Natural Diaper Creams? Why DESITIN and BALMEX had to go and what I used instead.

Natural diaper creams

Here’s the deal: I don’t remember using diaper cream on my kids. Ever. So you may be wondering why in the world am I attempting to give you a diaper cream advice???

Well, it’s because I think your babies deserve the best! And because I really want to tell you what I used in place of diaper cream in case it fits with your minimalistic lifestyle as much as it happened to fit mine.

Years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, I wasn’t taking any chances and bought all baby supplies well ahead of time. I didn’t bother to read the lists of ingredients because A) Lists of what?! and B) It’s common knowledge that all baby products follow strict protocols and undergo rigorous safety testing.

OK. If you already know that B) is a BIG FAT LIE – I’m really proud of you! I, on the other hand, was blatantly oblivious to the reality, so I stocked up with enough DESITIN and BALMEX tubes and jars to last me a lifetime of fertility.

Needless to say, all of them eventually ended up in the trash. Unopened.

For the longest time there really was no need for diaper cream. Part of the reason might have been the fact that we were using cloth diapers and wipes. Or maybe we were just lucky. But also the unthinkable happened. My old trusting self had vanished, and the only job of the new me was to question the safety of everything on Earth and beyond.

It quickly became apparent that both DESITIN and BALMEX contained a number of ingredients that were no longer acceptable. Ingredients like fragrance, retinyl acetate, propylparaben, methylparaben, petrolatum, BHA, or talc to name a few.

So I did what I had to and threw the whole diaper cream stash away.

And then months later and completely diaper cream-less I dared to eat something that my little nursling didn’t agree with. When I no longer expected to EVER see a diaper rash, there it was, in full force.

Now what?

I obviously had to find some natural diaper cream.

So I did a quick research.

And then I realized…


I have zinc oxide!



And let me tell you, using Badger sunscreen as diaper cream WORKED! It worked so well that within the next diaper change there was a huge difference, and the rash quickly disappeared.

And it didn’t work just for me! I recommended to a few friends whose kids had persistent diaper rashes and other kinds of rashes that weren’t responding to prescription-strength creams to give this product a try (and hey, if it doesn’t work, at least you still have great sunscreen to use). But it worked for them as well.

So from then on, I never felt the need to buy any diaper cream. I’m a minimalist at heart anyway, so if I can squeeze more use out of one tube, do count me in!

Just for the record, I had two different versions of Badger sunscreen available – regular Unscented, and Chamomile/Calendula. I particularly liked the Chamomile/Calendula version, but both worked equally well in place of diaper cream (and as sunscreen as well, of course).

If you don’t feel the same way and would prefer to use a proper product for diaper rash, do check out EWG’s database for more information about different diaper creams and ingredients. Zinc oxide-based BADGER Diaper Cream (but seriously, if you have their sunscreen, do give it a try first), BURT’S BEES Diaper Ointment, CALIFORNIA BABY Diaper Rash Ointment, THE HONEST COMPANY Honest Diaper Rash Cream, or petroleum jelly-based BOUDREAUX’S Butt Paste (if you don’t mind using petroleum jellyscroll down to #5 Baby care – Petroleum Jelly) are all good choices that should be available at local stores.

Zinc oxide OR petroleum jelly? What’s better?

Most diaper creams are based on either zinc oxide or petroleum jelly. (Some natural diaper creams are based on castor oil or even neither of these though.) The reason is that a barrier of some sort needs to be in place in order to keep baby’s irritated skin away from diaper’s moisture and its content, and these two seem to do the job well.

Whether you choose zinc oxide or petroleum jelly is entirely up to you. I’m personally not a fan of petroleum jelly, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel the same way. If you’re set on using diaper cream (or any other product) containing petroleum jelly, keep in mind that it comes in varying grades of purity.

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link which means I may earn an infinitesimal commission if you decide to make a purchase through this link. In the event it happens, rest assured that your purchase does NOT cost you a penny more. 

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