For this hands-on review, we pulled together 13 of the top rated baby diaper rash creams on the market and put them to the test. Along with 11 parents and babies, we tested out diaper rash creams, ointments, pastes, and powders, and evaluated them for effectiveness, sensitivity, odor, ease of use, and price.
We learned a couple important things about diaper rash creams. First, there is no one perfect diaper rash cream for every baby and every bum. Second, different types of baby rash creams, ointments, balms, pastes, and powders are better for different stages of diaper rash: some are better for prevention and mild rashes, some are great for mild to moderate rash, and some are great for treating the most intense cases of diaper rash. Third, some diaper rash ointments have terrible chemicals that I wouldn't want to use on my baby, whereas some others are organic and hypoallergenic. For all of the below products, we provide risk ratings for each ingredient from the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) database (1-2 is low hazard, 3-6 is moderate hazard, and 7-10 is high hazard. When possible you want to keep things in the low range, and fortunately we found several organic or natural diaper rash creams that were consistently low hazard. When finding baby diaper rash cream for your baby bum, keep things as natural as possible to avoid irritation or allergic reactions.
With that said, here is a comparison table of the best diaper rash products we found. After you check out our table, see below for our full reviews of each option.
Here are the Best Diaper Rash Creams of 2018!
This is best for diaper rash prevention and mild treatment, and is usually under $15 for a medium size tub of balm. For our own babies, we relied heavily on A&D Ointment, Desitin Cream, and Eucerin, but we weren't aware of the growing market for organic, sensitive, and hypoallergenic options. This is one of the best diaper rash options out there for discerning parents and sensitive bums. It's perfect for maintaining a healthy bottom side and treating minor diaper rash. We do not suggest using it for medium-to-severe cases of diaper rash, because we found it to be much better at prevention than treatment. Here's what we loved about this diaper balm. First, it has all natural ingredients and doesn't contain petroleum/petrolatum, alcohol, mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, perfumes, dyes, or other toxins. It's made from all organic ingredients including sunflower oil (EWG 1), castor oil (EWG 2), beeswax (EWG 1), cocoa butter (EWG 1), coconut oil (EWG 1), olive oil (EWG 1), vegetable glycerin (EWG 1), arrowroot powder (EWG 1), calendula oil (EWG 1), rosemary extract (EWG 1), vitamin E (EWG 1), and chamomile extract (EWG 1). Notice how all of the ingredients have a Low Risk Environmental Working Group rating? That's good news for discerning moms and sensitive bottoms everywhere! Back to our testing. The 2-ounce tub is small and lightweight, but we came to realize that you only need a little bit of this balm. It goes on a bit like a lip balm consistency, and if you keep it in a warmer area it will get a bit softer. Basically, you rub a couple fingers in it (like in circles), then rub it right onto your baby's bottom. The smell was completely fine, a little bit waxy, but note that there are no fragrances added so that's to be expected. We thought it did a great job protecting sensitive bottoms, and it did a pretty good job treating some mild diaper rash that one of our test babies had. Once it goes on, it does a good job staying on and you probably won't need to apply it for every diaper change. As intended, that's because it creates a protective barrier between moisture and the skin, and that barrier does a pretty good job staying on even when using wipes on it. Note that none of our test babies had an allergic reaction to this, but it's important to note that some babies might be sensitive to the coconut oil or beeswax. So always test it out on a little area first. It's also a great diaper rash cream for cloth diapers, as it will not stain and can be easily removed from fabric (zinc oxide tends to stain baby diapers pretty badly). If you're using disposable diapers, no need for concern with any of the options on this list. Overall, we were really impressed with this diaper balm, and keep some around the house for our hands and knuckles! Great to prevent diaper rash and treat mild rashes and skin irritation. Interested? You can check out the Era Organic Diaper Balm here. While you're at it, you might also want to check out the similar Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm Diaper Rash Cream, which we tested out but found that it had a really strange chunky texture.
