Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Generally, a diaper rash can be treated successfully at home with these practices:

  • Keeping diaper area clean and dry. The best way to keep your baby's diaper area clean and dry is by changing diapers immediately after they are wet or soiled. Until the rash is better, this may mean getting up during the night to change the diaper.

    After you've gently cleaned and dried the skin, apply a cream, paste or ointment. Certain products, such as zinc oxide and petroleum jelly, work well to protect the skin from moisture. Don't try to scrub off this protective layer completely at the next diaper change, as that could hurt the skin more. If you do want to remove it, try using mineral oil on a cotton ball.

  • Increasing airflow. To aid the healing of diaper rash, do what you can to increase air exposure to the diaper region. These tips may help:
    • Air out your baby's skin by letting him or her go without a diaper and ointment for short periods of time, perhaps three times a day for 10 minutes each time, such as during naps.
    • Avoid airtight plastic pants and diaper covers.
    • Use diapers that are larger than usual until the rash goes away.
  • Applying ointment, paste, cream or lotion. Various diaper rash medications are available without a prescription. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for specific recommendations. Some popular over-the-counter products include A + D, Balmex, Desitin, Triple Paste and Lotrimin (for yeast infections).

    Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in many diaper rash products. They are usually applied to the rash throughout the day to soothe and protect your baby's skin. It doesn't take much – a thin covering will do. The product can be applied over medicated creams, such as an antifungal or a steroid, when necessary. You could also apply petroleum jelly on top, which helps keep the diaper from sticking to the cream.

    Ointments, pastes or creams may be less irritating than lotions. But ointments and pastes create a barrier over the skin and don't allow it to receive air. Creams dry on the skin and allow air through. Talk with your doctor about what type of product would be better for your child's rash.

    As a general rule, stick with products designed for babies. Avoid items containing baking soda, boric acid, camphor, phenol, benzocaine, diphenhydramine, or salicylates. These ingredients can be toxic for babies.

  • Bathing daily. Until the rash clears up, give your baby a bath each day. Use warm water with mild, fragrance-free soap.
May 08, 2015

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