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Diaper rash is a painful rash that can bother babies and worry caregivers. There are, however, various creams that may help alleviate symptoms.

The warm, moist environment inside a baby’s diaper, friction from movement, and fungus and bacteria on the skin can all lead to diaper rash, which health experts also call diaper dermatitis.

Diaper rash affects an estimated 50–65% of babies. Diaper rash creams can reduce the contributing factors by creating a barrier between the skin and moisture and by lessening friction.

A quick look at the best diaper rash creams:

Diaper rash cream both treats diaper rash and prevents further episodes. It provides a barrier between a baby’s skin and the diaper, urine, and feces that can cause diaper rash or worsen it.

It also prevents overhydration of the skin. Overhydration can cause the breakdown of the skin’s protective barriers, potentially leading to:

A diaper rash cream can coat and penetrate the skin, preventing moisture and irritants from further affecting the skin. It may also help the skin heal.

The friction between diapers and a baby’s skin is an additional factor in the development of diaper rash. Diaper rash cream can help prevent irritation caused by friction.

What are the dangers of untreated diaper rashes?

Without treatment, diaper rash increases the risk of additional fungal or bacterial infection.

Another potential concern is allergic contact dermatitis. However, some ingredients in diaper rash creams may also cause contact dermatitis in some cases.

It is advisable to consult a doctor about diaper rash creams that are less likely to lead to contact dermatitis.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products that clearly list all ingredients.
  • Safety: MNT chooses products that contain ingredients safe for topical use.
  • Reputable: MNT selects products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best budget cream: Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Maximum Strength

  • Price: around $5.45 on Amazon
  • Size: 2 ounces (oz)
  • Fragrance-free: no
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Pro: High strength, low cost.
  • Con: Negative reviews critique the product’s odor.

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Maximum Strength version contains 40% zinc oxide, castor seed oil, mineral oil, and petrolatum.

It is free from talc, preservatives, dyes, and parabens.

The paste is very thick. The manufacturer recommends it for treating moderate to severe diaper rash.

This product is lower cost than many similar diaper rash creams. A 4 oz option and multipacks are also available for purchase.

Best nontoxic: Honest Diaper Rash Cream

  • Price: around $10.99 on Amazon
  • Size: 2.5 oz
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Free from a range of potential irritants
  • Con: Negative customer reviews mention gritty texture.

The Honest Company cream is free from dyes, synthetic fragrances, silicons, petrolatum, mineral oil, and lanolin.

It contains 14% non-nano zinc oxide, which will sit on the skin without penetrating it. It also contains oils that repel moisture, such as jojoba, shea, coconut, and tamanu.

This cream has received certification from a product-testing company NSF International for its organic ingredients.

The cream is for moderately irritated diaper rash. If after using the cream for 7 days the diaper rash is not improving, people should switch to a more potent product.

This product was selected as the best organic diaper cream because earning NSF International certification requires meeting the organization’s strict standards and guidelines, plus passing multiple inspections. Caregivers may prefer to entrust their babies’ welfare to a product with these credentials.

Best spray: Boogie Bottoms No-Rub Diaper Rash Spray

  • Price: $9.99-15.99
  • Amount: 1.7 oz
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Easy to use, travel-friendly.
  • Con: Negative reviews mention the spray nozzle breaking.

This diaper rash spray is a no-contact alternative to traditional creams.

The active ingredient is 25% zinc oxide and 20% dimethicone. It does not contain fragrances, dyes, or parabens.

The product has a lock to help prevent infants from accidentally spraying it. Users must make sure to engage the lock between changing diapers.

This product was selected as the best diaper rash spray because some people find sprays easier to use and travel-friendly.

  • Price: around $12.30 on Amazon
  • Size: 16 oz
  • Fragrance-free: No
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Multipurpose, preventative.
  • Con: Negative customer reviews critique the product’s odor.

This A+D ointment contains 15.5% lanolin, 53.4% petrolatum, vitamin A and D, which helps prevent skin chafing and repels water.

The formulation is free from dyes, parabens, and phthalates.

The manufacturer claims that people can apply this ointment at every diaper change to prevent diaper rash and temporarily relieve dry or chapped skin.

The ingredients may stain cloth diapers. Some reviewers suggest using a protective liner between the cloth diaper and the ointment when applying.

This product was selected as the best ointment because it may help prevent diaper rash with consistent use while managing skin complaints.

Best high strength: Desitin Maximum Strength Baby Diaper Rash Cream

  • Price: around $10 on Amazon
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Fragrance-free: No
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Five-star rating based on over 24,000 reviews on Amazon.
  • Con: Negative reviews critique the product’s odor.

Apart from 40% zinc oxide, this cream contains petrolatum, lanolin, talc, and cod liver oil.

