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Natural Diaper Rash Treatments: Homemade Cream and Baby Powder Recipes

on | in Natural Remedies | by | with 42 Comments

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As Promised . . .

In my post on decoding diaper rash, here are my three 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 dipes! The Clay Balm is much easier, especially if you sprinkle a nice layer of homemade powder over the top.  Personally, though, I’d use ‘sposies 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.

Not up for making your own? Several parents have reported that tallow balm is ahMAZing for diaper rash and conditions like eczema. (Here are some before/after photos a mama sent to me).

Soothing Baby Bottom Balms

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Natural Diaper Rash Treatment Recipe #1: 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.

Ingredients

* Lavender and tea tree essential oils are considered by some to mimic estrogen. After looking into the study that sparked this claim I have concluded that it was poorly constructed and desperately lacking meaningful analyses. On the other hand, according to three doctors representing Wake Forest, Yale and Harvard respectively, “Traditional use and clinical trials have not suggested estrogenic effects of tea tree or lavender oil, though estrogenic effects have been reported for other essential oils and plants.” You can read more about the original study and subsequent studies here.

To Make

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.

To Use

Apply with clean hands as needed.

Shelf Life

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.

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Natural Diaper Rash Treatment Recipe #2: Antimicrobial Clay Balm

Clay has long been prized for its detoxification properties, and studies are now confirming the wisdom of its use. It has been shown to be effective against candida – the primary cause of yeast rashes – as well as a variety of bacteria, including MRSA. (Source) Personally, I have never found anything that works better than clay, either in this balm or in the powder recipe below.

Ingredients

To Make

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 or bentonite clay and optional essential oils (if desired). Mix thoroughly.

To Use

Apply with clean hands as needed.

Shelf Life

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.

* * Lavender and tea tree essential oils are considered by some to mimic estrogen. After looking into the study that sparked this claim I have concluded that it was poorly constructed and desperately lacking meaningful analyses. On the other hand, according to three doctors representing Wake Forest, Yale and Harvard respectively, “Traditional use and clinical trials have not suggested estrogenic effects of tea tree or lavender oil, though estrogenic effects have been reported for other essential oils and plants.” You can read more about the original study and subsequent studies here.

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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.

Ingredients

* 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.

Equipment

How To Use

Powder lightly at every diaper change when a rash is active.

*Special Notes

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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42 Responses to Natural Diaper Rash Treatments: Homemade Cream and Baby Powder Recipes

  1. Noelle says:

    this is so great, thank you! currently my baby has a bad rash from a food intolerance, but I don’t have any shea butter on hand, can I mix some clay and coconut oil for now until I get some, will that work?

  2. Sharon says:

    Where can the clay be purchased?

  3. Beau T says:

    Nice article, however I recently learned that just as lavender essential oil is a hormone disrupter, so is tea tree oil!! I noticed you mentioned it in recipe #2. I read that it increases estrogen levels. I’ve been putting it in my newborn’s home made baby wipes but will be changing that now.

  4. Kristi L says:

    Unfortunately, my daughter is allergic to coconut oil, is there another that you would recommend? She is also, unfortunately, allergic to lavender (believe me, it has been a major bummer trying to find alternative products because so many ‘natural’ diaper creams are made with one or both), so does it matter if I only use tea tree oil even if her rashes aren’t from yeast/bacteria?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Kristi! You could use olive oil, but I would probably cut the amount in half because it is liquid at room temp instead of solid. It will reduce the shelf life, so you might consider making small batches more frequently. As far as essential oils, it’s totally fine to use just tea tree, but it may be drying if used on a continual basis.

  5. Emily says:

    I’m interested in why you put the zinc in. I’ve only known it to be used for sunscreen. I use coconut oil and tea tree oil for my son’s rashes. Works great. Each treatment depends on the type of rash. I would do something different for yeast versus bacterial versus ammonia burn.

    • Heather says:

      Zinc is helpful because it coats the skin with a protective barrier. In cases where the problem is diarrhea or another outside irritant this can be especially helpful, but it is also used simply to protect the skin and give it time to heal.

  6. Kindra says:

    I saw all your recipes and what a great find. I wanted to tell you about another diaper rash fixer I learned from a friend. She uses browned flour. She said you put plain flour in a skillet and cook on low until browned, stirring constantly. When done, let cool and put in a shaker jar. Shake onto baby’s bottom and the rash is gone in like 1-2 days at most. It is amazing. You could even use organic flour if you wanted to.

  7. Kelley says:

    Awesome! Can you use this (particularly the clay) with cloth diapers?

  8. Amina says:

    Great recipes! Can’t wait to try these. Can you also add lavender essential oil to the powder recipe?

  9. Janie says:

    Just a thought…I think my sweet babe got diaper rash because of homemade baby powder using arrowroot as the main ingredient with a bit of chamomile. When he got a rash I used more powder and it got worse. It seemed to be the yeast kind of rash though he never had thrush and I had used GAPS probiotics for improving good bacteria in the birth canal. At that point, (nearly panicking!) I sought out as much info on natural methods as I could find–baking soda in water, egg white dabbed on with cotton balls (mid-wife’s suggestion), natural balm made of beeswax essential oils and hypericum (homemade by friend of friend) and tincture of calendula flowers (probably other things I can’t remember!). Not sure what actually worked in the end but I stopped using the powder and he’s been fine ever since. I also switched my cloth diapers from microfiber to cotton. I never felt good about the microfiber.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Thanks for these awesome recipes! Though I was wondering where do you get your containers and cute labels?

