How to choose the right diaper rash cream for your baby
What sort of diaper rash cream should you get for your baby and are they really all just the same? We give you the break down of what to look out for and what's suitable for your little one's skin
While changing your baby's diaper one day, you notice that her skin is irritated, bright red and may even be a little puffy and warm to the touch.
This common skin problem is known as a diaper rash, which is inflamed skin (dermatitis) that may appear in patches on your baby's bottom.
Don't be alarmed because a diaper rash is usually nothing serious and can easily be cleared up by using some special cream or ointment and a few other simple steps.
But what caused the rash, how can you prevent it from reoccurring and which diaper rash cream is the best one for your baby's needs?
Causes of diaper rash
A diaper rash is uncomfortable for babies and causes concern in parents -- but don't beat yourself up over it because babies get these rashes due to several reasons such as:
Irritation from wet diapers
Your baby's sensitive skin will be prone to diaper rash if it is exposed to urine or stool for too long.
This usually occurs if her diapers are not changed quickly enough, or she is experiencing diarrhea as the acids found in urine and faeces can irritate the skin and cause a rash.
Tight diapers or clothing
If your little one's diapers are too small or her clothes are too tight, then it could rub against the skin and cause uncomfortable chaffing.
This constant friction between tight diapers or clothing and your bub's skin can eventually lead to diaper rash.
Reaction to a product
Have you started using a new product which is causing your baby's skin to flare up?
It could be from the scented baby wipes, the new disposable diapers you're trying out on her, maybe her soap, or perhaps something that you're using when doing the laundry.
Changes in diet
Any changes in your baby's diet (introduction to solids or a new food) might cause her to poop more often, which can lead to diaper rash.
A breastfed baby may also develop diaper rash as a reaction to something the mother has eaten that was passed through the breastmilk.
If your little one has any skin conditions like eczema (atopic dermititis), she is probably more likely to develop diaper rash.
Even if you change her diaper frequently, babies with sensitive skin are just more vulnerable to getting a diaper rash.
Singapore's hot humid weather will probably make your bub sweat and also create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
If your baby's diaper area gets prolonged exposure to sweat, urine and with some heat thrown in, a diaper rash may be inevitable.
Bacterial or fungal infection
Your little one's delicate skin which is always covered by a diaper (bum, thighs and genitals) is easily susceptible to diaper rash.
This area is warm and moist which makes it optimal for bacteria and yeast to grow.
Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, but unfortunately they attack the good kind as well as the bad!
If your baby takes antibiotics (or it is passed to her through breastmilk) it can affect the good bacteria that normally prevents yeast growth, thus leading to a diaper rash due to yeast infection.
Which diaper rash cream does your baby need?
Whether your baby has a mild irritation on her bottom or a full-blown diaper rash that's causing angry raised patches, below is the perfect diaper rash cream to suit your baby's needs:
Sudocrem ($9.90) from Mothercare
If you notice that your little one's diaper area has deep red raised bumps on the diaper area and cries in pain when peeing or pooping, this is probably a severe diaper rash.
Sudocrem is a mild antiseptic cream that relieves nappy rash and has a water-repellent base which acts as a protective barrier to stop urine and poop from irritating your baby's skin.
Although it is recommended to apply a thin layer to the affected area, if your little one is suffering from a severe case of diaper rash, some mothers find that by using a liberal amount of Sudocrem on their baby's irritated skin can help clear it up in no time.
Pros: Sudocrem can be used to treat other skin problems too such as eczema, sunburn, acne, bed sores, minor burns and more.
Cons: The cream is quite waxy and oily so it will require more thorough washing to get it cleaned off.
Desitin Rapid Relief Creamy ($12) from Watsons
Your baby's diaper rash is causing him great discomfort and he is expressing his annoyance by crying non-stop, which breaks your heart, so you just want to help ease his pain as soon as possible.
Desitin offers a Rapid Relief cream which helps to soothe and relieve your baby's diaper rash discomfort and even promises to provide relief from the first use.
Pros: A clinical study showed that 90% of babies with diaper rash had noticeable relief within 12 hours after using this dermatologist-tested creamy formula.
Cons: It has a strange fishy smell which some may find quite unpleasant.
Lucas' Papaw Ointment ($29.93) from Lazada
Touted as a staple item in medicine cabinets across most households in Australia, this soothing ointment is suitable for all ages.
Created by botanist and surgeon, Dr. T. P. Lucas, who discovered the healing properties of the papaw tree, this diaper rash cream has been around for over 100 years!
Pros: This ointment can also be used to treat sunburn, insect bites, chafing, cuts, minor open wounds,and even temporary relief from dermatitis and eczema.
Cons: Although the ingredients of this ointment does contain papaw fruit, it's base is mainly made of pharmaceutical grade petroleum jelly.
Highly sensitive skin
Bepanthen Nappy Rash Ointment ($8.75) from Guardian
Parents of infants with sensitive skin will know how stressful it can be to find the right cream which is gentle yet effective enough to help treat any flare ups.
But Bepanthen contains no fragrance, preservatives, colours or antiseptics and is gentle enough to be used at every diaper change and even on the highly sensitive skin of premature babies.
Pros: Affordable price and you can even get a free sample in Singapore to try out on your little one.
Cons: It is quite oily which requires a thick layer to be applied before completely covering the affected area.
Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream ($16.26) from TTSH Pharm+ezy
For those who need a diaper rash cream which can last throughout the day without having to be reapplied, you can try this unique hypoallergenic barrier cream by 3M which does not easily get transferred onto diapers or clothing.