This product contains the highest level of zinc oxide possible without a prescription, making it high-strength and suitable for severe diaper rash.

The manufacturer recommends applying it at each diaper change and before bedtime.

This product is hypoallergenic because it does not contain common allergens. It is free from parabens and phthalates.

Best for sensitive skin: Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Fragrance Free Diaper Cream

  • Price: around $11.99 on Amazon
  • Size: 3 oz
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Hypoallergenic formula, vegan-friendly.
  • Con: Negative customer reviews mention gritty texture.

This product is free from parabens, fragrances, phthalates, sulfates, preservatives, dairy, soy, peanuts, gluten, and more potential irritants.

Ingredients include non-colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and organic calendula. The formula contains 25% non-nano zinc oxide.

This product is suitable for use with cloth diapers.

This product may best suit sensitive skin because the formula is free from common irritants and uses gentle ingredients.

Best for eczema: CeraVe Healing Ointment for Baby

  • Price: around $10.99 on Amazon
  • Size: 3 oz
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Free from a range of potential irritants
  • Con: Not suitable for moderate to severe diaper rash.

CeraVe claims that this ointment can treat both eczema and diaper rash. The National Eczema Association awarded this product its Seal of Acceptance.

Ingredients include ceramides, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and petroleum jelly. These may help create a barrier between moisture and the skin.

The ointment does not contain lanolin, parabens, phthalates, dyes, gluten, sulfates, or fragrances, which may irritate the skin. It is also noncomedogenic, meaning it will not trigger baby acne.

This multi-use ointment can help treat and prevent milder cases of diaper rash, but it may not help those with moderate diaper rashes.

This product may best suit infants with eczema because it contains ingredients to support the skin barrier, such as petroleum jelly, and ingredients to seal in moisture, such as hyaluronic acid.

Best organic: Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm

  • Price: around $11.99 on Amazon
  • Size: 2 oz
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Certified organic and cruelty-free.
  • Con: Negative reviews critique the product’s odor.

This diaper rash balm is 100% certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Ingredients include organic lavender and tea tree essential oils, St. John’s wort, calendula, and beeswax.

The balm does not contain zinc, lanolin, petroleum, parabens, GMOs, and artificial fragrances.

The manufacturer states that this product is multipurpose and safe for use by all ages. Other sizes are also available for purchase.

This product was selected as the best organic balm for diaper rash because it contains certified organic ingredients.

Best multipurpose: Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Ointment

  • Price: $14.99 from Amazon
  • Size: 3.75 oz.
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Hypoallergenic, multipurpose.
  • Con: Contains lanolin, which may not be suitable for all babies.

Care providers for infants use this product to treat and prevent diaper rash. Some users also report finding it helpful as a barrier.

This product may help prevent and manage:

Ingredients include amber petroleum jelly, lanolin, vitamin E, and balsam of Peru extracts.

The manufacturer states that this product is safe for use with cloth diapers.

This product was selected as the most versatile diaper rash ointment because it may help with various skin concerns, such as cradle cap, sunburn, and diaper rash.

Best non-petroleum: BabyGanics Diaper Rash Cream

  • Price: around $10.99 on Amazon
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Hypoallergenic, cruelty-free.
  • Con: Negative reviews mention adverse reactions.

This diaper rash cream does not contain petroleum and is free from many common allergens or irritants.

It does not contain parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, petroleum, artificial fragrances, or dyes.

Ingredients include:

  • zinc oxide (15%)
  • aloe
  • jojoba
  • calendula
  • vitamins A, D, and E

The manufacturers state that this product can help treat and prevent diaper rash.

Best preventative: Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment

  • Price: around $12 on Amazon
  • Size: 14 oz
  • Fragrance-free: No
  • Paraben-free: No
  • Pro: Multipurpose.
  • Con: Not suitable for treating active diaper rash.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is safe for baby’s skin. It prevents diaper rash and can also help with other types of skin irritation, including:

The clear ointment contains petrolatum, mineral oil, glycerin, and lanolin.

This product is useful for helping prevent diaper rash, alongside treating minor skin issues such as drooling or teething rashes. Aquaphor also sells diaper rash products for different severities, available here.

Best cream for dry skin: Cetaphil Baby Soothe and Protect Cream

  • Price: Around $8.99 from Amazon
  • Size: 6 oz.
  • Fragrance-free: Yes
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Suitable for sensitive skin and a range of conditions.
  • Con: Not specifically for treating or preventing diaper rash.

This product provides quick relief for babies with sensitive, dry skin.

It is not specifically for treating diaper rash. However, it may help alleviate similar concerns and protect sensitive skin from diaper rash.

It is safe to apply across a baby’s body.

