7 Causes of Diaper Rash and How to Treat Them Naturally

Heather Dessinger

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Baby in cloth diaper with diaper rash

Eat. Sleep. Pee. Poop. Repeat. It’s a pretty smooth system . . . for babies anyway! For new mamas and papas there are usually a **few** more things involved, like:

  • Learning to eat everything cold with one hand
  • Waking up from a sleep coma only to realize you left the car running in the driveway
  • Perfecting the art of hip healthy swaddling
  • Decoding diaper rash

That last one can be especially tricky, given that there are lots of possible causes of diaper rash. Today I’ll explain how to identify some of the most common culprits, plus diaper rash treatments that can help in each situation. Before we do that, though, let’s take a look at some lifestyle changes that help with diaper rash regardless of the cause.

Diaper Rash Treatment & Prevention Tips (Any Cause) ^

  • Frequent diaper changes  – Allow baby’s skin to air dry before putting a diaper on or gently pat dry. Avoid rubbing the skin, which can cause irritation or chafing.
  • Wash your hands before and after each diaper change – If the skin is weakened or broken in any areas, it’s more vulnerable to infection from bacteria on your hands. If the cause of the rash is bacteria or yeast, washing afterwards can help prevent the organisms from spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Avoid wipes that contain alcohol or fragrance – A clean washcloth and plain warm water often works best. If you want to use a cleanser, opt for a gentle soap like this one.
  • Opt for diaper-free time when possible – If the weather is warm, spending some time outside is a great option. Otherwise time indoors on a floor that’s easy to clean will work. Fresh air tends to help speed healing.
  • When wearing a diaper is necessary, use a barrier cream – This  protect irritated skin from moisture. Recipes and links to store-bought options can be found below.

7 Common Diaper Rash Causes & What To Do ^

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics textbook of pediatric care, diaper rash has two main types:

  1. Those that “primarily affect the diaper area and are related to wearing a diaper.”
  2. And those that “are associated with systemic disorders that may involve the perineum,” also known as the baby’s bottom and surrounding area.

It’s super common and – according to the Mayo clinic – can usually be successfully treated at home. (1) Here are eight ways diapers (and other external factors) and systemic factors can contribute to skin irritation.

Cause #1: Infrequent Diaper Changes ^

Before becoming a parent I was sure I’d never miss a change, but yeah, it happened. Sometimes I left the house for a “quick” errand which took much longer than expected, only to get stranded with less-than-adequate supplies. Other times I just missed the signal that a change was needed.

Once I was so excited to get my daughter out for some much-needed park time after the birth of her little brother that I, uhdidn’t notice the funny poop face he made AS SOON AS I put a brand new diaper on him. (Incidentally, I may also not have noticed that my little girl was wearing two right shoes.)

According to a study found in the American Academy of Pediatrics publication, Pediatrics in Review, when the average number of diaper changes per day is eight or more it significantly lowers both the frequency and severity of diaper rash.

Fortunately in my case these occasional oversights rarely resulted in irritation, but when they did it was a very simple fix: more frequent diaper changes and the diaper rash treatments in this post.

Rash Features

Very often, the distinguishing feature of this kind of rash is that it doesn’t show up in skin folds/creases where wetness can’t reach. The skin is usually flat, red and irritated, and may sometimes peel. However, the appearance of the rash can vary from baby to baby.

Things That May Help

This one’s easy – just follow the five essential treatment tips above.

yeast diaper rash treatment
Yeast rashes commonly appear in the diaper area, armpits, on the back of legs, and near the mouth

Cause #2: Diaper Rash and Yeast ^

Yeast infection caused by Candida albicans is one of the most common causes of diaper rash. According to the Mayo Clinic:

Antibiotics kill bacteria — the good kinds as well as the bad. When a baby takes antibiotics, bacteria that keep yeast growth in check may be depleted, resulting in diaper rash due to yeast infection. Antibiotic use also increases the risk of diarrhea. Breast-fed babies whose mothers take antibiotics are also at increased risk of diaper rash.” (1)

Unfortunately, most of us have had more than a few rounds of antibiotics growing up and we may pass on these imbalances via the birthing process. Did you have any idea? I certainly didn’t when my first child was born. I have since learned that there are things we can do to increase the quality of the gut microbiota they receive from us, but we all do the best we can with the information we have at the time.

Antibiotics administered during birth can have the same effect as antibiotics administered directly to baby or indirectly via mom while she is breastfeeding. When overgrowth in babies occurs it can sometimes lead to diaper rush, other times thrush, and sometimes both.

Yeast Rash Features

Yeasty rashes may have red bumps or pustules that look like pimples. According to Stanford Children’s Health, it “usually begins in the creases or folds of the thighs and in the diaper area, and then spreads. The rash is usually a deep red, shiny rash with red, satellite lesions. This type of rash may be associated with thrush, a yeast infection in the baby’s mouth.” (2)

Yeast Diaper Rash: Things That May Help

  • Avoid cornstarch if a yeast infection is suspected – It can feed the yeast and perpetuate the rash.
  • Probiotics  – Look for one specially formulated for babies
  • Apply unsweetened yogurt as you would diaper cream – Make sure skin is dry before application. Start by applying at every change, then spread out applications as needed.
  • Apple cider vinegar – According to Medical News Today, adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a toddler’s bath water can help with yeast rashes
  • Tea tree essential oil diluted in coconut oil – Many parents report success with applying 5 drops tea tree oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Notes: Do not apply undiluted tea tree oil to irritated skin – it will burn!

