At some point in a parent’s life, more likely than not you’ll be confronted by two red, angry cheeks wondering, “how did baby get a diaper rash?” You change diapers religiously, wash baby’s bottom often and, yet despite your best efforts, your baby has all the telltale signs of diaper rash: inflamed, irritated skin that can appear on his genitals, butt and even thighs. Odds are baby will experience his share of diaper rash flare-ups until around age 2 (when potty training starts), because any time a wet, dirty diaper is touching sensitive skin, it’s a likely recipe for diaper rash. While it’s little comfort to know you’re not the culprit, you can help ease the symptoms and make baby feel better—that’s where diaper rash cream comes in.
Diaper rash cream treats a rash, but can also help prevent it. It acts as a physical barrier between your baby’s skin and the diaper, helping to keep the area dry and less susceptible to rash. The secret weapon in most diaper rash creams is zinc oxide, which can vary in concentration from 10 to 40 percent and has been shown to do wonders in treating diaper rash once you see a flare-up. And while the best diaper rash cream is whichever one you’re happy to use all day, every day, there are a lot of choices and ones that tackle specific needs. We’ve rounded up the best ones to treat every little bummed-out bottom.
Desitin Rapid Relief Cream
Desitin is a bestselling diaper cream for several reasons:
- The creamy formula easily wipes off your own hand. When you’re smearing it on your baby’s bottom and handwashing up to as many as eight to ten times a day, you really appreciate this benefit.
- The lightly scented cream is hypoallergenic and mild, easily making it the best diaper rash cream for newborns.
Buy It: $6 for 4 ounces, Babiesrus.com
Aquaphor Baby Diaper Rash Cream
Chances are you’ve used this trusted skincare brand, which is just as beloved by parents too:
- Mineral oil is its main ingredient, which spreads across your baby’s skin fast, so application is easy.
- For those who prefer something that’s fragrance-free, this is blessedly so, making it the best diaper rash cream for sensitive skin.
Buy It: $6 for 3.5 ounces, Walmart.com
Triple Paste Rash Ointment
In my own days of caring for a newborn, Triple Paste is what I considered the big guns. Here’s why it’s the best diaper rash cream for severe rash:
- The thick paste-like ointment goes on baby’s skin and doesn’t budge, really giving it time to work its magic.
- It’s billed as prescription-strength for a serious rash—and comes with a money-back guarantee, because the company is so sure of its ability to fight diaper rash. (Note, if baby’s rash is due to a yeast infection, an over-the-counter diaper rash ointment won’t be the answer. This type of rash requires a prescription for antifungal ointment, like Nystatin Cream, which your pediatrician can prescribe.)
- While its concentration of zinc oxide is just over 12 percent, the other ingredients, such as white petrolatum and corn starch, also help seal and then heal red, raw-looking skin.
Buy It: $7.50 for 2 ounces, Target.com
Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment
It’s a 2017 Best of Baby winner for best diaper rash cream, loved by editors and parents for its tough yet gentle formulation:
- It’s the seriously powerful, with 40 percent zinc oxide, the highest concentration in diaper rash creams.
- The rest of the ingredients in Burt’s Bees are easily recognizable (and pronouncible), such as shea butter and lavender oil, making it hands-down the best natural diaper rash cream you can feel good about slathering on your baby’s skin.
- Plus, it smells heavenly without any hint of that medicinal scent sometimes found in other diaper rash ointments.
Buy It: $9 for 3 ounces, Babiesrus.com
Balmex Diaper Rash Cream
Fans of this heritage brand buy it by the tub. Here’s what they say about this best diaper rash cream:
- It’s literally beloved by generations, with one five-star mom reviewer saying, “I used this 17 years ago on my youngest son and it worked so well that I never looked back. Recently my oldest son had a baby and he told me she had a bad diaper rash that wouldn’t go away. I ordered him this tub and he texted me that it was the only thing that worked.”
- Looking to give baby instant relief? The cooling effect of the cream provides the best immediate relief for a sore bottom. Ahhh!
