Do Cloth Diapers Prevent Diaper Rash?
My hunch is that cloth diapers are less likely to cause diaper rash than are disposables because cotton is more breathable than plastic, but I haven’t found studies to support this idea.
Note: If you are using cloth diapers, you’ll want to avoid any diaper rash cream that contains zinc, as it can build up in the diaper and render it less effective. I’ve indicated below which rash treatments have zinc.
Coconut as Cure-All
I tend to think of coconut oil as a reasonable first-try cure for most ailments, and diaper rash is no exception. Try smearing a little on your baby’s bottom with a Q-tip.
If you want a rash treatment more tailored for tushies, click on the Good Stuff tab below.
The Good Stuff
This popular diaper cream relies on beeswax, watercress, and vitamin E to soothe sore bums and create a moisture barrier. This cream contains contain zinc oxide, but Babo founder Kate Solomon says they have tested the cream on cloth diapers and it rinsed out completely, leaving no residue.
How to Get: We now offer Babo in our online store, where you’ll pay $13 for a 3-ounce tube.
Kimberly Parry Organics Bum Butter has an entirely safe list of ingredients, which include natural soothers like olive oil and chamomile. Unfortunately, I can only find it at online retailers.
How to Get: Amazon. You’ll pay $20 for a 4-ounce tub.
California Baby Diaper Rash Cream scores a 2 on EWG’s Skin Deep database because it contains lanolin (the others on this list all score a zero if they have been reviewed by EWG.) All the other ingredients in the California Baby cream are safe, and it’s a long list of them—everything from tea tree oil to wild pansy extract. I am including it here for those of you who are okay with lanolin, which is effective in serious cases of diaper rash. CONTAINS ZINC (which will ruin cloth diapers).
How to Get: Amazon, Whole Foods, and many other retailers. You’ll pay about $12 for a 2.9-ounce tube.
Miessence makes a Baby Bottom Mist that contains many of the same ingredients as the Kimberly Parry cream. It’s also expensive ($18 for an ounce), but I like that it is sprayed on, sparing sore tushies further abrasion.
How to Get: Online, where you’ll pay $18 for a 1-ounce bottle.
Sierra Sage Baby Balm is free of lanolin and all ingredients are organic (including olive oil, calendula, beeswax, and chamomile). This balm doubles as a cradle cap and dry skin treatment, and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback, with more than one customer calling it a “miracle” product.
How to Get: Gimme the Good Stuff’s online store. You’ll pay $13 for 2 ounces of this cloth-diaper safe cream.
Mom of 11 Kids No Time for Diaper Rash is all natural, with plant-based ingredients like beeswax and coconut oil.
How to Get: Amazon
My Baby’s Bottom has a formula blend of coconut oil, zinc oxide, and essential oil that helps calm and soothe the skin. Even though it started out as a diaper cream, it’s become a multi-purposed, “life saving miracle worker” for skin issues for people of all ages: psoriasis, eczema, chaffing, jock itch, razor burn, after waxing and minor skin procedures, even athlete’s foot, rosacea, and bug bites. I was sent a sample of this product, which I used on my own arms since I no longer have a baby in diapers! So, while I cannot attest to it’s effectiveness, it had a nice feel and a pleasant smell.
How to Get: Amazon
The Bad Stuff
Palmer’s Diaper Rash Cream and Bottom Butter, including the cocoa butter formulation, contains fragrance, but aluminum starch octenylsuccinate is a bigger concern (it’s linked to developmental, reproductive, organ system, and neural toxicity). Palmer’s products also contain many of the usual suspects, such as parabens.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is made almost entirely of petroleum derivatives, including paraffin, petrolatum, and mineral oil.
The Sneaky Stuff
Avalon Organics makes a diaper balm that contains retinyl palmitate (linked with cancer and reproductive toxicity).
What a disappointment to those of us who forever trusted Weleda to learn that their Calendula Diaper Care contains a handful of toxic ingredients (like limonene and geraniol, along with lanolin), and is rated a 4 out of 10 (“moderately hazardous”) on Skin Deep.
Note: Weleda sent me free diaper cream to review. I don’t know if I need to disclose this since I’m giving them a bad review, but I’m covering my butt! Hehe.
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