Preventing Yeast Reinfection

According to this post, “Yeast bacteria can live up to 5 days on baby’s skin and clothes even after the rash has cleared. Be sure to disinfect baby’s diapers, clothes, and sheets in between uses and up to 5 days after the rash has cleared to prevent reoccurrence.” Here are some ideas for disinfecting your laundry:

  • Diaper Stripping – If you use cloth diapers you may need to strip them. Here’s how to do that – some suggestions are greener than others.
  • Oxygen Bleach such as OxiClean Free – “Oxygenated Bleaches/Non Chlorine Bleach (Sodium Percarbonate): is effective against bacteria and fungal yeast, and can be used at lower temperatures but is considered ” more effective when used in hot water 130º F.”(1) Concentrations for effective disinfecting are not documented. Some oxygenated bleaches are loaded with other additives. We suggest you read your labels well and find one without fillers and fragrance and that has a high percentage of Sodium Percarbonate.” (3)
  • Sun – Exposing your dipes to sunlight will help with the disinfection process.
  • Bleach – If your dipes continue to cause issues chlorine bleach may be a last resort. Here’s how to use it.
diaper rash causes treatment teething

Cause #3: Diaper Rash From Teething Or Illness ^

Though we’re not exactly sure why, diarrhea sometimes accompanies teething. Some people think it’s because babies drool more when teething, and swallowing excessive drool loosens the bowels. Illness is another factor that can lead to diarrhea. Whatever the cause, diarrhea sometimes happens, and it can irritate baby’s skin and lead to a rash.

Teething or Illness Rash Features


Things That May Help

Comfort measures for teething may reduce drooling, which may in turn ease diarrhea

Cause #4: New Foods, Food Sensitivities & Allergic Reactions to Foods ^

The most common age for babies to get diaper rash is 9-12 months, which is probably because babies are increasing solid food intake around this age. (4)

Acidic foods like tomato and citrus can cause irritation, as can foods to which the baby is sensitive or allergic. If baby is breastfed, certain foods consumed by mama can also cause irritation.

May look like a red ring around baby’s anus. However, the appearance can vary from baby to baby.

Things That May Help

Remove suspected foods from the diet. For more information on food sensitivities, check out Gut & Psychology Syndrome.

Cause #5: Baby Wipes, Diaper Type, Detergents And/Or Fabrics ^

If you’re using cloth diapers, leftover detergent residue and/or the chemicals in detergents and fabric softeners can be irritating to baby’s skin. Other possible culprits are the type of fabric used and/or baby wipes, bath products and creams.

When using disposable diapers, rashes can result from an allergic reaction to the gel commonly used to soak up liquid or another material. Even when the same diaper brand has been used for awhile, this is a possibility to consider for two reasons:

  • Sensitization (becoming sensitive to a particular substance) can occur over a period of time, so the reaction might not show up right away
  • Manufacturers sometimes change materials and/or suppliers, so even if the diapers look the same something may have changed.

External Irritant Rash Features


Things That May Help

  • Use a natural laundry detergent
  • If you use cloth diapers you may need to strip them. Here’s how to do that – some suggestions are greener than others. Consider switching to disposables temporarily until the cloth diapers have been thoroughly sanitized.
  • If you’re using disposable diapers or wipes, consider trying a new brand.

Cause #6: Bacterial Infection ^

Sometimes a regular ole rash can become vulnerable to bacteria, which of course love warm, moist environments like diapers. According to the Mayo Clinic:

What begins as a simple skin infection may spread to the surrounding region. The area covered by a diaper — buttocks, thighs and genitals — is especially vulnerable because it’s warm and moist, making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. These rashes can be found within the creases of the skin, and there may be red dots scattered around the creases.” (1)

Bacterial Rash Features

Varies. May possibly have pus, raw skin, red dots or raised patches that ooze.

Impetigo, which is caused by bacteria, has some unique features. “Impetigo is a bacterial infection that can develop in the diaper area, as well as other areas of the body. It is usually caused by bacteria that normally live on the skin; infection can develop when there is a break in the skin. Signs of impetigo include tiny (1 to 2 millimeter) raised yellow fluid-filled areas and honey-colored crusted lesions; the lesions may be itchy and/or painful.” (5)

Things That May Help

Tea tree oil diluted in coconut oil. Many parents report success with applying 5 drops tea tree oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Notes: Do not apply undiluted tea tree oil to irritated skin – it will burn!

#7: Gut Imbalance ^

Gut flora imbalances can lead to diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis and other conditions. (5)  Diarrhea, which can be the result of a gut imbalance, can be a cause in many cases.

Gut imbalances may be related to yeast overgrowth or another organism. Identifying them may require the help of a qualified health care professional.

Things That May Help

  • Seeking the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider to correct the imbalance
  • Probiotics specially formulated for babies
natural diaper rash treatment

Home Remedies for Diaper Rash (Mama-Tested & Research-Backed) ^

Below are my five favorite home remedies for diaper rash. I’ve included a variety of recipe options so that you can use what’s already in your pantry and/or ingredients you can find locally when possible.

Each one is super easy to make and free of petroleum jelly, dimethicone, mineral oil and other ingredients often found in commercial formulas. If you don’t want to DIY, you’ll also find some some natural pre-made recommendations at the bottom of the post.

Important note on using barrier creams: Make sure to completely dry the area before you apply the barrier cream. Wiping with a warm, soft washcloth or a dampened soft paper towel is less irritating than prepackaged wipes. If the area is really irritated, use a squirt bottle and gently rinse away the mess over the sink or bathtub.

To help heal the skin: Clean with a mild natural soap, then soak the area in plain lukewarm bath water with 1/2 cup of epsom salt for 10-15 min at night. After the bath pat the area dry and apply diaper cream if needed. The magnesium sulfate can help soothe the rash within minutes. Can be done once or twice a week.

how to make tallow balm recipe 1

Tallow Balm for Diaper Rash

This stuff is so versatile – it can be used for for dry/chapped skin, diaper rash, and sunburns, and eczema, or as an amazing daily moisturizer for the face and body. To use, apply a thin layer of balm and then follow with my homemade baby powder to create a protective moisture barrier.

