What’s the best diaper rash medicine and remedies?

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
June 5, 2024
Best Diaper Rash Medicine

Don’t feel bad if your baby gets a diaper rash. This is a common skin condition that affects newborns and isn’t a sign that you aren’t properly taking care of your baby. Babies have sensitive skin and wearing a diaper often results in inflammation. But treating a diaper rash with medicine or home remedies is pretty simple, and you should follow tips for treating diaper rash properly so the rash goes away quicker.

Here is what you can do to treat a diaper rash.

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Is it a diaper rash?

Diaper rash should be easy to identify. Your baby’s skin will look red and irritated. In some cases, puffiness can appear along with tender red pumps. The skin might feel warm to the touch. Babies usually get rash in the diaper area but it can spread to the tummy and thighs.

Your newborn can develop diaper rash for as long as they wear diapers, but this condition is more common between 9 and 12 months since babies in this age range tend to be more active and eat more solid foods for the first time.

Taking antibiotics makes your baby more likely to develop a rash. A nursing mother who takes antibiotics can also increase the risks of diaper rash appearing.

A diaper rash will typically clear within a week and should look better within two or three days of starting treatment. If you don’t see an improvement, it is best to see a doctor.

There are other skin conditions that can affect your newborn, such as eczema, bacterial infections, or yeast infections. You should notice more serious symptoms such as lesions, swelling, or pimples.

You don’t need to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a typical case of diaper rash. However, you should see a doctor if your baby has a fever, if the rash looks really red and raw, or if it doesn’t start clearing up after a few days.

How to prevent diaper rashes

What’s good for baby diaper rash? The answer is limiting moisture and friction as much as possible. Keeping your baby clean is also important since urine and stools can irritate sensitive skin very easily.

Almost all babies will get a diaper rash at one point or another. There are things you can do to prevent these rashes but it isn’t possible to completely eliminate the risks until your baby stops wearing diapers.

Prevent Diaper Rash When Changing Baby Diaper

If your baby has a rash or is prone to getting rashes, you should change her diaper as often as possible. This means changing your baby’s diaper several times during the night.

You might also want to make a few changes to your baby’s diet since diarrhea and frequent bowel movements increase the risks of getting diaper rash. If you notice that a certain food is causing frequent bowel movements, it is best to eliminate it from your baby’s diet for now.

Rashes and other skin conditions can be caused by the fragrances and other chemicals used in diapers, wipes, and other baby products. If you use cloth diapers, the laundry detergent you use to wash them might be too harsh on your baby’s skin.

Get rid of scented diapers and alcohol wipes. Replace them with disposable diapers that are free of fragrance and chemicals and use a washcloth instead of wipes.

Be careful to always gently pat your baby’s skin when cleaning it. Rubbing the skin will irritate it further. If possible, let your baby’s bottom bare for a few minutes so it can dry before applying diaper medicine and putting a new diaper on.

The best way to treat diaper rash is to let your baby’s skin breathe. If you can let your baby run around the house naked or sleep naked, do it. The rash will clear out much faster.

Using a diaper rash treatment

There are different options available if you want to use diaper medicine. You can find ointments, creams, or lotions. You can either use petroleum jelly or a product that contains jelly, or opt for a treatment with zinc oxide.

The best diaper rash cream depends on how severe the rash is. Petroleum jelly works by creating a protective layer between your baby’s skin and the diaper to reduce chafing and isolate the skin from wetness.

Zinc oxide treatments have astringent and antiseptic properties. This type of diaper medicine would be more suitable for a rash that is not clearing up after you have been using petroleum jelly for a few days.

You can use a combination of petroleum jelly and zinc oxide, or switch between the two products to see what works best. Your baby’s skin might react better to one treatment over the other.

Note that you can use petroleum jelly or a cream with a low zinc oxide content to prevent diaper rash. This would be ideal in the summertime or if your baby has been having frequent bowel movements.

You might come across sources recommending baby powder, talc, cornstarch and other powder-based treatments. These should be avoided since your baby can accidentally ingest or inhale powder when you apply these treatments. Besides, powder is more likely to trap moisture and cornstarch could cause bacteria to breed.

How to change a baby with a diaper rash

Besides using a diaper dermatitis treatment, you might need to rethink the way you change your baby.

Follow these tips to get your baby’s rash to clear faster.


  • Always wash your hands before changing your baby’s diaper.
  • You should ideally change your newborn’s diaper every two hours.
  • Clean your baby’s skin with some water. Use a mild cleanser if you need to.
  • Wait for your baby’s skin to dry before applying diaper medicine.
  • If using a washcloth to dry your baby’s skin, pat the skin instead of rubbing it.
  • Be careful not to trap any moisture under the diaper rash cream you decide to use.
  • Apply more ointment as needed and you don't need to remove any when changing.
  • Make sure the new diaper or their clothes is not too tight.

You should also be careful with the baby products you buy.

Your baby might be sensitive to a brand of diaper or to scented diapers in general.

Baby wipes usually contain alcohol and chemicals and should be avoided if your baby has sensitive skin.

It might be time to start buying diapers a size up if your baby has been experiencing frequent rashes. A looser diaper will cause a lot less friction. You might also need to go up a size when shopping for clothes.

Be careful with introducing new foods in your baby’s diet. Frequent bowel movements and diarrhea make diaper rash difficult to manage. Introduce one new food at a time and wait a couple of days to see if it is affecting your baby’s digestion.

Are all diaper rash creams the same?

If your baby has a mild diaper rash, petroleum jelly is a good option. You can use a popular product like Vaseline to form a barrier between the skin and the diaper or use a product that contains petroleum jelly.

Petroleum Jelly Vaseline For Baby Diaper Rash Treatment

If you decide to use a jelly-based cream or ointment, check the other ingredients. Watch out for chemicals that could irritate your baby’s skin further.

Zinc oxide treatments are more efficient since they also act as astringents and antiseptics. However, some diaper rash creams have a higher zinc oxide content than others. A cream with a high zinc oxide content would be ideal to treat a serious rash, but this same product could also irritate your baby’s skin.

It might be best to stick to a cream with a zinc oxide content of 20 percent or less to treat a mild diaper rash or to prevent the rash from coming back. A cream with more zinc oxide would be needed only if the rash isn’t clearing up after a few days.

If you are not sure which treatment would be best for your baby’s skin rash, call your doctor or pediatrician. They will be able to recommend a treatment and will help you determine what could be causing the rash.

Your doctor might prescribe a different treatment if your baby has a severe rash or suffers from an infection. An antibiotic treatment would be used to treat a rash with a bacterial infection while your doctor would prescribe an antifungal treatment to clear a yeast infection.

Hydrocortisone treatments are sometimes used to treat severe rashes. Your baby probably won’t need this type of treatment, but this is something you should bring up if you take your baby to the doctors for a rash that isn’t clearing up.

Diaper rash needs to be treated as early as possible since it can turn into a bacterial or a yeast infection. Thankfully, it is possible to treat this skin condition with petroleum jelly or a zinc oxide cream besides keeping your baby as dry as possible. If your baby’s rash doesn’t start to look better after a couple of days, have a doctor look at it.

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