I have to admit something to my fellow moms: I knew that motherhood would involve baby bums, but I didn’t actually realize how much motherhood would involve baby bums, you know what I mean?
But once I strolled the Target aisles building my baby registry, I soon realized that my little one’s bum was going to get a lot of attention. Between diapering multiple times a day to bath time, that sweet little bottom has become a big part of caring for my baby. And, with its constant care, I have become quite the pro at learning what does and doesn’t work.
Now, every baby is different, but the one commonality is that baby skin is sensitive. Especially in the bottom zone. So, bottom’s up! Here’s a peek at the best diaper rash creams and specialized ointments for your little one.
What is Diaper Rash Cream?
While we use lotion to moisturize and lubricate healthy skin, diaper rash cream is a thicker, more powerful ointment aimed at healing irritated skin. Sometimes it is a white paste sold in a jar or tube, other times it is a clear or yellow solution. Diaper rash cream offers a barrier and healing properties between a baby’s bottom, their excrement, and their diaper covering.
When choosing a diaper rash cream be mindful of each option’s ingredients. Some are quite potent and only advisable for a short period of use, others are more of a daily option. Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in most diaper rash creams. It is insoluble in water and thus you may appreciate a booty brush or baby butt spatula so you don’t have to live with a layer of cream on your hands post application. Another note: if you use cloth diapers, most can’t be used with diaper rash cream, so check with your brand before applying.
Truly Mama’s Picks for the Best Diaper Rash Creams
The Best Starter Diaper Cream
If your hope is to have a cream on hand that can simultaneously prevent, soothe, and treat a diaper rash, Aquaphor 3-in-1 Diaper Rash Cream is a great pick. It’s the ideal starter cream and definitely one to have on hand for the first sign of irritation in your baby. With 15% zinc oxide, this cream creates a protective barrier for your baby’s bottom so it can heal naturally. With no preservatives or fragrance, the Aquaphor formula was definitely made with sensitive little one’s in mind. Although, if mineral oil is an ingredient you choose to avoid, skip this option.
- Sold at most stores
- Safe for all ages
“Smooth consistency and you don’t need a lot for good coverage. Healed my one month old baby’s diaper sore in about a day. Gets good rating from EWG too. I’ll keep buying this rather than the more expensive “natural” brand I had used with my previous kids”. –BB, Target review
The Best Allergy-Aware Diaper Rash Cream
Offering therapeutic relief, California Baby Diaper Rash Cream is the creme de la creme of diaper rash creams. With vitamin-grade zinc oxide, it will both prevent and treat diaper rash, but what I appreciate most is that it is ultra-concentrated—so it’s a water-free formula that will last and last since you don’t have to use much at each application. Perhaps best of all, California Baby Diaper Rash Cream has been fully allergy tested. It contains no gluten, soy, oats, dairy, or nuts (except coconut). In partnership with this cream, consider adding the California Baby Diaper Area Wash Spray.
- USA made
- 100% bio-based ingredients
“This is THE BEST diaper cream! I received a lot of different diaper creams for my baby shower, so I used quite a few. I thought Desitin was the cream for me. It worked to relieve my daughter’s diaper rash, but the rash always seemed to return after several days and it took awhile to relieve the rash. I decided to try out California Baby because I previously used the body lotion myself while pregnant. This cream smells great, doesn’t dry out my fingers, and best of all my daughter hasn’t had a rash since I’ve been using it for weeks now. The speed at which it relieves the rash and redness is unbelievable! Definitely worth the price.” –Becky, Amazon review
The Best High Zinc Diaper Cream
A round up of diaper creams wouldn’t be complete without the age-old, miracle worker, Desitin. It’s classic cream that does the job with potent accuracy. When you’re battling a tough rash, it’s that concentration of zinc oxide that becomes a powerful player in healing. Desitin Maximum Strength Diaper Rash Paste does just that by securing a barrier from wetness while soothing damaged skin. As you browse Desitin offerings, be mindful of the few varieties. It’s the “purple one” that parents claim is the best in curing even the most tenacious diaper rashes.
- 40% zinc oxide
- Available everywhere
- Can be used on all ages
“My son doesn’t get diaper rashes often, however when he does, they’re pretty bad. This product clears it up after one or two applications. It’s always my go-to!”-Britney, Target review
The Best Diaper Cream for Cloth Diapers
In order to treat diaper rash when using cloth diapers all you need to do is find a cloth diaper safe formula, one like Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm.
- Safe for cloth diapers
- 100% USDA certified organic
In addition to being safe for cloth diapers, Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm is 100% USDA Certified Organic. It’s made with herbs and oils proven to comfort and soothe irritated skin. With no petroleum, parabens, or artificial fragrance, this all-natural balm is a beautiful, gentle ointment that will surely heal bums and beyond.