You can make your own tallow balm with this recipe, or buy pre-made tallow balm here. As discussed in this post on safe essential oils for children, a dilution ratio of 0.25% is recommended for babies under two. My friend Emilie (who makes the pre-made tallow balm) sells a 1% dilution which is perfect for older children and face/body care, but for babies I’d opt for her unscented version. My tallow balm tutorial includes instructions for a baby-appropriate dilution.

Where to buy pre-made tallow balm: My friend Emilie sells pre-made tallow balm that’s made from pastured tallow. I recommend using the unscented version as a bottom balm. If you want to try it out, click here and use MOMMYPOTAMUS at checkout for 10% off your first order.

homemade diaper rash cream bottom balm

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream With Zinc Oxide

Infused with zinc oxide – which is the therapeutic ingredient in Desitin – this homemade diaper rash cream provides a protective barrier while soothing irritated tushies. However, unlike its popular commercial counterpart, it doesn’t contain ingredients like petrolatum and “fragrance,” which often includes hormone disrupting phthalates.

Where to buy a pre-made option: This cream is made with clean ingredients.

Diaper Cream Recipe With Bentonite Clay

In one study, babies whose diaper rash was treated with hydrated bentonite clay improved seven times faster within six hours of application than those who were treated with calendula cream. Here’s the clay diaper rash cream recipe I use.

calendula salve recipe

Calendula Salve for Diaper Rash

Although it didn’t perform as well as clay, calendula has been shown to support healing from diaper rash. (source) To incorporate the benefits of clay, apply and top with homemade clay baby powder (recipe below). I keep this Calendula “Everything” Balm on hand because it also works as a face moisturizer, chapped-lip balm, owie salve, burn salve, bug bite balm, and more. Here’s my calendula salve recipe.

Where to buy a pre-made option: I like this one. Another good choice is witch hazel salve.

Homemade Baby Powder Recipe

Hydrated bentonite clay has been shown to improve diaper rash “seven times faster within six hours of application than those who were treated with calendula cream.” I’ve found that it’s the key factor in supporting skin healing, but rather than mixing it with water I prefer to use a soothing balm and then hydrate the clay by allowing it to absorb some of the moisture from the balm. It’s super easy to make into homemade baby powder, and affordable, too!

When To See a Pediatrician ^

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should see a doctor if “your baby’s skin doesn’t improve after a few days of home treatment, talk with your doctor. Sometimes, you’ll need a prescription medication to treat diaper rash.

Have your child examined if the rash:

  • Is severe or unusual
  • Gets worse despite home treatment
  • Bleeds, itches or oozes
  • Causes burning or pain with urination or a bowel movement
  • Is accompanied by a fever” (1)
  • If the skin under the rash seems to be swollen, abnormally hard or tender, as this might be a sign of an infection.

Products Mentioned In This Post

Have you tried a home remedy for diaper rash? What worked for you?

This article was medically reviewed by Madiha Saeed, MD, a board certified family physician. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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1. Mayo Clinic. Diaper Rash.

2. Stanford Children’s Health. Diaper Dermatitis.

3. Pinstripes and Polka Dots. Yeast infection vs. Cloth Diapering.

4. Srisupalak Singalavanija, Ilona J. Frieden (1995) Diaper Dermatitis.

5. Horii, Kimberley A. Patient education: Diaper rash in infants and children (Beyond the Basics).

6. Panahi, Yunes et. al. (2012) A Randomized Comparative Trial on the Therapeutic Efficacy of Topical Aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on Diaper Dermatitis in Children.

7. Campbell-McBride M.D. (2010) Natasha. Gut & Psychology Syndrome.


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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding Mommypotamus.com in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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137 thoughts on “7 Causes of Diaper Rash and How to Treat Them Naturally”

  1. The doctor said my child had peri-anal strep and gave us antibiotics. Sadness! I so didn’t want to use the antibiotics. Wish I had known to use some tea tree oil, I even have it at home.

    • If it makes you feel any better, my son had a strep rash that was insidious and it wasn’t until I had to put him on antibiotics for c.diff that it finally cleared up. He has some scars on his bottom from it. NOTHING natural worked. I am rabidly anti-antibiotic too. It was so bad that it actually lived in the cloth diapers and started to infect my other son a few years later. I had to bleach everything, which I am also VERY against. The solution was the antithesis of everything I believe in.

  2. Thanks for the info! I don’t know why I never thought of ACV on my baby’s bottom.

    I have also heard of using goldenseal powder with coconut oil or butt paste for a strong antimicrobial.

    • DONT put apple code vinegar on a diaper rash!! Are you crazy? This will still and just cause more pain and ongoing discomfort. There are plenty of other remedies that don’t do this. Use your head

      • Adam, in theory it would seem that it’s an acid so it would burn but it will for a moment and then settle, especially while diluted. I swear by it for sore throats and other things. For the ladies-ACV works wonders on yeast infections! It’s the only thing I use. 50/50 water/acv then lay down in the bath tub and pour on outside and inside (I’m sorry if that sounds graphic or TMI but when I was prego there were a few times that I did this and it worked within 12-24 hrs. I didn’t want to take antibiotics especially while pregnant. I’ve not tried it yet on my little one but since she has a diaper rash 3 days in the making and nothing has taken it away, I’m going to give it a go. I also made a spray of witch hazel with a few drops of lavender and tea tree as a spray after I clean her during diaper changes.

