Best Diaper Cream
Providing relief and nourishing red bottoms, the Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream is one of our favorite products that we have used on our babies. The formula combines zinc oxide (12%) as the active ingredient, plus other natural inactive ingredients, including beeswax, calendula flower extract, sweet almond oil, as well as other skin-friendly ingredients. The cream is easy to smear and leaves a breathable and protective lining on babies' skin that offers soothing properties to help sensitive, dry skin heal. With no petrolatum, synthetic fragrances, and preservatives listed, this product uses no ingredients that concern us, and it is one we feel good about using on our little ones' bums.
The cream has a pleasant yet unique scent that not everyone will fancy, but it is mild. Also, we did observe a drawback with the product's packaging, which is a metal tube. Frequent bending can cause the metal to weaken and split over time, resulting in cream escaping, especially when squeezed. If this happens, it can make a mess, and it is something to be aware of when using this product. That said, we highly recommend this cream to family and friends, and, from our experience, we believe it helps treat diaper rashes.
The Motherlove Diaper Balm will soothe and moisturize your baby's bum with few ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, Oregon grape root, myrrh gum, yarrow herb, and calendula flower. This formula is free of zinc oxide and petrolatum, making it suitable for cloth diapering families. Also, it does not contain soy, gluten, or parabens if you are avoiding these ingredients. The balm has an earthy scent, and while testing, we noticed that a little goes a long way to create a thin barrier on delicate skin. It also comes in a glass jar, a welcoming alternative to plastic and a perk the may interest families who aim to limit plastic.
As an oil-based product, it may stain fabric. Also, the cream's cost versus quantity is a factor to consider. Despite these minor drawbacks, this product with antibacterial and antifungal properties can be applied as a preventative measure or is combat-ready to treat a diaper rash. If you prefer a product with few ingredients, plus one without zinc and petroleum for cloth diapering, we think this product is worth considering.
Need a budget-friendly solution for your little one's diaper rash? The A+D Zinc Oxide Cream is the best value-priced option in our lineup. This cream uses two active ingredients, zinc oxide (10%) and dimethicone (1%), to protect your baby's skin and seal out wetness, and, while testing, we think this cream achieves this feat effectively. The formula also contains moisturizing ingredients, such as aloe and coconut oil to help soothe and calm skin. This product is free of parabens and dyes. We appreciate that petrolatum is not an ingredient, and we think the scent is charming.
The inactive ingredient list includes the term "fragrance" yet does not reveal what that involves. Label transparency is a practice we value, especially since this product will be on your baby's skin. However, if you can excuse this drawback, we recommend this product to families that seek an effective cream at a low price.
If you need to bring out the big guns to treat your baby's fiery bum, the Boudreaux's Butt Paste Max Strength is one to consider as it contains a high quantity of zinc oxide (a whopping 40% - the highest amount among the competition). This formula is free from dyes, parabens, preservatives, and talc. We think the cream's consistency is on the thicker side, and a little goes a long way. To tackle severe diaper rashes, we noticed that an application before bedtime helps protect bums, especially from wetness, as diaper changes can be less frequent overnight than during the day.
The formula uses ingredients that may cause repelling issues and inhibit the absorption of cloth diapers, and this list includes zinc oxide, mineral oil, paraffin, and petrolatum. Therefore, we believe this cream is not cloth diaper compatible. However, if you use disposables, this issue should not be a problem. Also, as a max-strength cream, it uses a high amount of zinc oxide, which can help treat and reduce a severe diaper rash. But, as a preventative measure, it may be overkill. With that said, we recommend this cream for moderate to severe diaper rashes that need relief.
The Earth Mama Diaper Balm is a green, mean, diaper rash fighting machine. Yes, this salve-like product is green-colored, but don't let that be a turn-off. This formula is free of zinc, petroleum, lanolin, and parabens, making it a cloth-safe option. It has a more intense yet pleasant scent - with notes of lavender and tea tree. We noticed a thin coating of this salve helps encourage healing, making it a useful diaper rash preventative, or when you first see signs of a diaper rash.
With any flower or leaf oil, such as lavender and tea tree, the possibility of an allergic reaction increases, so we suggest spot testing before applying liberally on your baby's skin. Also, this product doubles as a skin salve, making it versatile. We recommend this slightly more aromatic balm as a diaper rash preventative for cloth and disposable diapering families.
Consider the Honest Company Diaper Cream if you're looking for a reliable product at an affordable price. This cream contains non-nano zinc oxide (14%) to create a protective barrier on delicate skin and promote the healing of skin irritations. The formula also utilizes moisturizing ingredients to soothe skin, including shea butter, jojoba, tamanu, olive oil, and coconut oils. This formula is free of petrolatum, silicones, mineral oil, lanolin, PEGs, and parabens.
The packaging states it will stain, and we did experience this during testing. However, if you use disposable diapers, we consider the staining not to be a big deal. We appreciate the Honest Company's label transparency. If you feel similarly and dig the cream's price point for a petroleum-free product, we recommend using it to treat your little one's diaper rash.
If you don't like to get your hands messy, the GroVia Natural Magic Stick may be an appealing option. The product features a twist-off cap, and twisting the bottom, similar to Chapstick, pushes the balm up. The balm's scent is pleasant thanks to various oils, such as lavender, rosehip, calendula, and tea tree. This product is petroleum and zinc-free, making it compatible with cloth diapers. We think the balm glides on smoothly and leaves skin moisturized. Plus, the no-mess applicator is easy to use.
