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, hear me out. I might be able to help you.
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 any 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. Duh!
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.
Quite frankly, for the longest time there was no need for diaper cream. It could have been that we were using cloth diapers and wipes, or maybe we were just lucky. But also, the mama bear woke up. And the mama bear decided to question everything on planet Earth and beyond.
It quickly became apparent that both DESITIN and BALMEX contained ingredients that were concerning. Ingredients like fragrance, retinyl acetate, propylparaben, methylparaben, petrolatum, BHA, or talc to name a few.
So I did what any other grossed out mama bear would do and tossed the whole unused stash.
Well, guess what happens when you get rid of all diaper cream…
That’s right. Diaper rash. Major diaper rash. A while later and diaper cream-less, I dared to eat something my little nursling didn’t agree with. Ooops?
I obviously had to find natural diaper cream. Pronto.
So I did a quick research.
And then I realized…
I have zinc oxide!
In our sunscreen!
Let me tell you, using BADGER sunscreen as diaper cream WORKED PERFECTLY!
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 this product to a few friends whose kids had persistent diaper (and other) rashes that weren’t responding to anything, including prescription-strength creams (and hey, if it doesn’t work, at least you still have great sunscreen to use, right? Either way, you’re not wasting money…). Well, it worked for them as well.
So from then on, I never even bothered with buying diaper cream. I’m a minimalist at heart anyway. If I can squeeze more use out of one tube, do count me in!
For the record, I had two different versions of Badger sunscreen available – regular Unscented, and Chamomile/Calendula. As expected, both of them 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 properly labeled product made precisely 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 jelly – scroll down to #5 Baby care – Petroleum Jelly) are all good choices that should be available at local stores.
Diaper creams: zinc oxide vs. petroleum jelly. What’s better?
Most diaper creams are based on either zinc oxide or petroleum jelly, right? (Some products contain castor oil from I’ve noticed, and maybe there is something entirely different available as well.) The reason for that is that a barrier of some sort needs to be in place to protect irritated skin from wetness and further irritation, and these two ingredients seem to be doing a good job.
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, do keep in mind that it comes in varying grades of purity.