        • Many of us thing of any vinegar as being something very acidic, however ACV is recommended for many situations to counter bacteria and acids, even stomach acid. I had GERD after a very rough bought of the stomach flue left my esophagus severely damaged. The indigestion and heartburn were so ridiculously bad that I could not even sleep unless I was sitting upright on the couch. An two months after being diagnosed, I ended up pregnant, so I couldn’t take the prescribed med for GERD to neutralize the overproduction of stomach acid. People gave me all sorts of recommendations, including drinking water with ACV in it. I can rarely even stand the smell of vinegar, let along while fighting morning sickness/nausea, but I always had a strong craving for pickle juice. Believe or not, it helped. 🙂 Vinegar is pretty awesome for a lot of things.

      • I agree. I Had a yeast infection and used diluted acv as directed by another holistic site and it burned the crap out of me..I went running for the shower to wash it off it was so bad…and it was pretty heavily diluted too…please don’t use this for your baby..he or she will be too small to tell u it’s burning…

        • I’m so sorry you had that experience, however I do think little ones are able to tell us when they’re uncomfortable by crying. My kids never had a problem with apple cider vinegar. I can’t say that will be the case for everyone, but it certainly was for them. The pH of skin is pretty acidic, so it is my understanding that very alkaline substances (such as harsh soaps) are more likely to cause discomfort.

          • ok after reading your article i had a huge ahah! moment. Remembering one of my own experiances after taking antibiotics for a serious bout of the flu and a chest infection. I had the worst thrush i could ever believe possible, whent to the doctor to change my medicaton and got a script as well to treat the thrush localy. this made it worse. the cream did not help at alllllll.so the next day, driven insane by burning and itching all the way up inside me and with the skin comming off all the way up to my clitoris by now i ran into an old hippie freind telling her i coudlnt focus on talking as i had to go to the doctors explaining how bad i was. She said one word, natural set yoghurt. I was like um are u kidding?
            she then told me to go buy some, put it in a freezer bag and pipe it inside and smear it outside then put on a sanitary pad and sit as long as possible. by this time i was desperate as nothing the doc prescribed was working and i was litteraly losing my mind with torment so i tried it. The instant it was applied it stung for a millisecond then soothed all the itch out and stayed that way. i left it for half an hour then got rid of it without water and re applied. the next day my problem was almost cleared up. so im wondering if natural set yoghurt with the live cultures and bacteria directly applied to babies would work for that too. its soothing and surprisingly does not turn to disghusting cheese as i expected. im going to try this on my son since nothing else seems to be working. ty for your article.

          • WARNING!!! My 6 month old daughter has a yeast rash she just developed 3 weeks ago. I’ve been taking baths with her putting 2 cups of ACV in the bath tub everyday with no issues. I even have been using 2 table spoons of ACV mixed with 8 oz of water in a squeeze squirt bottle at every diper change at home as a preventive measure because I was given antibiotics in labor.. it seemed like her rash was almost gone but it came back with a vengeance so while we wait for her baby probiotic to come in the mail I thought I’d try the 50/50 ACV and water solution.. It 100% burned when i put it on her rash! I have never heard her cry so loud! I will say the crying was short lived and from one day to the next it appeared that putting such a concentrated mixture did make a noticeable improvement.. but I would like all spead the word that yes, my baby was noticeably in pain. It at this point that you have to weight risk against reward. Maybe start with a 25/75 AVC and water mix and see how your baby reacts, move up from there.

        • best.thing that helps baby bottom feel better from having rash no matter the kind a warm bath with a little Apple cider conifer in bath and home made oatmeal bath just blend regular organic rolled oat oatmeal into powder and add to bath.it’s safe to eat so no worries if you baby wants to drink the water. This has worked for me.every time follow bath with good barrier balm and super free.time . Your babies bottom with feel better In no time.

  3. For a simple rash (infrequent changes + heat + sweat) after/while we were moving, I applied some primrose oil and did a bit of diaper free time on a blanket. Within about a day the rash was pretty non-existent. I also will occasionally put some primrose oil on chafing he gets around his legs. He’s outgrowing some of the cloth diapers, but not completely ready for all the bigger ones :/

  4. Breast milk does a great job. I just squirt a little on whenever my baby’;s bum looks red, let it dry, and put on a little coconut oil. Works great!

  5. pay special attention to what mama is eating…too much acid will cause diaper rash.
    my boy had a extremely bad diaper rash, then I realised I was drinking too much pelligrino and eating too much soft cheese. I cut this out and diaper rash was gone.

  6. i am currently using coconut oil with some lavender essential oil and a bit of beef tallow. it’s great to promote healing and a good coating for protection. it is also very soothing when the bottom is sore.

  7. Anyone that has heard of the Enagic Kangen water processor knows that this incredible machine makes 7 waters that the Japanese have used in their hospitals and homes for 40 years. For diaper rash, Mama would spray the 2.5pH water which kills 99.9% of all bacteria, strep, staph, MRSA, etc. on contact allowing the baby’s skin to stop infecting. Next you would spraying the 11.5pH water to promote healing. And to prevent anymore rash, you would regularly spray the beauty water (6.0pH) to tone and protect the baby’s skin. This is non-toxic, non-invasive and causes no discomfort to the child! An incredible way to have a happy, healthy baby. <3

    • You are crazy! 2.5 pH is pretty much the strength of white distilled vinegar, calling it “water” doesn’t make it any better, it’s an acid. You would be putting undiluted acid on your child’s raw behind! You’re crazy, irresponsible, and providing dangerous information.

      Also, “water” with 11.5pH is the strength of ammonia! Learn your chemistry people! You are dangerous!

  8. Great list! My daughter had a yeast infection on her bottom and I was able to clear it up in 2 weeks switching her off cloth and using coconut oil w/ tea tree. The pediatrician gave me a statin cream but I never had to use it! I feel so powerful when I don’t have to rely on prescriptions!

