A diaper rash can develop from various triggers, such as prolonged irritation and infection. Diaper rash creams are the mainstay of treatment, but alternative methods include breast milk, aloe vera, petroleum jelly, oils, and even some kitchen ingredients! Soothing baths are another option. There are no claims that these are 100% effective, so if the rash persists, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider.
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First off… what is a diaper rash?
Diaper dermatitis, more frequently known as a diaper rash, is the most common skin problem encountered in newborns and infants. These typically look like small, reddish spots and bumps found around the genitalia, the buttocks, and inner thigh folds.
There are several triggers for developing this rash, such as:
- Taking a long time before changing a soiled or wet diaper
- Irritation from the urine or poop itself
- Friction between the surface of the diaper and the skin
- Sensitive skin and allergic reactions
- Harsh soaps and baby wipes
- A bacterial or yeast infection
- Certain changes in the infant’s diet
- Genetic skin disease, such as psoriasis
How is a diaper rash treated?
Treatment for a diaper rash depends on the suspected cause. If the main cause is irritation, whether it’s from wet diapers or diarrhea, it is best to change diapers much more frequently.
Using an ointment or barrier paste (diaper creams) to prevent contact between the skin and the diaper also helps.
If a healthcare provider suspects a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Yeast infection, on the other hand, is caused by an overgrowth of fungi after antibiotic use. An antifungal cream is typically used for these cases.
Your child may be allergic to a certain brand of diapers, creams, or baby wipes. Choosing safe and hypoallergenic products should lessen the chances of developing a diaper rash.
What are the alternatives to using a diaper rash cream?
If you’re wary of diaper cream ingredients or have a tight budget, there are other options or methods to treat and prevent diaper rashes! However, most of these methods have not undergone adequate scientific testing.
In short, there may not be enough evidence to say that these workarounds will treat a rash 100% of the time. There’s usually a small chance of any harm in using these products, so if you’re open to trying these, just be cautious and observe your child well.
Good ‘ol breast milk
If you have a lot of milk to spare, why not? Because breast milk has a lot of antimicrobial properties, such as antibodies, some mothers have advocated using small amounts of milk on diaper rashes.
Apply drops of milk on the affected area and let it dry before replacing with a new diaper.
Try aloe vera
Aloe vera gel or juice could be applied on the diaper rash using a soft cloth or clean fingers.
Like other alternatives, this is a soothing solution with the added benefit of extra moisturizing.
What about petroleum jelly?
Like aloe vera, petroleum jelly has high moisturizing capabilities. Apply a slightly thick amount on the rash for it to act as a barrier between the skin and any irritating substances.
You can use oils
Olive oil may have antimicrobial properties on its own. Applying a few drops on rashes may help soothe and lessen the irritation.
Coconut oil, whose form is solid while at room temperature, has been touted as a possible antifungal substance. After washing your baby’s buttocks, dry the skin and apply half a tablespoon of the oil on the rash. Adding one drop of lavender essential oil may also be done.
Tea tree oil is another possible option: combine 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 5 drops of tea tree oil first before applying on the affected area.
You can also use kitchen ingredients
Apple cider vinegar is a commonly used natural preservative and disinfectant, but it can also be used for diaper rashes.
One research supports the antibacterial and antifungal properties of this ingredient. You can mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. Use this solution to clean your baby’s buttocks before applying a moisturizing cream and covering it with a new diaper.
Some parents recommend wiping the diaper rash with a solution containing one teaspoon of white vinegar mixed with a cup of water.
An alternative to talcum powder is cornstarch. Beware though, even if cornstarch can absorb moisture well, it can also irritate the skin.
A mixture of one teaspoon of honey and two cups of chamomile tea can also soothe irritated buttocks. This solution can be applied or even sprayed directly on the affected area of the skin.
Or you can just make your own cream!
Fancy being creative? Some savvy moms mix their own diaper rash creams. One recipe calls for a combination of lavender and chamomile essential oils, shea butter, coconut oil, and zinc oxide. Another recipe requires coconut oil, olive oil, beeswax pastilles, lemon and lavender essential oils, and tea tree oil.
Give soothing baths
Instead of applying a homemade cream, some parents opt for a nice, soothing bath. Again, the ingredients can be found in your cupboard or kitchen!
Take two tablespoons of baking soda and mix it in warm water in a bowl. Soak your child’s bum in this mixture for a few minutes. Wipe gently afterward, then apply a moisturizing cream before putting on a new diaper.
Another option is to mix dried oatmeal (one teaspoon) in warm water. Let your baby soak in it for 5-10 minutes, then pat or gently wipe the skin dry. Place a new diaper afterward.
Lastly, Epsom salt can also be used as a soothing bath, but only 2-3 times a week. Mix half a cup with warm water, and let your child sit in this solution for 10 minutes. Afterward, proceed with a regular bath.
Homemade is not 100% effective
There’s always that small possibility that these natural remedies won’t work. Your child’s rash could become worse or infected.
If you don’t see any improvement, it’s best to bring your baby to the nearest healthcare provider to determine if any antibiotics or prescription medications are needed.
How else can I prevent a diaper rash?
Prevention is better than cure, as they say. Here are some tips to help prevent diaper rash from developing in the first place:
- Use a hypoallergenic or mild soap to clean your child’s bottom
- Avoid using baby wipes that contain alcohol
- Keep the area clean and dry
- Change diapers more often, regardless if there’s urine or poo in the diaper
- Allow for an extra 5 minutes of air time for your child’s buttocks in between diaper changes
- If you’re using cloth diapers, make sure to use a mild or hypoallergenic brand
- Make sure your child is eating the right types of food for his current age
What clears up diaper rash fast?
Overall, it depends on how severe the rash is. A mild diaper rash will clear up faster than a severe rash. Based on studies, regular diaper creams are still the most effective way to treat diaper rashes.
Is Vaseline good for a diaper rash?
Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a protective layer similar to some types of diaper cream. One study showed that it can be an effective barrier, locking in moisture and preventing irritants from affecting the skin.
Diaper dermatitis may be caused by prolonged irritation, infections, allergic reactions, the use of harsh products, and changes in the diet.
Alternative treatments include breast milk, aloe vera, petroleum jelly, oils, some kitchen ingredients, and soothing baths.
If the rash persists or gets worse, seek consultation with a healthcare provider.