This is best for mild to moderate diaper rash treatment, and is usually under $9 for a medium size tube of cream. This diaper rash cream contains zinc oxide (14%) to treat and protect your baby's bum, and is truly excellent in its quality, effectiveness, sensitivity, and safety. Let's start with what it doesn't have: no parabens, artificial colors or fragrances, mineral oil, petrolatum, dimethicone, lanolin, and more. What it does have is a great natural active ingredients list, including: sunflower seed oil (EWG 1), beeswax (EWG 1), castor seed oil (EWG 1), shea butter (EWG 1), coconut oil (EWG 1), olive oil (EWG 1), grape seed oil (EWG 1), jojoba seed oil (EWG 1), tamanu seed oil (EWG 1), tocopherol (non-GMO) (EWG 1), and clary sage oil (EWG 1). Notice how every single ingredient is rated as lowest risk by the Enviromental Working Group? That's good news! The only ingredient that has a rating higher than 1 is the zinc oxide itself (EWG 2-3, low to moderate risk), but that's the most important part of this diaper rash cream as it serves as a critical skin protectant. This particular diaper rash is really the best at finding the right balance between being really effective and not including harsh chemical irritants, toxins, or allergens. In our testing, we found it also to be one of the most effective options we tested. It's great for prevention and treatment, and it was effective for both mild and moderate diaper rash. It went on pretty thick and did a good job staying on through diaper changes and wiping. It has no strong odor, just a bit of a medicine-type smell from the zinc oxide (the same as what a zinc oxide sunscreen smells like). We didn't have any allergic reactions to this cream, though we do note that some babies might be sensitive to coconut oil or beeswax, so keep that in mind. Overall, we found this to be the best diaper rash cream for treatment purposes while maintaining a high safety profile. Interested? You can check out the Honest Company Diaper Rash Cream here.
This is best for mild to moderate diaper rash treatment, and is usually under $8 for a good-sized tube of cream. This diaper rash cream contains zinc oxide (16%) to treat and protect your baby's bum. Boudreaux's Butt Paste comes in a ton of varieties - original (16% zinc oxide), maximum (40% zinc oxide), and natural this one). It's overall most similar to their original version, but has much safer ingredients while being just as effective overall. There's no petrolatum or mineral oil, and the natural ingredients are excellent. They are: zinc oxide, aloe vera (EWG 1 decolorized), beeswax (EWG 1), carnauba wax (EWG 1), castor oil (EWG 2), citric acid (EWG 2), hydrogenated castor oil (EWG 1), Peruvian balsam oil (EWG 1). It is truly an excellent diaper rash treatment, and in our testing we thought it was definitely one of the best out there. This butt paste was pretty thick - not quite a paste, but more like a thick cream or ointment, and it went on nice and smooth and thick, leaving a super effective protective barrier against moisture. All of the parents who tested it on their babies thought it was fantastic, and several of them commented that they wanted to use Butt Paste but didn't like the ingredients of the Original version, so this was a welcome addition to their butt-soothing arsenal! Another great thing is that this is one of the only natural diaper rash creams without coconut oil, so if your baby has a little allergic reaction to coconut oil this could be a good option for you. The only downfall we found is that it doesn't contain any fragrances so it smells pretty strongly of zinc oxide. That's not surprising given that it's 16% zinc oxide content, so the odor was definitely expected. Overall, this is an excellent, safe, and super effective diaper rash cream that we suggest trying out! Interested? You can check out the Boudreaux's Butt Paste Natural Diaper Rash Ointment here.
This is best for mild to moderate diaper rash treatment, and is usually under $7 for a good-sized tube of cream. This diaper rash cream contains zinc oxide (the percentage content is not provided) to treat and protect your baby's bum, and we think it probably has at least 20% zinc oxide given how thick it is and the fact that you can smell it. So not quite as thick or smelly as something like Desitin Maximum Strength, but pretty powerful. All that thickness means a couple things. First, it means it can be a little hard to get the cream out of the tube (it's more of a paste in that way). Second, it means that it has superior staying power relative to most other options on this list - this stuff gets on and stays on. Finally, it also means that it has some high effectiveness against the itching and stinging of diaper rash, and some superior protection properties. Other than the zinc oxide, it contains sunflower seed oil (EWG 1), coconut oil (EWG 1), candelilla wax (EWG 1), hydrogenated palm and rapeseed oil (EWG 1-2), lecithin (EWG 2-3), and rosemary leaf extract (EWG 1). The only thing worth some concern is the lecithin, which is a skin conditioning agent that's typically sourced from eggs or soybeans. Some studies show that it might be a mild allergen, thus the concern. In our testing, we found the odor of this cream to be pleasant, with a mild coconut smell. It was thick and thus sometimes a little difficult to get out of the tube and apply. But it really did an excellent job with mild to moderate diaper rash, and we were impressed with its ability to stay on through diaper changes and wiping. It does contain coconut oil which is a mild allergen, so keep that in mind just in case your baby might be extra sensitive. And the price is pretty good, when we ordered a 2-pack online it wsa only about $14 for both, and they were 4-ounce tubes. So you're getting pretty good bang for the buck, from a company that we trust to make high quality, natural products without harmful chemicals. Interested? You can check out the Seventh Generation Coconut Care Diaper Rash Cream here.