  9. My babies rarely had rashes. When I saw one coming, I would just change twice as often. I thought putting my son in a disposable would be a good idea and that the diaper would wick away moisture, but the chemicals in the diaper made it worse. As soon as I put him back in cloth, it was gone. Also, if it was “persistent” (meaning I saw the rash for more than two diaper changes), then I would use some sort of barrier like lanolin and it would be gone by the next diaper change.

    I also have to completely agree with Karen Matusow! My babies were very sensitive to things I ate. It’s amazing!

  10. I can’t tell you how long I’ve scoured the internet looking for this exact information. Especially including what exactly the rash is supposed to look like! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  11. this is so great, thank you! currently my baby has a bad rash from a food intolerance, but I don’t have any shea butter on hand, can I mix some clay and coconut oil for now until I get some, will that work?

  12. Nice article, however I recently learned that just as lavender essential oil is a hormone disrupter, so is tea tree oil!! I noticed you mentioned it in recipe #2. I read that it increases estrogen levels. I’ve been putting it in my newborn’s home made baby wipes but will be changing that now.

  13. Unfortunately, my daughter is allergic to coconut oil, is there another that you would recommend? She is also, unfortunately, allergic to lavender (believe me, it has been a major bummer trying to find alternative products because so many ‘natural’ diaper creams are made with one or both), so does it matter if I only use tea tree oil even if her rashes aren’t from yeast/bacteria?

    • Hi Kristi! You could use olive oil, but I would probably cut the amount in half because it is liquid at room temp instead of solid. It will reduce the shelf life, so you might consider making small batches more frequently. As far as essential oils, it’s totally fine to use just tea tree, but it may be drying if used on a continual basis.

        • Absolutely can! Beeswax has antimicrobial properties as well. Caldendula, which is a very mild but powerfully healing herb is antiviral which will kill yeast. I’m dealing with a very resilient yeast rash in my son and the knly thing I’ve found that works is the caldendula. I’ve actually ordered the necessary ingredients tk make my own salve because it’s quite pricy. I’ve just started Appling the bentonite powder today because the rash has again reappeared. I’ve only done bentonite mask/poulice in the diaper area thus far but it is also effective.

  14. I’m interested in why you put the zinc in. I’ve only known it to be used for sunscreen. I use coconut oil and tea tree oil for my son’s rashes. Works great. Each treatment depends on the type of rash. I would do something different for yeast versus bacterial versus ammonia burn.

    • Zinc is helpful because it coats the skin with a protective barrier. In cases where the problem is diarrhea or another outside irritant, this can be especially helpful, but it is also used simply to protect the skin and give it time to heal.

      • Would anyone be able to tell me the procedures in mixing in the zinc oxide safely? I bought the recommend zinc oxide powder, but everything I have read states that it is super dangerous to work with in case of inhalation of the power and the non scented fumes it produces after being heated. What special protective gear and procedures are necessary? Thanks!

  15. I saw all your recipes and what a great find. I wanted to tell you about another diaper rash fixer I learned from a friend. She uses browned flour. She said you put plain flour in a skillet and cook on low until browned, stirring constantly. When done, let cool and put in a shaker jar. Shake onto baby’s bottom and the rash is gone in like 1-2 days at most. It is amazing. You could even use organic flour if you wanted to.

  16. I use Puremedy Baby Salve on my infant for diaper rash, cuts and scratches, AND cradle cap–it works like a charm! Usually one application is all it takes. It’s made with all-natural ingredients including pine resin, so your little one smells like a Christmas tree when you use it! It makes for slightly greasy hair for the first few hours after application for cradle cap, but hey, it works!

  17. Just a thought…I think my sweet babe got diaper rash because of homemade baby powder using arrowroot as the main ingredient with a bit of chamomile. When he got a rash I used more powder and it got worse. It seemed to be the yeast kind of rash though he never had thrush and I had used GAPS probiotics for improving good bacteria in the birth canal. At that point, (nearly panicking!) I sought out as much info on natural methods as I could find–baking soda in water, egg white dabbed on with cotton balls (mid-wife’s suggestion), natural balm made of beeswax essential oils and hypericum (homemade by friend of friend) and tincture of calendula flowers (probably other things I can’t remember!). Not sure what actually worked in the end but I stopped using the powder and he’s been fine ever since. I also switched my cloth diapers from microfiber to cotton. I never felt good about the microfiber.

  18. What a great list! I especially like the rash descriptions. I use my doterra melaleuca (tea tree) oil on open cuts and scrapes all the time without burning. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially with babies. I do always dilute with babies. I read that 300% more melaleuca is sold than what is produced, so maybe that’s where some of the trouble comes in.

  19. My daughter got a staph infection. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. It was six months of doctor visits and her in constant pain. Her diaper area was one giant boil/open sore. Horrible. I tried it all. I did all the topical antibiotics and even one round internally. I tried every cream and product. It lived on. In desperation I tried raw honey with extra propolis. It was magic. I highly recommend trying raw honey on their butt if you have a problem. We have since used it on all diaper problems. I mix it with some tallow and coconut oil and smear it on. Good stuff!

  20. My pediatrician told me the cause of diarrhea while teething is because their saliva becomes more acidic to help the teeth to break through. Weird, huh?

  21. This article is very useful, if you didn’t mind, I’d love to translate this article in my blog, of course I will include the source.You did not mind do you?

  22. I also have made a powder that helps with rashes for anyone. Regular flour, a fring pan. you just toast the flour, let cool, then put it in something that will shake it out. You can feel the relief of the rash right away.

