but effective Boudreaux’s Butt Pastee ($12.34 on Amazon). Based on our testing, it works effectively to stop severe diaper rash. Boudreax is available in three formulas, including maximum strength with 40% zinc oxide.

Boudreaux’s ingredients are simple. The original formula contains:

  • Zinc Oxide (16%)
  • Castor Oil
  • Mineral Oil
  • Paraffin
  • Peruvian Balsam
  • White Petrolatum (petroleum jelly).

The Natural version switches out the mineral oil and petrolatum and adds aloe vera, beeswax, carnauba wax, citric acid, and hydrogenated caster oil. At over $2 per ounce, however, it’s considerably more expensive than the regular and maximum strength versions priced between 81¢ to $1.81 per ounce.

The only complaints we hear are that Butt Paste itself is an unappealing beige color (like putty) and a few babies have had a skin reaction to it, based on reviews posted to parenting message boards.

Triple Paste diaper rash cream

Another great option for tough-to-tackle diaper rash is Triple Paste ($29.99 for a 16 ounce jar). It contains zinc oxide, petrolatum, corn starch, lanolin, stearyl alcohol, beeswax, bisabolo, cholesterol, glycerine, oat kernal extract and polysorbate 80. It used to be available only through pharmacies by prescription, but now is over-the-counter. It’s pretty expensive at $1.82 per ounce, but parents note it does the job. Some complained it was too thin and smelled unappealing.

FYI: If your baby has a diaper rash caused by a yeast infection, we would recommend Triple Paste AF, an anti-fungal version ($10.91).

Best Eco Friendly Diaper Rash Cream

The Best Diaper Rash Cream 2017 Burt's Bees Diaper Rash Ointment

Our pick for best eco-friendly diaper rash cream is Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment ($7.59 for a 3 ounce tube on Amazon).

Four of the 13 diaper rash creams we tested on actual baby butts tout their “natural” or eco-friendly ingredients. We found Burt’s Bees to be most effective, albeit at a price that is three times more per ounce than our top pick (Balmex).

From humble roots selling candles made in Maine, Burt’s Bees is now an natural products powerhouse owned by Clorox. Although the company has recently expanded its baby related offerings to include organic cotton baby clothes, its infant care products (under the Burt’s Bee Baby or Baby Bee names) first debuted back in 2003.

Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment contains 40% zinc oxide along with a plethora of “natural” ingredients (caveat: there is no actual standard for calling something “natural” when it comes to diaper rash cream). Sweet almond oil heads the list as well as olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, lavender flower oil, soybean oil, rosemary extract and canola oil. Sounds almost edible!

But all this natural diaper rash cream goodness comes at a price. Burt’s Bees sells for a whopping $2.67 per ounce. Using this frequently will definitely dent your wallet.

So what do parents and babies think? In our tests, we judged Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment to be as effective as non-natural options. And our readers agree, with most parents telling us it does the job well. Critics, however, note the consistency of Burt’s Bees can vary from oily to paste-y, depending on the tube.

One major caveat: talking with pediatricians about Burt’s Bees, more than one doc raised concerns that some of the ingredients in Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment might be allergenic—especially the lavender, rosemary and almond oil. If you use this product, monitor your baby closely to make sure there isn’t an allergic reaction. If so, our runner-up choice for an eco-friendly diaper rash cream would be Boudreaux’s Natural Butt Paste (see above).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby products since 1994. We evaluate items like baby rash cream with hands on inspection and tests. When it comes to infant care products, we also consult with board-certified pediatricians to make sure our recommendations are in line with the best medical practices.

In addition to our own hands-on tests, we also look at consumer reviews posted to our own message boards as well as sites like Babies R Us and Amazon.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby product reviews.

How we picked a winner

Diaper rash cartoon

We evaluate diaper rash creams and ointments with hands on inspections—yep, we squirted this stuff on a boatload of baby butts. Since you have to spackle this stuff on like frosting on a wedding cake, the best diaper rash creams have to be easy to apply without being to sticky. Scent and consistency also played a role in our rankings.

We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print). Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with pediatricians and dermatologists to see which brands are most trustworthy. For example, our warning about possible allergic reactions to “all natural” diaper rash creams that contain lavender came after we discovered reports of such reactions among pediatricians.

7 Things No One Tells You About . . .

7 Things No One Tells You About Diaper Rash Cream!

1. Don’t let your baby sit in a dirty or wet diaper.

baby in dirty diaper

The most common cause of diaper rash is irritation from sitting in pee or poop. You can easily check a disposable diaper for pee by pinching it to see if it’s wet. And we all know babies usually poop pretty soon during or after eating. Stay on top of it, especially with toddlers who may not like to be interrupted during play. Better an interruption than a case of painful diaper rash.

2. There are a variety of causes for diaper rash besides just contact with urine and poop.

causes of diaper rash

These include bacterial or yeast infections, new foods in the diet, antibiotics, irritation from wipes or detergent, and already sensitive skin (eczema for example).

This is an important take-home message: while your garden-variety diaper rash is caused by a baby who sits too long in pee or poop, there can be more serious infections caused by bacteria or yeast. More on this in a minute.

3. Apply a barrier cream or ointment.

First, clean the area well with warm water or a diaper wipe. Allow baby’s bum to dry, then apply a thick barrier to the entire rashy area. Replace with a clean diaper. See above for our top picks for diaper rash cream.

A good piece of advice from the Mayo Clinic web site on diaper rash: “Don’t try to scrub off this protective layer completely at the next diaper change, as that could hurt the skin more. If you do want to remove it, try using mineral oil on a cotton ball.”

4. Air out your baby’s bum.

Don’t rush to put baby back in a diaper if you don’t have to. Let them hang out au naturelle for a bit. Some parents will even use a hair dryer on the coolest setting to dry baby’s skin before re-diapering.

5. Avoid powders.

nobabypowderYes, you may have seen babies get “powdered up” with talcum powder or cornstarch, but that practice is a thing of the past. Doctors warn that babies can inhale the powder, leading to breathing problems and other health concerns. Bottom line: no baby powder.

6. Some “natural” solutions do work.

Corona ointment

Try aloe vera or lanolin (you may have some left over from nursing). One suggestion: Corona Ointment, which is made of lanolin. Dr. Ari Brown, pediatrician and co-author of Baby 411, notes that even though Corona Ointment is made for horses, the ointment’s active ingredient (lanolin) has worked well for her patients. It’s relatively inexpensive at about $1 per ounce, compared to a brand like Lansinoh HPA Lanolin at $4.25 an ounce. Corona’s 14 ounce jar is also handy, compared to lanolin designed for babies that usually comes in one ounce tubes.

7. If over-the-counter remedies don’t work, see your doctor to call in the big guns.

“Not working” means your baby’s rash doesn’t get better after a few days using an over-the-counter cream like the ones we recommend above. Or the diaper rash gets more severe, bleeds or oozes, causes pain when baby pees or poops—or if baby has a fever. You can see what “more severe” diaper rash looks like on our Rash-O-Rama visual library online (look for different diaper rashes in both the infectious and non-contagious slide shows).

When treating diaper rash, the natural assumption is baby’s diaper rash is caused by pee and poop in contact with skin. But if barrier treatments don’t improve the situation, you should check in with your doctor to see if the rash is caused by yeast infection or bacterial infection. Your doc may suggest a prescription medication to clear it up.

The Best Diaper Rash Cream

After road testing 13 diaper rash creams, we crowned Balmex as the best of the bunch.

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