This is best for mild to moderate diaper rash treatment, and is usually under $6 for a medium size tube of Cetaphil baby diaper cream. This diaper rash cream contains zinc oxide, which is a great skin protector, soother of itchiness and tenderness, and a great alternative to some of the harsher chemicals. But it doesn't seem to have much of it, as it's not as thick as some other options (like the Honest Company Diaper Cream), and doesn't smell as strongly of zinc oxide. Note that Cetaphil does not reveal what the percentage of zinc oxide is for this cream. This diaper rash cream sits in the middle between effectiveness and safety: it has good effectiveness while also maintaining a pretty good risk profile. We liked that it does not contain parabens, mineral oil, artificial colors, or artificial fragrances. What it does have are: water, zinc oxide (EWG 2-3), isopropyl palmitate (EWG 1), helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil (EWG 1), polyglyceryl-3 polyricinoleate (EWG 1), glycerin (EWG 2), polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate (EWG 1), butylene glycol (EWG 1), prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil (EWG 1), hexyldecanol (EWG 1), hexyldecyl laurate (EWG 1), panthenol (vitamin B5) (EWG 1), calendula officinalis flower extract (EWG 1), glycine soja (soybean) oil (EWG 1), tocopherol (vitamin E) (EWG 1), zinc sulfate (EWG 4), zinc stearate (EWG 2), beeswax (EWG 1), heliotropine (EWG 1), citric acid (EWG 1). Notice how everything is looking pretty good until the Zinc Sulfate rating (moderate risk)? Well, zinc sulfate is an astringent and antimicrobial that is likely added in an effort to reduce bacteria in the tube and on the bum. Not a huge risk, but worth considering. In our testing of this we thought that it was not as thick as some of the most effective diaper rash creams (like Desitin or Butt Paste), but that it did a pretty good job with treating mild to moderate diaper rash, and also for prevention purposes. Though we wouldn't want to repeatedly be applying zinc sulfate to our baby for prevention purposes alone, so we recommend this for 2-3 day treatments of diaper rash flare ups. It could be improved by having a nicer smell, being thicker, and dropping that zinc sulfate ingredient in favor of something less toxic. Interested? You can check out the Cetaphil Diaper Rash Cream here.
This is best for moderate+ diaper rash treatment, and is usually under $8 for a medium size tube of cream. This is another diaper rash cream with zinc oxide, but with a whopping 40% zinc oxide content, which is actually the highest content you can find without a prescription! So this stuff is intense, and we only recommend it for stubborn cases of diaper rash rather than daily use. It goes on super thick, smells pretty strongly like zinc oxide (not surprising), and does an unbelievable job staying on through diaper changes. The protection capability is unsurpassed, though it is basically matched by Desitin Maximum Strength, which also contains 40% zinc oxide. The good news is that this diaper rash paste doesn't contain any parabens, dyes, phthalates, talc, or preservatives. But it does contain: castor oil (EWG 2), mineral oil (EWG 1-3), paraffin (EWG 1), Peruvian balsam (EWG 1), and white petrolatum (EWG 4). So this diaper rash ointment actually does pretty well for being maximum strength, with only one primary concern - white petrolatum. Petrolatum is listed by Canada as a high human health priority and expected to be toxic or harmful, and it is somewhat restricted in cosmetics. Of course, petrolatum is very commonly used for kids and adults, for instance in petroleum jelly (Vaseline), lotions, and other adult and baby care products. This ingredient is why we don't have A&D Diaper Ointment on this list since it is petrolatum-based (containing 53% petrolatum in AD Original), and also why we don't have Desitin on this list. Both of those work well, but we're wary of daily application of petrolatum to a sensitive baby bum. But this Butt Paste has white petrolatum as the last ingredient, which means that it is the least-used ingredient, even less than Peruvian balsam. Of course, we don't know exactly what percentage of this ointment is petrolatum, but we guess that it's less than 10%. In our testing, this was the overall most effective at treating moderate diaper rash, preventing diaper rash, and staying on really well between diaper changes. We don't like that it contains petrolatum, but we do like the ingredients are pretty mild in comparison with other maximum strength baby rash creams. So if you have a tough case of diaper rash, visit your doctor first, and if they suggest a strong diaper rash cream this could be a good bet! Interested? You can check out the Boudreaux's Maximum Strength Diaper Rash Cream here.
