Top 5 Ways to Treat Diaper Rash


A Fortress of Ointment

Sometimes a baby needs a little butt cream.
Sometimes a baby needs a little butt cream.

No matter how often you change your baby's diapers, there will still be plenty of occasion for baby's soft skin to be in contact with a wet diaper. However, by liberally applying ointments that contain either zinc oxide or petroleum, you can create a barrier on your baby's skin that will prevent moisture from coming into contact with it.

Take note: blocking agents, such as creams and ointments, will trap moisture in as well as keep it out, so make sure your baby is completely dry before applying any.

There are a number of medicated products sold over the counter to treat diaper rash. Some of these may contain ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. Check with your pediatrician to learn which one is right for you and yours.

Talc-based powders are carcinogenic and should be avoided, as the fine particles are similar to asbestos in that they can become lodged in body tissues, especially the lungs. If inhaled, talcum powder can also cause pneumonia. For a powdered alternative, corn starch powder reduces friction, but there is ongoing debate about whether it can exacerbate a yeast infection, which oftentimes is mistaken for diaper rash.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • AARP. "Diaper Rash." (Aug. 3, 2009)
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. "Diaper Rash." March 2008. (Aug. 7, 2009)
  • BabyCenter. "Diaper Rash." Oct. 2006. (Aug. 4, 2009)
  • Cancer Prevention Coalition. "Risks of Talcum Powder." (Aug. 7, 2009)
  • C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. "Diaper Rash."
  • KidsHealth. "Diaper Rash." (Aug. 5, 2009)
  • Murkoff, Heidi; Eisenberg, Arlene; Hathaway, Sandee, B.S.N. What to Expect the First Year. Workman Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0761129588, 9780761129585.
  • Neuspiel, Daniel, MD. "Dealing with Diaper Rash." Sept. 20, 2006. (Aug. 7, 2009)


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