What is the best treatment for diaper rash?
Barrier creams are often very effective in the early stages of diaper rash and help to protect the sore skin from contact with a wet or dirty diaper. Zinc oxide (Balmex, Desitin, Triple Paste) is the active ingredient in many diaper rash creams. Ask your pediatrician or pharmacist to recommend a barrier cream as some are not suitable for babies.

If the rash gets very sore or won’t go away, or if the skin is broken and infected, ask your pediatrician for advice. Your baby may need a cream or medicine that can usually clear any irritation. An antifungal cream may be prescribed if thrush is present. Antifungal creams used to treat diaper rash may contain clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) or miconazole (Lotrimin AF Powder). Some antifungal creams are available over the counter. If the diaper area is inflamed as well as infected the doctor may prescribe a cream containing an antifungal and a steroid. In more severe cases, leaving your baby to kick on a dry open diaper in a warm place as much as possible allows the air to get to the skin and will make the rash heal more quickly. In older infants, it is also helpful to leave the diapers off as much as possible.

Self-help measures

  • Change your baby’s diaper often to keep the skin in the diaper area dry and clean
  • When you change your baby’s diaper use a soft rag and warm water or baby wipes
  • Make sure your baby is clean and dry before putting him/her down to sleep
  • Use a barrier cream and diaper liners if your baby has diaper rash
  • If the rash lasts for more than three days ask your pediatrician to check your baby
  • Tell your doctor if your baby has a skin problem on any other area of their body

Last Reviewed: May 2013