  23. I just battled my 16 month olds first diaper rash. I mixed extra virgin coconut oil with lavender, tea tree, and doterra’s balance blend. It worked wonderfully. Less than a tiny pea size amount is all that whas needed and it cleared up in less than two days. I cant wait to make a bigger batch using clay! Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi, Hannah – Though it IS possible, the Protective Barrier Balm is very difficult to get out of cloth dipes. The Clay Balm is much easier, especially if you sprinkle a nice layer of homemade powder over the top. Personally, though, I’d use ‘sposies during the treatment process and thoroughly disinfect the diapers to prevent possible reinfection. A link to instructions can be found in this post under dealing with yeast rashes.

      Another option would be to use a liner within the diaper, like cut up old t-shirts and then washing them separately. If you want to skip the liners AND stick with cloth diapers, I recommend using straight coconut oil as a balm along with the powder recipe below.

    • I haven’t tried it, but I would think so. You may need to experiment a bit to get the texture right since they absorb a little differently. On another note, I love rhassoul clay! I wash my hair with it ?

  24. Hi, I made the clay balm, but it has hardened so much that it’s difficult to spread it on the skin, any solution? I don’t want to waste this batch. I think next time it would be better to just whip the shea butter so that it doesn’t become hard like mine..

    • I also made it and it has become rocks hard even though it is sealed in a container. I did whip the Shea butter so I’m trying to think what I could do to keep this softer.

      • Hmmm, I have not had this issue – so sorry you have! I imagine it would become pretty hard if kept in a very cool area, but if that’s not the case I wonder if it may just be a natural variation in your materials. Some shea butters are harder than others and some clays are more absorbent than others. The good news is that if you use a spoon to scoop a little bit out and warm it on your fingertips it should be very easy to apply.

  25. I want to make these for my sister who is expecting. ? Heather, where did you get those containers?
    Hmm for people wondering what to use I might even try looking at salvation army for something, and just cleaning them out really well. I always find really cute containers there!

  26. This may be a silly question but where I live it is very difficult to find bentonite clay and shipping takes a very long time. Anyways, my son (5 months) has an awful rash and I’ve got some peppermint Earthpaste on hand, do you think I could use some of that on his rash?

  27. So other than eating right and changing frequently, what do you use for basic, everyday prevention? Would clay powder do the trick, or do you use a type of cream too? I feel silly asking this but it’s all so new and foreign to me! (Baby is not here yet but I’m slowly adding to my cupboard of DIY product ingredients)

    • Hi Catherine, I’ve personally found that if all the likely root causes (listed in the post) are addressed that there isn’t much need for prevention. My little ones had a little rash here and there but for the most part they were fine without the use of balms and powders.

      • Thank you! and thanks so much for all these posts…we used to go to our mothers for tips on mothering, but now so many know nothing about cloth diapers, homemade products, and all the chemicals out there. It takes an (internet) village!

  28. The bentonite clay is thick and wet, how can I mix it with the arrowhead to make a powder?? Because the one you posted on amazon is a wet clay or should I find a powder clay…im confused can you please help me?????

  29. Hi Heather,
    I just made the clay recipe tonight with some clay I had on hand (Redmond I think?) and it seems very gritty – is it supposed to feel like that? Is the kind in your link from amazon finer / smoother in the diaper cream? Thanks for all the recipes!

  30. My daughter had a horrible rash that no creams helped or any brands of diapers.
    The day i switched to cloth diapering, not only her horrible rash was gone in a few days but she never had a rash again.
    I say cloth diapering is the best, there’s no chemicals in the diaper , just cotton 🙂

  31. Fan the fanny! I always always fan my little one’s bum with her diaper til it’s dry before I put it on. Always making sure she’s air-dried before I put her diaper on seems to help.

  32. Hi Mommypotomus
    I recently made the Protective Barrier Cream with shea butter, coconut oil, camomile and zinc powder, the problem being that I only used 10g of zinc as that was all I had. I have 2 problems with it, the first being that the cream is more like a butter, it melts immediately on contact with the skin, meaning that I don’t think it will combat my daughter’s rash very well. The second problem is that the zinc powder seems to have formed into tiny clumps meaning that it feels very gritty, the ‘grits’ don’t break down when I try and squash them between my fingers, so I am hoping they are not uncomfortable in her nappy! Is there anything you can suggest to make the cream more suitable? I don’t want to throw it away but at the moment it isn’t really working, probably my own fault!

  33. I’m so excited to make this clay diaper balm for my babies! I noticed the non-nano zinc oxide is no longer available on amazon or through Better Shea Butter. I tried looking for other options but no success! Do you have any recommendations of where else I could look for the lead free, non-nano zinc oxide? Thank you so much!!

  34. Do you think plain organic yoghurt could work in place of kefir for a yeast infection? I’m nearly certain my 18 month old has a yeast infection and do have yoghurt in the house. I also have Prescript Assist probiotic capsules if you have a suggestion for how to use those (topically? orally?)…
    She’s never had antibiotics and I never had them while pregnant or nursing her, so that part stumps me.
    Do you recommend clay or a powder after every change to keep moisture off her skin?

    • im surprised that yours is the only other mention of the natural set yoghurt I described in my post a while ago. Try it. if its not clearing in leaps and bounds in one day try something else. do not use any soaps only water with a few drops of 100% pure lavender oil in the bath. leave the yoghurt on the erea covered with a nappy or whatever for at least an hour and check it. rinse it only with tepid water and pat dry. is it redder or better after settling from the rinsing? if better apply some more and do it again at least once. Cant hurt and worth a try. I kid you not on my personal experience in my post. instant relief on application of itch and burn.

  35. I been using cloth diapers on LO since he was about 2.5 months. We both shared a really bad case of yeast infection early on, and had to treat it with prescriptions. The oral Nystatin for infants is horrible! It contains sugar, which just feeds what ever yeast survive. The Nystatin cream seemed to work much better on the external yeast infection on his bum. I did have to use spoises while treating that yeast rash. The best that I’ve found are the Andy Pandy Bamboo diapers. They keep his bum dry and are super absorbent.

