How do I Choose the Best Diaper Rash Cream?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2019
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Choosing the best diaper rash cream normally involves determining the cause of diaper rash, and trying different products to see which one works best. There are different ingredients that make diaper rash cream effective, and all creams do not contain the same ingredients. Common active ingredients in diaper rash cream are zinc oxide, hydrocortisone, lanolin, and petroleum jelly. Most over-the-counter creams are usually effective for diaper rash, but sometimes a doctor will need to prescribe a stronger cream or medication for rashes that refuse to clear up. Anti-fungal creams are typically recommended for diaper rash brought on by yeast.

Zinc oxide is one of the most popular diaper rash cream ingredients. It may be the best choice for the average diaper rash, but might not be strong enough to do the job for more severe cases. Creams made with this ingredient are usually very easy to apply, and likely won't cost as much as other creams. The cost and typical effectiveness of zinc oxide creams make these a good choice to try first before moving on to brands with a different active ingredient.


Hydrocortisone is known for effectively eliminating rashes and redness caused by a variety of different problems. Creams containing this ingredient may be the best choice if zinc oxide creams prove to be ineffective. Hydrocortisone is typically useful for reducing inflammation, but should be used sparingly due to the sensitivity of a baby's skin. It's not normally recommended to apply it at each diaper change, or to use it for an extended period of time. Two applications a day should be enough, and if the rash doesn't clear up in a few days, a doctor's advice may be needed.

Lanolin is an all-natural ingredient found in some types of diaper rash creams. It acts as a barrier between the diaper and skin to help prevent irritation, and has healing properties that soothe inflamed skin. Breastfeeding mothers often use products containing lanolin to soothe and heal sore nipples. Lanolin diaper rash creams may be the best choice for those who wish to avoid chemicals, but be sure to check the ingredients list carefully. Not all products containing lanolin are 100% natural.

There are many popular diaper rash creams that contain petroleum jelly as an active ingredient. Petroleum jelly may be better at preventing diaper rash rather than treating it, but some parents swear by its effectiveness. It is safe to apply at each diaper change, and generally does a great job of locking in moisture. The only downside to petroleum jelly diaper rash cream is that it's usually very messy and might stain clothing or cloth diapers.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- Zinc oxide creams are good but if you can get one with lanolin in it, that will be even better. Zinc oxide will get rid of the rash, but in my opinion, it's not the best product for preventing diaper rash. Lanolin is great for prevention because it creates a layer on skin and prevents moisture from entering. It sort of like glycerin but better because lanolin is natural. It's the fat found in the wool of sheep. You can use 100% pure lanolin, hydrous lanolin or a diaper rash ointment with lanolin as an ingredient. Hydrous lanolin is easier to apply but all three will work great.

Post 2

@turquoise-- It usually only takes one or two days for zinc oxide baby diaper rash creams to take effect and treat the rash. Even the rash is not looking better after two days, then it's possible that you are not dealing with a diaper rash but rather a yeast infection. Contact your baby's doctor in that case. You will have to use an anti-fungal cream if it's a yeast infection.

Also, I've noticed that some generic zinc oxide baby ointments are not as effective as the brand ones. Technically, they have the same ingredients, but for some reason, I always get better results with the brand. If you're using a generic brand, you might want to try a different, well-know brand instead.

Post 1

My baby is experiencing a diaper rash for the first time ever. I immediately started using a zinc oxide cream for diaper rash but it doesn't seem to be working.

How long does it usually take for this type of cream to work? And if it never works, what should I use?

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