This is best for mild to moderate diaper rash treatment, and is usually under $9 for a medium size tube of cream. This is another diaper rash cream with zinc oxide, but only 12% which is relatively low. And that shows in its consistency which can be a bit watery at times, and in its protective capability which is pretty good but not great. Like the Era Organics option (above), it contains soothing calendula and chamomile, which is great for reducing mild irritation. Its full ingredients list (in addition to zinc oxid) is: beeswax (EWG 1), benzyl benzoate (EWG 6), benzyl salicylate (EWG 7), calendula flower extract (EWG 1), chamomila flower extract (EWG 1), geraniol (EWG 7), glyceryl linoleate (EWG 2-3), hectorite (EWG 2), lanolin (EWG 1), limonene (EWG 6), linalool (EWG 5), sweet almond oil (EWG 1), sesame seed oil (EWG 1), and water. We are pretty unimpressed by the ingredients list, and concerned about the addition of geraniol, and the benzyl ingredients, and several others. Geraniol is a fragrance that is restricted in cosmetics for its immune system toxicity and allergen properties. And benzyl salicylate is similarly hazardous for immune system toxicity and allergen properties. In our hands-on testing we found it to be a little bit watery and separated coming out of the tube, which was mostly annoying and frustrating, but also we wondered what was separating and if we were getting maximum effectiveness once we dripped out the oily top liquid. Going on it was a little watery, but it was reasonably effective. Nothing like the Honest Company or Seventh Generation cream ability to stay on the skin for long-term effectiveness. Our testing parents said that it really wasn't as effective as most others at treating diaper rash, but also commented on the fact that this is probably related to the fact that it tends to come off the skin somewhat easily. So overall we were unimpressed by the hazardous ingredients used in this diaper cream, the consistency, the application, and the effectiveness. We do use some of Weleda's products for adult skin care - including lotions and creams, but this was rather disappointing for us, so we won't be using their diaper rash ointments any time soon. Still interested? You can check out the Weleda Diaper Care Cream here.
What is Diaper Rash?
You can check out a bunch of our diaper rash pictures here. Diaper rash is red, flaky, or chafed skin around the buttocks and genitalia, usually with dry and raised bumps that can be a bit warm to the touch. It's itchy, stingy, and generally uncomfortable for your baby. In mild cases, you will see some light-red rash beginning to form, for example where the two buttocks rub together during crawling. In moderate cases, you will see darker red patches of raised bumps and your baby's discomfort levels will be higher (they might be fussier and not like being in certain positions, like sitting). In more severe cases, you will see large red patches that might be a bit wet and oozing, and these might also have a fungal infection involved. You should definitely see your pediatrician for moderate or severe cases of diaper rash, as only they will be able to tell you the full extent of the rash and how to effectively treat it.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
There is no single cause for all diaper rashes, and each baby has different sensitivities. Some of the most common causes are:
- Excessive moisture in the diaper. This can be caused by humid environments, or not changing the diaper often enough when their is urine or poop inside. Poop is much more irritating than urine, especially when left in a diaper for more than 15-20 minutes.
- Chafing and rubbing of diapers and clothing against the butt and thighs can create irritation and a rash, just like it will in adults, especially if things are too tight-fitting. This will be especially the case for babies learning to move their legs a lot - rolling and crawling.
- Exposure to new substances and chemicals, such as a new laundry detergent, baby wipes, new baby diapers, fabric softener, bath soap, lotions, powders, or even diaper rash creams themselves.
- Yeast and bacteria can quickly develop and turn a mild diaper rash into something much more uncomfortable and difficult to treat. If this happens, it will spread quickly to areas in addition to just the bum and cause a larger problem. This is one of the reasons to treat an emerging rash quickly, but also a good reason to use prevention by applying a natural diaper rash cream with every one or two diaper changes.