    We were doing really good at keeping redness away (I credit the wipe solution that I make with chamomile E.O., lavender E.O., and calendula extract) then at around 15 months his molars started to come in and he developed a horrible rash and loose poo. I think the poo caused the rash. I’ve been trying every possible thing to clear this rash up; now I’m onto a clay butt cream. I’ve also started giving him a probiotic. Keeping my fingers crossed that this treatment will show good results, or it’s off to the doctor’s office.

  36. Good article, except, yeast is a fungus, not a bacteria…which a quote from another source stated. Fungus is not difficult to get rid of, but you do have to be vigilant and persistent. 🙂

  37. Is it ok to leave the clay balm on my son’s skin overnight? Does the tingly sensation bother them? According to the directions on clay container its meant to be washed off after application.

  38. My son has had a diaper rash for months. We have even used antifungal cream from pediatrition. Helps, but keeps coming back. He also poops a lot. I’m not sure what the issue is. It may be fungal, bacterial or food sensitivity. My question, however, is this. What probiotic (formulated for infants) do you recommend? Thanks

  39. Hi Heather,
    Just read and pinned the recipes. Great idea. My question: do I use these when actually rash occurs? If so what do you recommend for protection to prevent the rash in the first place. Also should I prepare both the soothing balm and clay balm or choose one?

    • I don’t really use anything as a preventative. We cloth diaper (most of the time) and I’ve found that if we’re changing frequently enough we don’t have a problem with rashes. However, if I was using something regularly it would be the clay balm.

  40. You wrote that you don’t recommend using any kind of powder on babies less than 3 months old. Does this includes arrowroot? If so, what do you recommend.

  41. Try using a blow dryer! Just blow it on low over the area where it never gets dry. Yes, it works because yeast thrives on humidity. THis was my hubby’s idea and it works great–better than creams AND if your baby is collicky the sound of the blow dryer helps to calm them down.

  42. Thank you for this! My 1st baby never had diaper rash (if we noticed a little reddening we’d rub him down with coconut oil and give him naked time), but my second had a bad spot I overlooked. I came to your site for ideas and the “protective barrier balm” did not let me down! In fact, we made one jar with zinc oxide and one jar without (for using on cloth). We also had cocoa butter instead of shea, so the bonus is baby smells yummy!

  43. Much like GRIER, I made the bentonite clay balm with powdered bentonite but sadly it seems very gritty. I am wondering if it is supposed to feel like this and if so, is then going to increase irritation on my little one’s tush? Is there a way to smooth this out – I can only imagine it’s as unpleasant as having sand in my swimsuit! Also, can I use this with every diaper change or should it just be when he has a “breakout”? Thanks!

    • Hi Andrea, it sounds like maybe you might want to try another brand. Some companies grind their clay more finely than others. I just use mine when there is a rash, not as a preventative. You certainly could, though.

  44. These are such great recipe ideas. I was wondering, is there any reason why I couldn’t use cocoa butter instead of shea butter in the Protective Barrier Balm? I just happen to have quite a bit of cocoa butter on hand. Thanks! ?

  45. Hello Heather,

    My poor daughter has been suffering from a yeast rash that will get better then come back! This has been going on for almost 4 weeks. We use cloth diapers and I have been washing correctly with high temps, double washes and double rinses. When the doctor told us it was yeast and how to treat it we switched to disposables (just until it was gone) during all the creams and what not they has us doing. Needless to say the disposables and med creams I swear where burning her! So after 3 weeks we had enough and stopped all the med creams, disposable diapers and went back to cloth and coconut oil. She has gotten a lot better but the yeast is still popping up. I would like to try the clay and I have no problem making it, I have questions on how to store it, apply it to her and if I should apply coconut oil under or over the clay or not at all. Sorry this was so long I am just so lost and feel helpless.

  46. Thanks for the recipe! I made some of the diaper cream almost 2 years ago before my daughter was born and it worked really well. I still have quite a bit of Shea leftover. Mine has an expiration date of 12/2014. Does this stuff really go bad?

  47. Heather, yes to the arrowroot alone making things worse. Also, I used Diatomaceous earth with lavender oil as the powder, coconut oil with tea tree as a barrier and my own rash cleared up in 2 days. Sounds like I was on the right track!

  48. As soon as I started trying to live more naturally, your blog keeps coming up in most of my research, with such great articles! Would this zinc cream recipe also work as a sunscreen? On a side note, I noticed that the jar you are using for the clay powder has a metal top, but I have read that bentonite clay is deactivated when it touches metal other than stainless steel. Have you heard of this before?

  49. An oatmeal bath to help a tender honey before allowing for a little fresh air therapy works wonders. Just throw some plain ole raw oats in a blender on the highest setting then mix about a 1/2 cup into a bath let them sit for 15-20 minutes. Calms the pain and helps to start the drying process. Plus their skin get some nice moisturizing while they play. 🙂

  50. My baby has a BAD bum rash. I think it is yeast because NOTHING I have tried (diaper creams) have worked. My baby is 6 weeks old and has had the rash for almost 4 weeks. I have been using nystatin for a week with no real great improvement, so then we started using nystatin and cortisone (50/50) for 4 days with some improvement. Whenever I use a different barrier in-between the treatments, it seems to flare up again. Today, her bum looks terrible after using Penaten on her bum and Vaseline jelly on top. I just gave her a baking soda sitz bath and then applied coconut oil liberally and upsized her diaper. I am desperate to find a solution to this rash! Anyone know what I can do? Possibly using the coconut oil and burnt four in-between the medicated cream the doc prescribed?