Buy It: $14.70 for a 16-ounce jar, Amazon.com
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
If the cheeky name sounds like it was born in the bayou, it was! Nearly 40 years after a Louisiana pharmacist and father of four invented Boudreaux’s, it’s still gets hundreds of five-star reviews, with thankful parents touting its many benefits:
- With 16 percent zinc oxide, the original formula is perfect for daily use. But for stubborn, angry rashes, the maximum-strength version kicks butt with 40 percent zinc oxide.
- True to its name, “It’s more like a paste than a lotion, so a little bit goes a long way,” says one parent.
Buy It: $9.60 for 4 ounces, Amazon.com
Babyganics Diaper Rash Cream
If you’re in search of a brand that uses plant-based ingredients, Babyganics could be the best diaper rash cream for you:
- Parents who are fans of the Aveeno diaper rash cream (which is no longer available last we checked), there’s good news: Babyganics has a comparable all-natural cream that’s easily found in drugstores, baby stores and big-box stores.
- In addition to zinc oxide, natural ingredients like aloe and vitamin E make it soothing as well as protective.
Buy It: $9 for 4 ounces, Buybuybaby.com
A+D Original Ointment
Chances are your grandma may have used it and so has your mom. A+D is another diaper rash cream that’s been around—in this case, more than 60 years, but it works a little bit differently than the others:
- The original formula uses lanolin (the same stuff found in many nipple creams) and petrolatum as the active ingredients to treat a diaper rash. (Though A+D does make a second cream that uses zinc oxide, if you prefer.)
- No surprise, it also includes vitamins A and D for their skin-healing benefits.
- It, too, is sold in a tub, which one mom says is “the most cost-effective way to keep my daughter’s skin healthy.”
Buy It: $15 for 16 ounces, CVS.com
Honest Diaper Rash Cream
Having diapers delivered right to your door rocks. Throwing in some diaper rash cream while you’re at it just makes sense:
- The Honest Company’s formula works with zinc oxide, plus moisturizing ingredients including organic shea butter and coconut oils.
- It’s free of almost any ingredient that would alarm an eco-minded parent: There’s no fragrance, phthalates, parabens, dyes, silicones or allergens.
Buy It: $10 for 2.5 ounces, Honest.com
Mustela Diaper Rash Cream 1 2 3
This European brand prides itself in going above and beyond with research and development, resulting in a highly evolved diaper rash cream:
- It works with zinc oxide and also caprylyl glycol, which acts as a moisturizer.
- Mustela touts its diaper cream for newborns; it’s been shown to be safe even on infants just out of neonatal care.
Buy It: $9 for 3.8 ounces, Mustelausa.com
California Baby Calming Diaper Rash Ointment
The mom behind this brand is a little (okay, a lot) obsessive about ingredients. You might love it because:
- It heals with vitamin-grade zinc, ultra-purified lanolin and coconut oil. It also includes California Baby’s proprietary blend of essential oils that have a soothing lavender smell.
- The company is super eco: The factory in California runs on solar energy, packaging is minimal and many of the ingredients are organic.
Buy It: $11.80 for 2.9 ounces, Californiababy.com
Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream
This nearly 100-year-old European company uses its signature ingredient—calendula—in their creamy diaper rash cream too:
- It also includes zinc oxide, plus almond oil, fair-trade beeswax (instead of mineral oil) and sesame seed oil to soothe sensitive, dry skin.
- Moms who use it swear by it, calling it a “miracle cream.” And the smell is more like a high-end hand lotion than one you’re slathering on a baby’s bottom.
Buy It: $14 for 2.8 ounces, Target.com
Angel Baby Bottom Balm
If you’re a fan of cloth diapers, we recommend this best diaper rash cream for cloth diapers from a mom-invented brand:
- It’s the rare diaper rash protectant specifically recommended for cloth diapers; it won’t stain them or trap smells.
- This rash fighter doesn’t use zinc oxide; it’s powered by certified-organic calendula, olive oil and other natural, vegan and gluten-free ingredients.
- A little bit at every diaper change helps prevent rashes, but it turns out parents also use this wonder balm on everything from cuts to scrapes—it heals all kinds of skin irritations.
Buy It: $8.30 for 2 ounces, Amazon.com
Published September 2017