The formula is hypoallergenic. It contains allantoin (aloe) and organic calendula. It is free from mineral oil, fragrance, and parabens.

This product was selected as the best cream for dry skin because it can help treat a range of dry skin complaints in infants.

Best for travel: GroVia All Natural Magic Stick Baby Diaper Balm

  • Price: $15.95
  • Size: 0.75 oz. net weight
  • Fragrance-free: No
  • Paraben-free: Yes
  • Pro: Easy application.
  • Con: Higher cost than other options.

This stick balm from GroVia is an alternative to cream, ointments, and pastes. The stick form is easy to use and travel-friendly.

The balm is best for minor skin irritation and as a skin protectant.

Ingredients include grape seed oil, beeswax, lavender essential oil, jojoba seed oil, and shea butter.

This product was selected as the best balm stick because some people find it easier to apply diaper rash products with a stick. This may help prevent mess and allow people to apply the product while on the go.

The manufacturer notes that if someone has more than one infant requiring the balm, each will need their own stick. This will prevent fungi and bacteria from spreading.

The table below compares the diaper rash creams in this article on key points:

PriceAmount
(oz)
FormRash severity
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste$5.452PasteModerate-
severe
Honest$10.992.5CreamModerate
Boogie Bottoms$9.99-15.991.7SprayNot stated
A + D Original$12.3016OintmentPreventative
Desitin$104CreamSevere
Babo Botanicals$11.99 3CreamNot stated
CeraVe$10.993OintmentMild
Earth Mama$11.992BalmNot stated
Grandma El’s$14.993.75OintmentMild-
severe
BabyGanics$10.994CreamNot stated
Aquaphor Baby$1214OintmentPreventative
Cetaphil Baby$8.996CreamNot stated
GroVia Magic Stick$15.950.75Blam stickMild

The general recommendation for diaper rash creams is to apply a thin layer of a barrier cream at least twice a week in the diaper area.

Avoid completely blocking the skin, and ensure the cream does not get trapped in the folds of a baby’s skin.

Diaper rashes typically improve with timely care and ongoing optimal hygiene.

However, if symptoms do not improve after 2–3 days of home care with a diaper rash cream, a person should consult a doctor. A healthcare professional can identify the condition and, if necessary, prescribe further treatment.

Below, we answer some of the most common questions about diaper rash cream:

What is the most effective diaper rash cream?

For a diaper rash cream to be effective, it should contain ingredients that are clinically proven to help, such as:

  • zinc gluconate
  • taurine
  • panthenol
  • zinc oxide

What heals diaper rash fastest?

Research shows that the fastest remedies for diaper rash can cause greater problems in the long run.

Corticosteroids and antimicrobials may act quickly on symptoms. However, if a person uses them too much or in situations where they are not appropriate, they can damage the skin and cause bacterial resistance.

Practices that research has shown to be effective include:

  • using a diaper rash cream containing zinc gluconate, taurine, panthenol, and zinc oxide
  • switching to super-absorbent diapers
  • instating periods of diaper-free time to give a baby’s skin a chance to air-dry

Research shows that barrier emollients may help prevent and treat diaper rash. However, people should only use diaper rash creams alongside safe skin care practices to protect a baby’s skin barrier.

What can you do for severe diaper rash?

The following actions can help address a severe diaper rash:

  • Contact a doctor to ensure the rash is not due to allergic contact dermatitis or bacterial or fungal infection.
  • Use only nonallergenic diaper rash creams.
  • Avoid products containing irritants, such as fragrances and preservatives, ande more hazardous ingredients, such as boric acid, camphor, phenol, benzocaine, and salicylates.
  • A doctor may prescribe low to moderate-level corticosteroids for a short time.
  • If a doctor diagnoses a fungal or bacterial infection, they may prescribe oral or topical medications.

Should you use diaper cream every time?

Some experts recommend using diaper cream at least twice a week. However, people should follow the instructions of the specific product they are using and any personalized medical advice they receive.

People caring for infants should consult their healthcare providers to see what works best for their situation. People can always change their practices to meet the emerging needs of their babies.

Do you need to wipe off diaper rash cream?

Some diaper rash creams do not need to be washed off, while others do. Check the product instructions and ingredients carefully before use.

Diaper rash creams are useful for treating and preventing diaper rash. Various options are available online, including creams for sensitive skin, protective ointments, sprays, and potent pastes.

Regular skin cleansing with gentle soap and water, changing diapers frequently, and allowing a baby to spend some time without a diaper on may also help treat the condition.

People can help the baby overcome diaper rash with regular applications of diaper rash cream to clean skin, alongside other safe skin practices.

If the diaper rash worsens or does not improve with treatment, a person should consider seeking guidance from a doctor.