How to Choose the Best Diaper Rash Ointments for Your Baby

" Choosing diaper rash ointments is simpler then it looks.  Which one is right? What one will work the best? What kind of diaper rash does my child have? We’ve got some terrific suggestions for you to try, based on what other parents have found works really well. Rest assured that diaper rash is common and not a reflection of your skill as a parent with 50% of babies suffering from diaper rash once every two months. "   

Diaper Rash Ointments: Overview

There are so many diaper rash ointments on the market these days it’s hard to know what to choose. You hate to spend good money on something you will not use or that does not work – but – where do you start? Often the best place to begin your search for an ointment or cream that works is by searching on line and finding out what others have used.

diaper rash picture
Diaper Rash Picture also referred to as Diaper Dermatitis
Source: Principles of Pediatric Dermatology

Keep in mind that just because one cream or ointment worked for some people, it does not always mean that it will work for you. Your baby’s sensitive skin is unique, and you may go through several types of creams and ointments before you find one that works. We have some great ideas for you listed below.

Important: If your baby has fever or is lethargic, if the rash is getting progressively worse each day, if the rash causes pain (called cellulites),  if yellow or puss filled pustules form,  or if it does not begin to heal in 2 to 3 days, see your Doctor.

What Causes Diaper Rash and How to Protect Your Babys Skin Video

Causes and Symptoms of Diaper Rash

Common diaper rash symptoms include red pimples and red skin that feels rough to the touch. Pimples can become infected and develop whiteheads or raw spots, which requires treatment by a Doctor and prescription cream.

Babies that are older can develop the following types of diaper rash caused by urine coming in contact with the skin:

  • Seborrheic Diaper Rash: This rash looks more severe in skin folds. 
  • Seborrheic Diaper Rash with fever and puss filled pimples: This is a seborrheic diaper rash with the staphylococcus germ.   See a Doctor if this occurs for a prescription product and antibiotic
  • Yeast diaper rash: Bright red or pink spots surrounded by pimples in specific areas or joined together.  If you don't see improvement, you may need a prescription from a doctor which contains ingredients such as  nystatin, miconazole micatin or clotrimazole.
Other causes include sweating or chaffing and rubbing. allergic reaction to a type of diaper or an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the diaper rash ointment.

The bottom line is that diaper rash occurs when there is too much moisture in the diaper area.  The key is to keep the area dry.  All that may be needed is an extended period of time without wearing a diaper, which could clear a mild rash with no other treatment needed.  It's a good idea to wait a few moments in between diaper changes to make sure that the area is dry.  

Tip: Try a super-absorbent diaper to pull moisture from baby's skin and more frequent diaper changes to keep the area dry.  

How to Choose Diaper Rash Ointments:

In general, to protect baby's bottom, diaper rash ointments should contain zinc oxide and/or petroleum jelly in a thick cream.   They do not have to be reapplied with each changing if the cream is still in place (follow the manufacturers direction). Be gentle when applying to avoid causing more irritation.

Other ingredients are based on the preferences of the parent and what proves to be effective on your baby and that do not cause any type of allergic skin reaction. 

Tip: Try not to use powder based products as this can trap moisture.

For instance, ask yourself some of these questions to help you focus your search:

  • Do you like a nicely scented cream, lotion or balm?
  • Can your child handle scented products?
  • Do you prefer creams over gels?
  • Balms over lotion?
  • Lotion over cream?
  • Do you want a product that does not stain?
  • Do you want a product that is easy to use and easy to apply?

Personal experience is a gold mine when it comes to recommending a diaper rash ointment, so we are offering you our best choices based on our own trials of diaper rash ointments and from our own research using available research.

Tip: A soothing oatmeal baby bath can help with a painful diaper rash.

We suspect there will be at least one cream or lotion that you and your baby will love. As an added bonus, you can even make your own if you wish.  We have information on that at the end of this list.

Diaper Rash Ointments: Suggested Brands

That said, there are some old standbys that have proven effective over the years.

Suggested diaper rash ointments/moisture barrier creams include:

  • Desitin: This is the best selling and most recommended diaper rash ointment.   Creamy Zinc-oxide formulation is just what is needed for most babies.
  • A+D Ointment: Uses a combination of zinc-oxide and petroleum jelly in an ointment that is highly regarded and effective.
  • Lansinoh: pure lanolin cream helps sore bottoms.  It starts as a white cream, but becomes clear as you rub it in.
Natural Products:

These chemical free choices are ideal for baby rashes since irritated and cracked skin is more likely to absorb any chemicals.

  • Diaper Distress Cream: A homeopathic cream for parents that prefer natural products.  Contains ingredients such as Zinc cream in addition to specially selected herbs known for skin support.  It's the perfect way to avoid harmful chemicals as it doesn't contain any.

    diaper rash ointments
    Diaper Rash Ointments such as this one start with zinc cream as a base, the most recommended diaper rash ingredient, combined with selected natural herbs to support healing.
  • Nature's Baby Organic Diaper Cream – free of parabens and gluten, organic ingredients, like sunflower oil and cocoa butter, offer a soothing remedy for diaper rash.
  • Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Remedy – clean smell and softens in your hands. Just skim off a small amount and apply. Slightly oily to keep moisture away from baby’s butt.

Home Remedies for Diaper Rash

The simplest home remedy for diaper rash is simply to use a washcloth soaked in warm water (or squirt bottle if the baby's skin is too sensitive). Dab at the area and keep the diaper off of the baby until the baby's bottom dries.  Use a hair dryer set on cool to dry the skin if necessary.

As an alternative, you can make your own cream in the palm of your hand with zinc oxide, white petroleum jelly, acid mantle (or Lansinoh – lanolin) and aluminum acetate (Burrow’s solution) .

We hope that you find which of these diaper rash ointments work best for you.

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American Academy of Pediatrics


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