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Home Remedies for Diaper Rash (Nappy Rash)

Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.

The best home remedies for diaper rash that are tried, tested, and proven to work quickly and safely to relieve baby's discomfort.

The best home remedies for diaper rash that are tried, tested, and proven to work quickly and safely to relieve baby's discomfort.

Over my years as a mother and grandmother, I have collected the best home remedies for diaper rash. So, if your baby is suffering from this problem and you have tried other remedies without success, I hope that you will find a solution that works on this page.

Home remedies are very popular—not just because they cost less but also because parents want to use gentle, effective solutions on their child's skin.

Below, you will find. . .

  • the causes of diaper rash (what to avoid)
  • how to identify a rash (what it looks like)
  • how to clean and dry the area to avoid and treat a rash
  • a discussion of the different home remedies you might try (with my top tips).

The Causes of Diaper Rash

Babies can get nappy rash (as it is referred to here in the UK) for many reasons. It is a form of dermatitis, a medical term meaning skin (derma) inflammation (itis).

The picture below shows a sore, inflamed rash on the diaper area. The warm, damp conditions mixed with bacteria, yeasts, and fungal spores make the inside of a diaper an almost inevitable place for skin irritation to occur. The severity of the rash can range from mild and general reddening of the skin, through a more pronounced and irritated rash, to skin blistering with bleeding sores.

Babies living it hot and humid climates might be more prone to rashes, but there are many other contributing factors. New foods introduced to the diet such as acidic fruits or juices, allergies to a new brand of disposable diapers, irritation caused by laundry soap. . . the list goes on and on!

Frequent nappy changes, avoiding using commercial disposable wipes containing alcohol or other irritants, and allowing your baby to spend time without a nappy can all help. However, if your baby already has a rash, here is my pick of the very best home remedy treatments.

What Does a Diaper Rash Look Like?

This baby's bottom is sore and irritated with a diaper rash.

This baby's bottom is sore and irritated with a diaper rash.

How to Clean and Dry Your Baby's Bottom to Avoid Rash

The first step in treating diaper rash is the same as the most important step in preventing it: Cleaning and drying your baby's bottom.

  • Avoid harsh ingredients. The best way to clean the diaper area is to avoid all commercial baby wipes that might irritate your baby's delicate skin and this is especially the case with any wipes that contain alcohol.
  • Instead of wipes, use a soft washcloth with plain water and a couple of drops of very gentle baby soap, being sure to rinse well. If there is already a rash, you could omit the soap, as it can sting!
  • Use a vinegar solution. Urine on the skin is very alkaline and can burn baby's delicate skin. You can neutralize this acid by diluting one part white vinegar with about ten parts cool water and dabbing this on the skin.
  • Dry baby's bottom by patting with a soft towel or blowing with a hair dryer, being sure that the heat setting is warm and not too hot.
  • Air it all out. Delay putting on a clean nappy for a short while so that air can circulate freely and complete the drying process.
  • Use the home remedies described below.

My Top Tip: Use Cloths Instead of Wipes

When you leave home, take a supply of washcloths already prepared for washing your baby's bottom. Individually seal each prepared washcloth in a zip-lock bag; these can be resealed in the bag after use and washed later. This is much more environmentally friendly than disposable baby wipes and you know there are no chemicals or fragrances added that could irritate a baby's skin.

The Best Home Remedy for Diaper Rash: Breast Milk

If you are breastfeeding, you may not realize that you have the perfect home remedy for treating diaper rash.

  • Apply the breast milk after thoroughly cleaning and drying your baby's bottom.
  • Because breast milk is packed with antibodies, it will heal skin and soothe irritation without risk of allergic reaction. Just apply it to a cotton ball and dab it onto the baby's clean skin.
  • Allow to air dry before putting on a clean diaper.
  • If you prefer, you can apply a barrier cream such as lanolin once the breast milk has dried onto the skin.
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Read More From Wehavekids

Breastmilk can be used fresh or frozen—it really does not matter for this purpose.

Other First-Aid Uses for Breast Milk

Did you know that if your baby has a sticky eye, you can safely cleanse and soothe this with a cotton ball dipped in breast milk? For other skin problems such as eczema and baby acne, applying breast milk and allowing it to air dry will soothe and heal the skin and the natural moisturizers it contains will prevent skin from drying out and cracking.

