As I mentioned in this post on decoding diaper rash, creating a protective moisture barrier is one of the best ways to soothe an irritated tushie. Unlike its popular commercial counterpart, this homemade diaper rash cream doesn’t contain skin irritants like petrolatum, dimethicone, or mineral oil.
One quick note for cloth diapering mamas before we jump in: Although it is possible, this recipe is very difficult to get out of cloth diapers. If you want to stick with cloth diapers I recommend going with this clay-based diaper cream, tallow balm, or calendula salve along with a layer of homemade baby powder over the top after application.
If you opt for the recipe below, I recommend using eco-friendli(er) disposable diapers during the treatment process and thoroughly disinfecting 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 my homemade baby powder.
Should essential oils be added?
As I shared in Safe Essential Oils For Babies And Children, I personally would not apply essential oils topically to a child under three months old, and I only consider topical application for children under two when there is a true reason.
According to Robert Tisserand, who co-authored Essential Oil Safety:
Great caution is necessary for infants. Since neonatal skin does not mature until three months of age, it is more sensitive and more permeable to essential oils. A newborn is also less equipped to deal with any adverse effect than an adult because of a lower metabolic capacity, i.e., enzymes present in lower concentrations. These cautions apply even more to premature babies, and here it would be prudent to avoid use of all essential oils.”
In the recipe below, I’ve diluted the essential oils to 0.25% – the recommended amount for children from 3-24 months. However, in some cases it may be appropriate to use the maximum amount recommended, which is 0.5% (double the number of drops). Or you can skip them completely – it’s up to you!
Homemade Diaper Rash Cream – Soothing Bottom Balm
- 1/4 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.)
- 1 tablespoon 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.)
- 2-3 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.)
- 2 drops lavender essential oil, optional. Can substitute tea tree if yeast/bacteria is suspected.* (where to buy lavender essential oil, where to buy tea tree essential oil)
- 2 drops chamomile essential oil, optional. Can substitute tea tree if yeast/bacteria is suspected. (where to buy chamomile essential oil, where to buy tea tree essential oil)
Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and whip with a hand mixer until well combined. Store in a clean glass jar.
Apply with clean hands as needed. I usually sprinkle a little homemade baby powder over the area as well.
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.