Since the stick directly touches the skin, it is best not to share this product. Therefore, if you have more than one child in diapers, you will need to purchase individual sticks for each child. Luckily, the product's label provides space to write a child's name, which we think is handy. From our experience, we think this balm is most suitable as a diaper rash preventative and recommend it to families who like the idea of a no-mess applicator.
The Triple Paste Ointment is a fragrance-free product, which reduces the likelihood of irritations from fragrances. While testing, we experienced this product containing zinc oxide (12.8%) to help treat a severe diaper rash. We appreciate the flip-top lid, which we feel is easy to open with one hand, especially when juggling a wiggly, impatient baby.
Reviewing the ingredients, we feel this product is not compatible with cloth diapers; essentially, zinc oxide and petrolatum can contribute to fiber buildup, causing leakage. The cost is also a factor to consider, but we believe the quantity will last a while. So, if you seek a fragrance-free cream, use disposable diapers, and don't mind the expense, we think this product is effective.
If you seek a product that leaves a protective and preventative barrier on baby's bum plus does not contain zinc oxide, the A+D Original Ointment may fit your needs. This product is easy to smear and efficient at sealing out wetness on a baby's tush.
We feel this option has a strong scent, and the twist lid is a two-hand operation. The formula includes the ingredient "fragrance." Since manufacturers aren't required to disclose ingredients, hundreds of chemicals can hide behind this term. We value company transparency, and if you feel similarly, you may want to look elsewhere. Also, given the ingredients, like petroleum, mineral oil, and paraffin, we don't recommend this product for cloth diapering families. However, if you don't mind the heavier scent or "fragrance" ingredient, mainly because you seek a zinc-free product, you may find this product suitable for your needs.
The Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment is a multi-purposeful and versatile product healing various skin irritations from chapped skin to diaper rashes. This ointment is nearly transparent and applies easily, creating a protective barrier on our tester's skin, which effectively keeps out wetness.
Petroleum and mineral oil can clog fibers, so this product may not work for cloth diapering families. Although this product may help your baby's diaper rash, petroleum is not an ingredient we recommend. With access to other products with better ingredients for babies, we suggest selecting one of those options before Aquaphor. However, if this product heals your baby's diaper rash, and you are okay with using petroleum, then go ahead.
Why You Should Trust Us
BabyGearLab has been testing baby gear over the past decade. We purchase every product and complete hands-on testing and side-by-side comparisons to determine which competitors are real standouts in their categories. Leading this review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor, Nanny, and Newborn Care Specialist, holding over 14 years of experience. Between countless diaper changes, the use of several diaper creams and ointments, plus experience with cloth diapers, Molly has expert recommendations to help you find a product that will be a great addition to your diapering routine.
Analysis and Test Results
In our review, each diaper cream was smeared, smelled, touched, and applied countless times to compare performance.
Ease to Use
It can be tricky to juggle diaper changes with a wiggly baby whose bum isn't feeling great. We suggest selecting an easy-to-use product, like the Triple Paste Ointment, with a flip-top lid that is manageable to open with one hand. Also, with a no-mess applicator, the GroVia Natural Magic Stick is another useful option as it avoids using your finger to smear cream. Other products in our review with a twist top, such as the A+D Original Ointment and the Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream, require two hands to open. We do not think this is a deal-breaker but a factor to consider, especially for on-the-go diaper changes in less sanitary and convenient locations like a public restroom.
Petrolatum is an active ingredient often found in diaper creams because it provides an efficient skin barrier without obstructing the baby's skin. However, the processing of petrolatum can produce contamination, resulting in impurities, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Products in our review that use petrolatum include Boudreaux's Butt Paste Max Strength, Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment, Triple Paste Ointment, and A+D Original Ointment. On the flip side, products that do not use petrolatum include Motherlove Diaper Balm, Earth Mama Diaper Balm, Honest Company Diaper Cream, and the GroVia Natural Magic Stick. These top contenders get the job done without petrolatum. Which option you choose depends on your goals and concerns about petrolatum; while the jury might still be out on the real potential for harm, we like the idea of limiting exposure to potentially harmful chemicals whenever possible.
Zinc oxide is another common active ingredient as it has shown to provide skin protection and treat irritations. Generally, zinc oxide is tolerated among babies and potentially does not carry significant health concerns when topically applied. However, we suggest spot testing before coating your little one's bum, which is good practice for any product.
We prefer to use natural plant ingredients on babies' bottoms and think those products are worth a go, and if they don't work, try one with petroleum.
Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers
It is essential to select a product that works for your diapering choice. Disposable diapers will accept any standard diaper cream, whereas cloth diapers require cloth-safe products. Some ingredients, like petrolatum, zinc oxide, mineral oil, and paraffin, can be problematic and inhibit absorption. Honestly, who wants to deal with leakage? These ingredients can also be challenging to remove from cloth fibers. Products in our review that contain one or more of these ingredients include Boudreaux's Butt Paste Max Strength, Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment, Triple Paste Ointment, and A+D Original Ointment. But, if you cloth diaper and your baby needs a diaper cream containing one of these ingredients, a helpful solution is to use a thick, reusable liner to protect the fabric.
As for cloth-safe diaper creams in our review, the Motherlove Diaper Balm, Earth Mama Diaper Balm, and GroVia Natural Magic Stick fit this profile. These products may interest families who use a hybrid diapering program of cloth and disposable.
There are many reasons why a diaper rash will suddenly appear and be something fierce, causing an uncomfortable red bum for your little one. However, not all diaper creams are created equal, and what works for one baby may not work for another. Therefore, it is essential to try a few products to find one that meets your diapering needs. We are confident that our expert recommendations will guide you to a product that meets your needs and budget.
— Molly Bradac