Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The most effective way to get rid of a diaper rash is to keep your baby's skin as clean and dry as possible. The best way to do this is with frequent diaper changes.

Over-the-counter products

Various diaper rash medications are available without a prescription. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for specific recommendations. Some popular over-the-counter ointments are:

  • A + D
  • Balmex
  • Desitin
  • Triple paste
  • Zinc oxide paste

Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in many diaper rash creams. These products are usually applied in a thick layer to the irritated region throughout the day to soothe and protect your baby's skin. Zinc oxide can also be used to prevent diaper rash on normal, healthy skin.

Ointments or creams may be less irritating than lotions or liquid solutions, but ointments create a barrier over the skin and don't allow it to receive air. Creams dry on the skin and allow air through. Your doctor can tell you whether a cream or ointment would be better for your child's particular rash. As a general rule, stick with products designed specifically for babies. Avoid products that contain boric acid, camphor, phenol, benzocaine or salicylates, as these ingredients can be toxic for babies.

Increasing airflow

To aid the healing of diaper rash, do what you can to increase airflow to the diaper region. These simple suggestions may help:

  • Let your child go without a diaper for short periods of time, such as during naps.
  • Avoid using plastic or tightfitting diaper covers.
  • Use larger than usual sized diapers until the rash goes away.

While your baby has a diaper rash, avoid washing the affected area with soaps and disposable, scented wipes. Alcohol and perfumes in these products can irritate your baby's skin and aggravate or prolong the rash.

In the past, it was common to use talcum powder to protect a baby's skin and absorb excess moisture. However, doctors no longer recommend this. Inhaled talcum powder can irritate a baby's lungs.

May 22, 2012

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.