  51. Mine came out gritty as well ? Very bummed because I have to throw it away. I don’t want sand on babys bum :/ I imagine it would be very hard to wipe off afterwards too. I rubbed some on my wrist and then got a wet paper towel and wiped it off. It kind of slid around, like sand. I got my bentonite clay at wholesalesuppliesplus.com so for anybody reading this, I suggest buying somewhere else. Also, I used a stainless steel whisk to stir. I’ve read NO metal but others have said SS is ok?! Thoughts on that?!

  52. Hi, I am so excited to try this recipe! One question though.. how to you clean the pot/measuring cup of shea butter? I tried my mild dish detergent and it didn’t work very well.

  53. I made the clay diaper cream yesterday afternoon and it’s not turning solid. Should I stick it in the fridge? I figured it would turn to a solid state overnight but it did not.

  54. Hi this might be a stupid question but I noticed that in the balm u wrote mix with “clay “and for the powder u wrote “clay powder”. Does that mean i have to mix the clay with water then mix that in with the shea butter and coconut oil? Or do i just mix the powder in? Pleas help cause i think i mad it wrong ?

  55. I am wanting to make some of they clay cream since I have most of the ingredients on hand already, but I am out of tea tree oil, is there an alternative that would work just as well or is lavender alone a good choice? and also could I add vitamin 3 oil to it for additional benefits?

  56. Would anyone be able to tell me the procedures in mixing in the zinc oxide safely? I bought the recommend zinc oxide powder, but everything I have read states that it is super dangerous to work with in case of inhalation of the power and the non scented fumes it produces after being heated. What special protective gear and procedures are necessary? Thanks!

  57. Hello,
    I made the barrier balm for my son…I love it but I accidentally made it too thick! Is there a way to thin the balm out? Thanks!!

    • Hi Davina, I’m reworking the recipe to see if I can troubleshoot the grittiness some people have experienced. I’ll repost when I’ve finished but for now here is the original recipe:


      1/2 cup shea butter
      2 tablespoons coconut oil
      1/4 cup bentonite clay
      7 drops lavender essential oil, optional. Can substitute tea tree if yeast/bacteria is suspected.*
      7 drops chamomile essential oil, optional. Can substitute tea tree if yeast/bacteria is suspected.

      To Make

      1. In a double boiler, gently melt shea butter over low heat. When almost melted, stir in coconut oil and continue to heat until fully melted.

      2. Remove from heat and allow mixture to return to a semi-solid state. Place mixture in fridge if you’d like to speed this process up. Add non-nano zinc or bentonite clay and optional essential oils (if desired). Mix thoroughly.

      To Use

      Apply with clean hands as needed.

      Shelf Life

      Up to 1 year if kept in a tightly sealed container, though the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils will be most effective if used within 6 months.

      • Thank you for posting this!! I too love your original recipe. It’s the only thing that has helped my daughter. She is 2 years old now. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us all!

      • Thank you, I never found it really gritty, but we have started using it for all sorts of “itchy” spots that my kids complain about and it works amazing. my son 1year old will bring me the jar, before he brings me his diaper. and both daughters ask for it (I think the 4 year old invents itchy spots so she can put some on)

      • Is Shea Moisture: African Black Soap, Clarifying Mud Mask with tamarind extract and tea tree oil okay to use as clay supplement?

  58. Hi Heather,
    My one year old daughter has developed a rash at the bottom it has been about 2 months now. It gets better and worse. It has been about 5 days since it started to spread to the body – chest and back – in a more mild way. Are those creams and powder safe to use on those areas?

    Which one comes first: cream or powder?


  59. Hi, this is a very good blog post & I don’t intend to be contrary but I just wanted to put my two cents in. As a mom of twins with lots of bad rashes including perpetual yeast, I found the answer for my twins was simple – baking sofa baths, olive oil/vasoline/cornstarch/clay/zinc cream I mixed myself and cornstarch on top of that to keep the cream on. This combo Especially the baths did the trick & my girls aren’t suffering. They would get horrible rashes and it broke my heart but this worked wonders for me & honestly the cornstarch did not exacerbate the yeast at all as long as the remedy was combined with a warm bath daily with a cup of baking soda added – this neutralizes the acidic nature of pee & poop. Look I’m an RN and I know yeast rash when I see one so you can trust me on this. And although some of the options I mentioned aren’t the most natural you can always substitute it for something that works better for you ? Hope this helps!

  60. I was getting ready to mix the clay based cream with a hand mixer but then remember that you’re not supposed to expose the clay to metal… Did you use metal mixers for this recipe and do you know if it broke down the clay? Thanks!

    • It’s generally not recommended to store clay in metal containers because it may react with the container, but I personally don’t think that’s an issue for just quickly whipping the mixture. 🙂

  61. My son has been suffering from cold due to urine leakage. My doctor has advised me to use diapers always. but he is developing rashes in his bump.It irritated him and he is crying all time. my doctor has prescribed some antibiotics but he cant tolerate antibiotic, as he is also suffering from cold. So I have decided to start taking home remedies to control the rashes. I am collecting more info to start home remedies.This blog is really helpful to me. you can find similar information at aelady.com. It may help the new moms who are facing the same problem like me.

  62. My daughter will be 2 in may. She has never had a rash, but in the past 2 months she has had at least four. She doesnt have diaherria. I have tried to cut sugar and cheese (the cheese because it makes her constipated) because they seem to be main factors. If not those, what could be causing her rash.

  63. Is Shea Moisture: African Black Soap, Clarifying Mud Mask with tamarind extract and tea tree oil okay to use as clay supplement

  64. For nursing mothers…
    I have had great success with expressing my own milk directly onto diaper rashes. Might help to blow it dry a little before replacing the diaper.

  65. This is an important reminder to parents to carefully check the diapers that we buy for our baby. If needed we need to check the materials as well. We can still prevent them from suffering such illness in sing diapers.