This cream is also recommended by hospitals in Singapore for elderly patients who suffer from incontinence, or can be used to moisturise severely dry skin.
Pros: Also available as a spray-on bottle, which is easier and less messy to use.
Cons: Not easily available in shops around Singapore.
Drapolene Cream ($7.50) from Watsons
If you find that your baby's bottom is slightly red and the skin appears to be mildly irritated, a gentle diaper rash cream should help clear it away.
The combination of ingredients in Drapolene Cream will help to cool and soothe the soreness on your baby's bum and also prevent any infection.
Pros: Affordable price and easily available in most major supermarkets and children's department stores across Singapore.
Cons: Not so effective to treat a severe diaper rash.
Natural and organic ingredients
Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm ($16.90) from Agape Babies
Parents who prefer using a chemical-free and vegan remedy on your little one's delicate skin will love this effective bottom balm.
The organic ingredients include olive oil, shea butter, candelilla wax, jojoba oil, tea tree, lavender flower oil, calendula flower extract, St. John's wort flower extract, chickweed extract, plantain extract and myrrh.
Pros: Natural, organic and vegan ingredients used, and it has a pleasant lavender scent.
Cons: As this ointment does not contain any stabilising chemicals, the consistency will change after a while and little specks or crystals may start to form (although it's still safe to use).
No petroleum jelly
Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream ($18.90) from Pupsik Studio
Looking for an effective remedy to prevent your baby's skin flare ups without the use of petroleum jelly?
You will be glad to know that this gentle diaper rash cream uses beeswax as a base instead and other natural ingredients which gives it a pleasant fragrance.
Pros: Certified all-natural ingredients used and free from any chemicals or parabens.
Cons: Not so easily available in shops around Singapore.
Mustela Vitamin Barrier Cream 123 ($15) from Spring Maternity
The formula used in this cream is gentle enough to be used for newborns and even babies who are just discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
If you want to prevent a rash on your little one's bottom, just apply this fragrance-free cream with each diaper change.
Pros: Easy to apply and wash off, and specially formulated to minimise any allergic reactions.
Cons: Requires a thick layer to be applied to full cover the affected area.
What can you do to prevent diaper rash and when should you seek medical advice? Keep reading to find out more.
How to prevent diaper rash
They say that "prevention is better than cure", and no parent wants to see their child in pain or discomfort, so just follow these simple steps to make sure your baby's bum is free from diaper rash:
- Keep the diaper area clean and dry
- Let your bub go diaper-free for a few minutes a day so his skin can breathe
- Do not use plastic pants or diaper covers as they trap in moisture
- Use mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water for your baby's bath time
- Change your little one's diaper as soon as it's soiled
- Apply a good diaper rash cream daily as a precaution
- Gently pat your baby's bottom dry with a towel after bath time instead of rubbing, which might irritate or break the skin
- Make sure your bub's diapers or clothing is not too tight so as to avoid friction
- Avoid using scented baby wet-wipes which may cause irritation
If you'd like to treat your little one's inflamed skin with some simple ingredients you might already have at home before heading out to the shops to pick up a diaper rash cream, here are a few natural remedies for you to try:
Due to the antifungal and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil, it can be used directly on your bub's diaper area to soothe and heal any skin flare ups.
Just make sure your bub's bum is clean and completely dry before applying a thin layer to help prevent diaper rash.
Just a few teaspoons of baking soda in your baby's bath water should help to soothe his sore skin.
It will also help restore the pH balance in his diaper area which has become inflamed due to the acidity from urine and faeces.
Instead of using baby powder, sprinkle some cornstarch onto your little one's bum to absorb moisture and keep the skin dry.
This will also help to reduce diaper friction, which is one of the causes of diaper rash.
You'd be surprised to know just how many wonderful uses there are for breastmilk and that it holds amazing healing properties.
Rub some of this liquid gold onto your baby's (clean) bum and let it air-dry before putting on a fresh new diaper.
Aloe vera gel
This natural remedy is widely used to treat burns and other minor skin irritations due to its active compounds that has been said to reduce pain and inflammation.
You can either use store-bought pure aloe vera, or extract it from the plant by cutting and then scooping it out from a mature leaf.
When to consult a doctor
A diaper rash does not usually require a trip to the doctor's office, as long as you are already trying to treat the affected skin by following the necessary steps.
However, if you do notice any of the following conditions developing, it is best to consult a doctor immediately:
- There is no improvement within 4 - 7 days even though you have tried all home treatments
- The diaper rash is actually getting worse or is spreading to other parts of your baby's body
- You are concerned that the rash is actually due to an allergy
- You suspect there is a bacterial infection and notice pus or yellowish crusting, which could actually be impetigo (a highly contagious skin infection that requires antibiotics)
- Your baby appears to be in severe pain
- You are not sure what is the exact cause of the diaper rash
- Your baby also has diarrhea which has gone on for over 48 hours
- The rash has spread rapidly and your baby has developed a fever
Although it is common for babies to get diaper rash and it rarely requires a trip to the hospital, if you have followed all the suggested steps to treat this skin infection but the symptoms still persist or get worse, it's best to seek professional medical advice and get your little one checked out.
Which diaper rash cream do you use for your baby? Are there any other creams or ointments you'd like to recommend to other parents? Have you tried any other natural remedies? Tell us by leaving a comment below.