Does your baby have warm irritated skin and raised red bumps along their diaper area? They're probably suffering from diaper rash. Before you blame your newbie parenting skills, know that diaper rash is universal. It's often caused by pee, poop, or the diaper itself rubbing against your baby's bare bottom. Thankfully, diaper rash creams can help. Here's your guide to choosing the best one for your little one.
How to Use Diaper Rash Cream
Preventing Diaper Rash: To prevent diaper rash, apply a thick layer of diaper rash cream to dried skin during each change. This will form a barrier between your baby's skin and their diaper contents. "Think of diaper paste as a shield that sits between the skin and the contents of the diaper. If the paste isn't soiled, no need to rub it off during changes; simply add more paste on top," says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Beyond that, change diapers promptly after your baby poops, and about every three to four hours otherwise. Make sure to dry your baby's bottom completely after each diaper change.
RELATED: How to Prevent Diaper Rash
Treating Diaper Rash: Sometimes, despite your best intentions, your baby will get a diaper rash anyway. Diaper rash creams can help soothe the area, especially when applied at the first signs of irritation. Clean your baby's rash with a gentle cleanser instead of wipes—or at least choose wipes without alcohol or fragrance—to prevent further irritating the rash, says the AAP. If your baby's rash seems uncomfortable, give them a bath and let them play naked, without a diaper, to help clear it up.
If a rash reddens and worsens within a day, or if spots break out around it, see a pediatrician. They might recommend an anti-fungal cream, prescription antibiotic, or hydrocortisone ointment (but don't use any of these items without a doctor's approval) .
Choosing the Best Diaper Rash Cream for Babies
Looking for the best baby diaper rash cream? "The brand is less important than the ingredients," says AAP. Most diaper rash creams contain a base of petroleum jelly or zinc oxide, both of which provide a protective barrier against irritation. Other common ingredients include lanolin, calendula, and aloe vera. The AAP advises against using diaper rash creams with fragrance because they can irritate sensitive skin.
To help keep your little one's bottom in tip-top shape, consider one of these seven protective creams that take the sting out of painful diaper rashes.
1. Boudreaux's Butt Paste Maximum Strength Diaper Rash Ointment
We'd buy this product for the name alone! Developed by a pharmacist and father of four, it effectively prevents diaper rash by creating a barrier on the skin. It also provides fast-acting relief from existing rashes without preservatives, dyes, parabens, and talc. The original formula has 16 percent zinc oxide, but if your baby has stubborn diaper rash, consider buying the Maximum Strength version with 40 percent zinc oxide.
2. Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm
Containing organic beeswax and calendula, this naturally formulated balm is gentle on little ones' tender skin, and it comes in a generously sized tub for easy access. It's a great choice for babies who wear cloth diapers—and you can also use it on cuts, scrapes, and burns!
3. Desitin Maximum Strength Original Zinc Oxide Paste
Formulated with the maximum amount of zinc oxide, this diaper rash cream can soothe severe irritation. Many parents use it for overnight relief from warmth, pain, and redness. Looking for a gentler option? The top-rated Desitin Daily Defense Baby Diaper Rash Cream provides everyday preventative treatment without allergens or fragrance.
4. Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin
Put the kibosh on diaper rashes with this gentle and fragrance-free petroleum jelly formula. When your baby gradates from diapers, you'll still reach for this multi-purpose product to treat scratches, dry skin, chapped cheeks, and more.
5. Honest Diaper Rash Cream
Plant- and mineral-based ingredients like organic shea butter and coconut oil help moisturize tender tushies. Zinc oxide also forms a barrier to protect against diaper rash. Eco-conscious parents can rest easy knowing this cream doesn't contain any harmful additives!
6. Triple Paste Diaper Rash Cream
Apply a layer of this thick moisturizing protectant to chafed skin and bid bye-bye to diaper rash. The fast-acting zinc oxide formula is made without fragrance or allergens. Diaper rash doesn't stand a chance!
7. Weleda Calendula Diaper Cream
German midwives helped develop this best diaper rash cream, which wards off dampness with zinc oxide. Nourishing ingredients like calendula, chamomile extracts, sweet almond, and sesame oil reduce redness and irritation.