- New introductions to your baby's diet, especially foods with higher acidity than breast milk and cereal, can cause or aggrevate existing diaper rash. Many babies get their first diaper rash when they begin eating fruit and veggie purees because of the disruption to gut flora and the higher acid content in the stool.
- If your baby has sensitive skin, they will be more vulnerable in general to any irritants, whether they are in a product you're using, in their stool, or in mom's breast milk. For babies with super sensitive skin, there is a difficult cycle - they are more prone to developing diaper rash, but the most effective diaper rash treatments also tend to contain many potential irritants and allergens. So this can make a sticky situation where prevention is key (the Era Organics Diaper Balm is great for this) - and hopefully prevention will work well enough that you won't need any more powerful treatments.
- Antibiotics use by baby or mom can also cause some disruption of gut flora, which can mess with the pH of poop and cause diaper rash. While antibiotics are great for treating unfriendly bacteria, they unfortunately also kill off a lot of the beneficial bacteria that can keep things running smoothly in the gut. Pediatricians will sometimes advise the consumption of probiotics in yogurt or supplements while mom or baby is taking antibiotics.
How to Prevent Diaper Rash?
There is no single prevention tip that will work for all babies and all circumstances, but the following activities should help:
- Keep the diaper area clean and dry. This can be harder than it sounds, given that it's difficult to know exactly when your baby pees or poops, and you might not be in an appropriate situation to immediately change the diaper, or you might use daycare where you can't guarantee when they will check and change. Do your best, and don't hesitate to tell your daycare providers if you want your baby's diaper changed more often.
- Rinse and repeat. After a diaper change, rinse your baby's bottom with water or use a sensitive baby wipe, and then apply your favorite diaper cream. Never scrub your baby's bottom, and try to avoid baby wipes and diaper creams with harsh chemicals (like alcohol, fragrance, preservatives, astringents, and harsh cleaning agents).
- Go commando! If your baby has developed some early signs of diaper rash, feel free to let him or her lie around or crawl around without a diaper at all. This is especially good after bathtime to help the area dry out completely.
- Keep things loose. Don't over-tighten diapers or force your baby into tight pants, as that will increase chafing and rubbing, and exacerbate or cause diaper rash.
How to Treat Diaper Rash?
This is where diaper rash creams come in for treating irritated skin. It has been and always will be the best diaper rash remedy. It works better than all the random things your friends will suggest - like putting breast milk on the diaper rash (that doesn't work), vinegar (that's a painful thought), oatmeal (what a mess), and other random home remedies for diaper rash that always have us scratching our heads. The key is to catch the diaper rash early when it is still mild and before it spreads and gets infected. A mild diaper rash can be easily treated, but if you miss it and it develops into something more severe you'll be kicking yourself for not catching it sooner, and your baby will be too! If the diaper rash is anything other than mild, or if your baby seems to be in more discomfort than usual, definitely visit your pediatrician. No medical advice that you find online can substitute for your pediatrician being able to examine your baby and give you sound advice, like a pediatrician recommended treatment plan. For mild to moderate cases of diaper rash, most cases can be treated right at home with over the counter products. All of the prevention tips above also apply for treating diaper rash. You need to gently clean the area without any soaps or chemicals. Warm water is enough. Then gently pat the area dry with a soft cotton towel (or paper towel), and leave a diaper off for at least 15 minutes to help things dry out. Then, apply your favorite diaper rash cream and put a new diaper on. Now that you've gotten diaper rash, you'll need to be really vigilant and make sure you don't miss a pee or poop. If at any time the diaper rash appears to worsen despite your treatment, your baby becomes very uncomfortable, the rash area is oozing or changing color, or your baby develops a fever, definitely call your doctor immediately. We always suggest carrying a tube of your favorite diaper rash cream around with you in your diaper bags, and if you're using one that is all natural and either low or no zinc oxide, then we suggest applying a little bit of it at every diaper change. Anything with zinc oxide is technically a medicated ointment for diaper rash, so keep that in mind because while it may be a soothing diaper rash cream, you are also putting chemicals on your baby's bottom every time you use it. If you use disposable diapers, you will be fine with any creams for your baby that contain zinc oxide; but if you use a cloth diaper you will notice that zinc oxide will stain and discolor the diaper. So keep that in mind. For cloth diapers, your best bets are the Era Organics Diaper Balm, and the Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. Of course, those options do not contain zinc oxide so they do not make a good skin protectant.