As promised in my post on decoding diaper rash, here are my favorite formulas for bottom balm and powder. These natural diaper treatments are super easy to make and free of petrolatum, dimethicone, mineral oil and other yuckiness often found in commercial formulas.
Note for cloth diapering mamas: Though it IS possible, the Protective Barrier Balm is very difficult to get out of cloth diapers. The Clay Balm is much easier, especially if you sprinkle a nice layer of homemade powder over the top. Personally, though, I’d use eco-friendli(er) disposable diapers during the treatment process and thoroughly disinfect the diapers to prevent possible reinfection. A link to instructions can be found in this post under dealing with yeast rashes.
Another option would be to use a liner within the diaper, like cut up old t-shirts and then washing them separately. If you want to skip the liners AND stick with cloth diapers, I recommend using straight coconut oil or tallow balm along with the powder recipe below.
Natural Diaper Rash Treatment Recipe #1: Tallow Balm
This stuff is so versatile – it can be used for for dry/chapped skin, diaper rash, and sunburns, and eczema, or as an amazing daily moisturizer for the face and body.
Learn how to make your own tallow balm here, or buy pre-made tallow balm here. I prefer not to use essential oils topically with babies under two, so I don’t add them into my homemade version. My friend Emilie (who makes the pre-made tallow balm) sells an unscented version as well.
Natural Diaper Rash Treatment Recipe #2: Protective Barrier Balm
Infused with inflammation reducing essential oils, this balm provides a protective barrier while soothing irritated tushies. And unlike its popular commercial counterpart, it doesn’t contain skin irritants like petrolatum, dimethicone, or mineral oil.
- 1/2 cup shea butter (I prefer to use raw organic shea because conventional shea may be extracted with harsh solvents such as hexane. Here’s where to buy it.)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (Extra virgin has demonstrated the strongest antimicrobial properties, but expeller-pressed will work fine as well. Here’s where to buy extra virgin coconut oil. Here’s where to buy expeller-pressed coconut oil.)
- 1/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons non-nanoparticle zinc oxide, depending on how thick you want the balm to be (Here’s why I only recommend non-nano. Where to find non-nano zinc oxide.)
1. In a double boiler, gently melt shea butter over low heat. When almost melted, stir in coconut oil and continue to heat until fully melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow mixture to return to a semi-solid state. Place mixture in fridge if you’d like to speed this process up. Add non-nano zinc and optional essential oils (if desired). Mix thoroughly.
Apply with clean hands as needed.
Up to 1 year if kept in a tightly sealed container, though the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils will be most effective if used within 6 months.
Natural Diaper Rash Treatment Recipe #3: Basic Baby Powder
Something stinks about the fragrances used in personal care products such as baby powder, says the Environmental Working Group. According to them, a 1973 law which required companies to disclose the ingredients in their formulas conveniently left off fragrance. Thanks to this loophole, manufacturers can hide secret, untested chemicals just by labeling them as “fragrance.”
According to their report on perfumes and colognes, “The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances [66%] that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.” (Source 1, Source 2)
They then go on to note that these chemicals are also found in other personal care products containing fragrance.
In addition to fragrance, the **only** other ingredient used in one of the most popular baby powder brands has problems of its own. Talcum powder is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” when applied to the genital region, says The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization. (Source)
Though the options sold in health food stores are usually much safer, most contain cornstarch. In cases where the rash is due to an overgrowth of yeast, cornstarch will actually feed the yeast and make the rash worse.
So what should be used instead? For babies over three months old, I personally use bentonite clay.* It’s anti-microbial, excellent at drawing out toxins, and also keeps baby’s bum dry.
Note for cloth diapering mamas: This powder is compatible with cloth dipes.
- 1⁄2 cup bentonite clay powder (where to buy bentonite clay)
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, optional. Makes the texture more fine.* (where to buy arrowroot powder)
* Like cornstarch, arrowroot powder is a starch and can help feed yeast. Since it’s not the primary ingredient in this recipe I don’t know that it would cause a problem for yeast-based rashes, but if you suspect yeast you may want to omit it.
- A large, clean spice jar with holes on top for sprinkling the powder. (This is the one I have)
How To Use
Powder lightly at every diaper change when a rash is active.
Powders of any kind are not recommended for children under three months because they can inhale particles into their very sensitive lungs. Use only in older babies.
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