How we picked a winner
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 too sticky. Scent and consistency also played a role in our rankings—the less scent, the better.
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 Diaper Rash Cream!
1. Don’t let your baby sit in a dirty or wet 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.
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.
Yes, you may have seen babies get “powdered up” with talcum or corn starch powder, 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.
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 and 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. These are red flags—it’s time to call your doc.
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.
BabyBargains.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.