  11. Kayla says:

    I wonder what would happen if I combined the two balm recipes and used zinc oxide and the clay in the same balm?

  12. Terry Todd says:

    I also have made a powder that helps with rashes for anyone. Regular flour, a fring pan. you just toast the flour, let cool, then put it in something that will shake it out. You can feel the relief of the rash right away.

  13. Ashley says:

    I just battled my 16 month olds first diaper rash. I mixed extra virgin coconut oil with lavender, tea tree, and doterra’s balance blend. It worked wonderfully. Less than a tiny pea size amount is all that whas needed and it cleared up in less than two days. I cant wait to make a bigger batch using clay! Thank you for sharing!

  14. hannah says:

    Are these recipes cloth diaper safe?

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Hannah – Though it IS possible, the Protective Barrier Balm is very difficult to get out of cloth dipes. The Clay Balm is much easier, especially if you sprinkle a nice layer of homemade powder over the top. Personally, though, I’d use ‘sposies 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 as a balm along with the powder recipe below.

  15. Caitiln says:

    Can I use rhassoul clay instead of bentonite clay? It’s what I’ve got.

    • Heather says:

      I haven’t tried it, but I would think so. You may need to experiment a bit to get the texture right since they absorb a little differently. On another note, I love rhassoul clay! I wash my hair with it :)

  16. Ariane says:

    Hi, I made the clay balm, but it has hardened so much that it’s difficult to spread it on the skin, any solution? I don’t want to waste this batch. I think next time it would be better to just whip the shea butter so that it doesn’t become hard like mine..

    • Callista says:

      I also made it and it has become rocks hard even though it is sealed in a container. I did whip the Shea butter so I’m trying to think what I could do to keep this softer.

      • Heather says:

        Hmmm, I have not had this issue – so sorry you have! I imagine it would become pretty hard if kept in a very cool area, but if that’s not the case I wonder if it may just be a natural variation in your materials. Some shea butters are harder than others and some clays are more absorbent than others. The good news is that if you use a spoon to scoop a little bit out and warm it on your fingertips it should be very easy to apply.

  17. Anna says:

    I want to make these for my sister who is expecting. :) Heather, where did you get those containers?
    Hmm for people wondering what to use I might even try looking at salvation army for something, and just cleaning them out really well. I always find really cute containers there!

  18. […] DIY project and photo credit to mommypotamus.com […]

  19. […] Natural Diaper Rash Balm by Mommypotamus […]

  20. Andrea says:

    This may be a silly question but where I live it is very difficult to find bentonite clay and shipping takes a very long time. Anyways, my son (5 months) has an awful rash and I’ve got some peppermint earthpaste on hand, do you think I could use some of that on his rash?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Andrea, peppermint essential oil is not recommended for children under five. I can’t recall the other ingredients in Earthpaste but other than that I don’t see an issue.

  21. Tristan says:

    The bentonite clay is thick and wet, how can I mix it with the arrowhead to make a powder?? Because the one you posted on amazon is a wet clay or should I find a powder clay…im confused can you please help me?????

  22. Diana says:

    Hi Heather,
    I just made the clay recipe tonight with some clay I had on hand (Redmond I think?) and it seems very gritty – is it supposed to feel like that? Is the kind in your link from amazon finer / smoother in the diaper cream? Thanks for all the recipes!

  23. grier says:

    Hi Mommypotomus
    I recently made the Protective Barrier Cream with shea butter, coconut oil, camomile and zinc powder, the problem being that I only used 10g of zinc as that was all I had. I have 2 problems with it, the first being that the cream is more like a butter, it melts immediately on contact with the skin, meaning that I don’t think it will combat my daughter’s rash very well. The second problem is that the zinc powder seems to have formed into tiny clumps meaning that it feels very gritty, the ‘grits’ don’t break down when I try and squash them between my fingers, so I am hoping they are not uncomfortable in her nappy! Is there anything you can suggest to make the cream more suitable? I don’t want to throw it away but at the moment it isn’t really working, probably my own fault!

  24. […] Natural baby rash balm and baby powder recipe from Mommy Potamus […]

  25. Christy says:

    I’m so excited to make this clay diaper balm for my babies! I noticed the non-nano zinc oxide is no longer available on amazon or through Better Shea Butter. I tried looking for other options but no success! Do you have any recommendations of where else I could look for the lead free, non-nano zinc oxide? Thank you so much!!

  26. […] This can be a little tricky, given that there are lots of possible causes of diaper rash. No fear, though! Today I’ll explain how to identify some of the most common culprits, then we’ll talk about natural treatment options. […]

  27. Andie S. says:

    Is it ok to leave the clay balm on my son’s skin overnight? Does the tingly sensation bother them? According to the directions on clay container its meant to be washed off after application.

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