Diaper rash can be caused by different things, such as irritation from wetness/urine/feces, sensitivity to the diaper itself, food allergies, or it can be caused by a fungus such as yeast. Depending on the source of the rash (is it just a topical issue or is there an imbalance in the body?), it can be easier or more difficult to address.
You can use OTC diaper rash creams, but most of them have undesirable ingredients. It’s true that what you put on your baby’s skin will be partially absorbed into his blood and lymph systems. As a result, only nourishing substances should be used. If you try using diaper rash creams and they don’t work, you’ll want to investigate whether there are food allergies and also consider taking probiotics to address yeast overgrowth (your baby can take infant probiotics!).
The upside with using essential oils is that the oils that will treat a topical rash can also help to address an internal imbalance of bacteria and fungus in the digestive tract. For babies, we don’t want a lot of the oils to be absorbed, so the benefit of using a carrier oil is that it reduces the amount of oil that is absorbed through the skin.
It’s important to note that in the case of diaper rash (and most baby/child skin conditions), more essential oil is not necessarily more effective. In other words, you shouldn’t put essential oil directly on the skin. This isn’t because the oil is dangerous to your baby, it’s because the oil will evaporate very quickly and have a drying effect on the skin, and then whatever is on the skin next (like urine) is more able to be absorbed into the dry skin and can make the rash worse.
Steps to treat diaper rash:
Keep the the diaper area as clean as possible.
Change diapers often (every 2 hours or less.
If you use cloth diapers, switch to disposable, and if you use disposable, switch to cloth temporarily to investigate potential cause.
Clean the diaper area with plain clean water (not wipes and no soap!)
Don’t wipe or rub the area clean, instead dab, blot, rinse, etc.
Let the area dry before you apply anything to it (blow on it)
Massage diaper rash oil/cream onto the area with soft fingertips until it is mostly absorbed
What goes into my diaper rash oil/cream?
Option 1: Carrier oil+ Melrose essential oil
Option 2: Carrier oil + Melrose oil + beeswax
Option 3: Carrier oil + Melrose oil + beeswax + non-nano zinc oxide
Option 1 is obviously the simplest. I stick to this one at first to see if it will work. If it doesn’t, I make a batch with beeswax. The beeswax provides a physical barrier so the urine and feces don’t come in direct contact with the skin. If this doesn’t work, adding zinc oxide can provide another level of physical protection.
In my experience, the zinc oxide had a drying effect on Evan’s skin. If the rash wasn’t bad at all, it could eliminate it in a few hours, but the worse the rash was, the less it worked—and it made his skin very red and flaky. So, as with any of the “recipes,” it’s important to note that different rashes will react differently to what you put on it.
Choices for carrier oils:
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Wheat germ oil (skin test this one first)
My favorite carrier oil for diaper rash is jojoba oil! It most closely resembles natural oils produced by the skin, and in our experience it yielded the fastest results.
You can also add a touch of caster oil if you like. This oil can be tacky to the touch, but it provides a nice barrier and it is nourishing to the skin. Just don’t use it on broken skin.
Substitutions you can try instead of Melrose oil include:
- Tea tree oil, naouli, rosemary, and clove (this is what’s in Melrose)
- Lavender and tea tree oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender and Chamomile (roman or german)
The formulation that works best for us right now at 3 and a half months old:
1 Tbsp carrier oils + 1 drop essential oil
(You can be more specific with dilution by age if you want to–just check out the dilution chart here)
Choose your oils and ingredients. Add all ingredients except essential oils and zinc oxide to a double boiler. Heat until melted. You’ll need to add the zinc oxide slowly if you use it and whisk it in until smooth. Add essential oils, stir, and store in a glass container.
I use two versions of this. One has zinc oxide in it (for a barrier at night), and the other does not. I have used beeswax in some batches, and it was just fine but when I was lazy and didn’t add it the cream still worked well—we cured our rash without it, but some people swear by beeswax stating that it creates a great physical barrier.
I use 4oz mason jars. Find them here (affiliate link).
Apply at every diaper change!
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.