home-remedies-for-diaper-rash

Home Remedy Ingredients to Treat Diaper Rash

  • Baking soda is a safe, natural ingredient to add to bathwater to soothe and heal diaper rash.
  • Oatmeal added to bathwater is wonderfully soothing and healing. To avoid bits of oatmeal sticking to the baby's skin (and your bathtub), tie a good cup of oatmeal in a muslin or cheesecloth bag and place it in the water.
  • Chamomile. Make two pints of very strong chamomile tea made with up to twelve teabags. Allow this to cool, then add it to the baby's bathwater and allow your baby to soak for about twenty minutes.
  • Raw honey. Honey is great for healing wounds and burns. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it perfect for treating diaper rash at home.
  • Shortening or lard. To prevent or heal diaper rash, an effective and really cheap method is to use shortening or lard as an ointment. Allow it to come to room temperature before use and even soften in the microwave for just a couple of seconds to make it easy to apply in cold weather (no longer or you will have a liquid mess!).
  • Coconut oil. Instead of diaper cream, apply coconut oil to baby's clean, dry bottom.

You can combine these methods and use them all at once: Use oatmeal on its own or in combination with baking soda and/or chamomile to soothe your baby's bum.

How to Make a Soothing Salve for Your Baby's Sore Bottom

  1. Make a strong cup of tea using chamomile teabags.
  2. Mix in a handful of fine oatmeal and stir to form a paste that you can apply gently to the area of the rash.
  3. Pop a clean diaper on over the top so that the salve can stay on baby's skin for around half an hour.
  4. Rinse with tepid water and dry carefully.

This can be repeated as necessary until the rash is gone.

Home Remedies to Use With Caution

  • I have also heard of using raw egg white applied to the area of the rash. Whilst there is some anecdotal evidence about the effectiveness of this method, there are also warnings. I would advise caution and would definitely not use it if the skin is broken at all.
  • Corn starch applied to baby's bottom is recommended as being a safe and effective treatment by many moms and grandmoms. However, there could be a problem if the diaper rash is caused by a yeast infection, as corn starch could make things worse.

Over-the-Counter Diaper Creams

Many pediatricians advise applying a diaper ointment or cream that will provide a barrier that prevents the urine or stools from touching the skin and causing irritation. This should always be applied to clean, dry skin and it can be used with the breast milk remedy mentioned above (just apply it once the milk has dried on the skin). Any cream containing zinc oxide will be effective. If a rash is already present, Neosporin antibiotic ointment will also be effective in healing the skin.

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What If None of These Diaper Rash Remedies Work?

If none of the remedies I have outlined has worked and nothing else you have tried has helped either, it is time to seek medical help.

If your baby is taking prescription medications, these could be causing the problem. They may have a urinary tract infection, an allergy to something you have not yet discovered, or even a yeast infection.

Either way, it is worth getting all this checked out for your own peace of mind and your baby's comfort.

If you have a favorite treatment method that I have not mentioned, please do leave me a comment below.

Disclaimer: all of the above remedies have been provided in good faith as tried and tested home remedies but should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Alison Graham

Comments

Alison Graham (author) from UK on January 15, 2014:

Thank you Mz Quene Bee, congratulations on becoming a new Mommy and pleased to hear you found my hub useful.

Thank you cjarosz, please do share your recipe by leaving another comment if you would like to, I will be glad to publish it here.

cjarosz on January 14, 2014:

I have a different diaper rash recipe that I use. However, I know that many of these do work well.

Aquene from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 13, 2014:

Thanks for this hub! I am a new mommy and haven't yet had to contend with diaper rash but I am certainly a fan of holistic remedies so I will keep these in mind should I ever have to relieve my little one's bum bum.

Alison Graham (author) from UK on October 07, 2013:

Hi Jenny-Elizabeth, it is good that you have commented and given a personal experience of using breast milk for diaper rash - I had the feeling that some of my readers didn't really believe it! But, it really does work, doesn't it - and as you say, it is good for goopy eyes, snuffly nose, baby eczema and probably lots of other things too!

Elizabeth Reeve from Cornfields of Indiana on October 07, 2013:

I love that you included Breast Milk because that is exactly what I used with my little ones. There are so many things it helps with, including the goopy eyes.

Alison Graham (author) from UK on October 02, 2013:

Thank you for your comment AUPADHYAY and for the vote up. I hope this hub on natural remedies for diaper rash will become popular as the remedies are effective and could help many moms and their babies.

ANIL KUMAR UPADHYAY from INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH STATE, KANPUR CITY on September 28, 2013:

A very informative and useful hub you have shared alisongraham, thanks for sharing it. Voted it up

Alison Graham (author) from UK on September 28, 2013:

Hi peachpurple, yes I agree, that was a public domain image from Wikimedia but it can be even worse than that with blistering and bleeding. No wonder babies are miserable when they have it. But luckily, it is normally simple to treat and the oatmeal baths bring instant relief to babies suffering from diaper rash.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 28, 2013:

that picture of the baby buttocks was so bad. Must b vy painful.

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