“We use [this] on my baby son’s bottom because I cloth diaper. I will never use another bottom cream again! This is natural, safe, healthy… what more could you want for your baby? My cloth diapers have had no problems and we’ve been using it for going on 5 months now. The natural smell of this product was strong at first but my husband and I both got used to it. My son loves having this smeared across his bottom… stops any chaffing problems immediately. Highly recommend for cloth diapering families!” –MommaBear15, Amazon review
The Best Frequent Use Diaper Cream
When you need a tub o’ ointment, Triple Paste is king. Recommended by pediatricians and dermatologists, Triple Paste Medicated Ointment comes in a 16-ounce tub that will not only handle an intense rash, but is also approved for use at each diaper change for prevention. It’s also available in on-the-go travel size tubes as well so you’ll never be without the cream that keeps your baby’s bottom protected.
- Approved for daily use
- Multiple sizes
- Preventive and healing
“This is my ‘go to diaper cream. It works beautifully and glides over my sweet baby’s heinie better than any other product I’ve tried. My little angel might have to settle for community college or technical school since their 529 contributions have been diverted to supply their diaper cream habit, but a rash-free rump is worth more than an art history degree any day”. –A.S., Amazon review
The Most Cost-Effective Diaper Cream
As I research and test out products for my upcoming little one, I return to Hello Bello often. Their products are top notch and always budget-friendly. The Soothing Diaper Rash Cream is no exception and I love that their claim to fame is making “sad butts happy again.” I mean, isn’t that the goal of quality cream? With 40% non-nano zinc oxide and other healing ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter you can rest assured that once you spread on this thick cream it’s going to soothe and treat all that ails your baby’s bum.
Hello Bello could take many categories in this diaper rash cream round up, but since it’s one of the budget-friendly we will give it this place of honor. Don’t underestimate it though—the Soothing Diaper Rash Cream from Hello Bello is hypoallergenic, vegan, and made with non-nano zinc oxide (this is a fancy phrase for meaning it sits on the top of the skin and doesn’t penetrate it).
- Can be bundled with other products for a discount
- 40% non-nano zinc oxide
- Healing ingredients
“This is the best diaper rash cream! I love that I feel good about using it on my daughter because it has safe ingredients, and it really works! It’s really affordable too and lasts many uses! My sister recommended it to me after using it for her two boys, and we both love it!” –Mary, Walmart review
The Best Multi-Purpose Diaper Cream
If you have multiple children it’s always wise to have a balm on hand that can treat more than one boo boo. Motherlove Everyday Baby Balm is just that, providing an option for diaper rash, scrapes, bruises, and everything in between.
Motherlove has long been known as a trusted creator of family focused products, so it comes as no surprise that their Everyday Baby Balm, which is full of herb infused apricot oil, thickened with beeswax and shea butter, is a natural healer. This product contains USDA Certified Organic herbs, is Non-GMO Project Verified, & Certified Cruelty Free by Leaping Bunny. Bonus: it’s also a woman-owned company.
- Calming scent
“This is by far the best ointment I’ve ever used. I teach toddlers and have changed a lot of butts. Every parent sends in a different cream but I have never been this impressed. I used this for my son and his redness clears up in about a day! I use it with an application spatula.” –Charli, Amazon Review
Other Ways to Heal a Diaper Rash
The best way to heal diaper rash is to prevent it. Easier said than done though, right? If you are reading this while you are pregnant or shortly after clearing up a bout of diaper rash, keep in mind the importance of keeping your baby’s bottom skin clean and dry. Change those diapers often, as soon as they are wet or dirty.
In addition, thoroughly wipe at diaper changes (even in those chubby creases and rolls!), bathe frequently (but not too frequently), and provide diaper-free time for ample air circulation. Yes, this can create a mess, but a little puddle here or there is easily cleaned up and the benefits of an air-dried bottom are definitely worth it. Even when you are battling a diaper rash, time with no diaper on will definitely speed healing efforts.
If you are dealing with reoccurring diaper rash with your baby, it may be a good idea to chart what products you are using to see if something in your current line up might be a trigger. This can range from laundry detergent, disposable or cloth diapers, lotions, bath soaps, and creams. Have you recently changed something? Introduced something new? Sometimes, teething may also cause a diaper rash, or lead to loose stools that can irritate your baby’s bottom and lead to a rash.
And anytime your baby’s diaper rash is persistent or reoccurring, you’ll want to have it checked by a doctor to ensure it’s not something else, like a yeast infection which generally can’t be cleared up with just diaper cream alone. Broken skin, any oozing or bleeding, lots of crying, or redness that appears to have boils or pimples need immediate attention. After an assessment, your doctor will be able to offer next steps based on exactly what is going on with your little one’s bottom troubles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best ointment for severe diaper rash?
If you suspect your baby has a severe case of diaper rash and a variety of creams and ointments have not helped clear it up it is probably time to visit your pediatrician. In some situations, what might appear as diaper rash might actually be a fungal infection (like yeast) or a severe enough case that a mild steroid cream is in order.
Are baths good for diaper rash?
They may irritate sensitive skin by drying it out. Instead of more bathing, try giving your baby some diaper-free time to allow air circulation and hurting skin to heal. You may just want to make sure you put your baby down on something you can wash, like a machine-washable baby play mat.
Is coconut oil good for diaper rash?
Coconut oil can be used preventatively and as a treatment for diaper rash, but be sure to check with your pediatrician before applying and discontinue use immediately if you notice any increased irritation.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…