Homemade Diaper Rash Cream With Bentonite Clay

Heather Dessinger

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homemade-diaper-cream-bentonite-clay

Oops. I didn’t think anyone would notice when I quietly removed my diaper rash cream recipe from this diaper rash treatment post. My goal was to troubleshoot an issue some of y’all were having and replace it before anyone was the wiser, but within hours I started getting messages about it.
“Your Clay Bottom Balm recipe has changed, what happened it was my favourite,” wrote Davina, adding that she had “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)”
Mary Lou added that she loved it as well, and that was all the motivation I needed to put reworking this recipe at the top of my to-do list. It was a simple fix, really, and I’m thrilled to share it with you . . . again. 🙂

Why Clay?

Clay has long been prized for its healing and detoxifying properties, and studies are now confirming the wisdom of its use for soothing tummy aches, baby bottoms, and other concerns. According to this 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. In addition, “complete healing in the first 3 days was more than five times in the SC [bentonite clay] group.”

Interestingly, in this study calendula cream improved diaper rash symptoms more quickly than an aloe vera preparation, so it does appear to help, just not as quickly as bentonite. If you have some homemade calendula salve on hand, you can use it instead of the recipe below along with my homemade clay baby powder and get the benefits of both calendula and clay. Like with most natural remedies, there are lots of ways to accomplish what’s needed with what you happen to have on hand.

Using Essential Oils With Children Under Two

As I mentioned in Safe Essential Oils For Babies And Children, I personally would not apply essential oils topically to a child under three months old, and I only consider topical application for children under two when there is a true reason (as opposed to routine application).

According to Robert Tisserand, who co-authored Essential Oil Safety:

Great caution is necessary for infants. Since neonatal skin does not mature until three months of age, it is more sensitive and more permeable to essential oils. A newborn is also less equipped to deal with any adverse effect than an adult because of a lower metabolic capacity, i.e., enzymes present in lower concentrations. These cautions apply even more to premature babies, and here it would be prudent to avoid use of all essential oils.”

In the recipe below, I’ve diluted the essential oils to 0.25% – the recommended amount for children from 3-24 months. However, in some cases it may be appropriate to use the maximum amount recommended, which is 0.5% (double the number of drops). Or you can skip them completely – it’s up to you!

homemade-diaper-cream-bentonite-clay-1

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream With Bentonite Clay

Ingredients

To Make

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and whip with a hand mixer until well combined. Store in a clean glass jar.

To Use

Apply with clean hands as needed. I usually sprinkle a little homemade baby powder over the area as well.

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.

* * Lavender and tea tree essential oils are sometimes said to mimic estrogen. However, Robert Tisserand disagrees, and according to three doctors representing Wake Forest, Yale and Harvard respectively, “Traditional use and clinical trials have not suggested estrogenic effects of tea tree or lavender oil, though estrogenic effects have been reported for other essential oils and plants.” You can read more about the original study and subsequent studies here.

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About HEATHER

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. 

Leave a Comment

62 thoughts on “Homemade Diaper Rash Cream With Bentonite Clay”

  1. Loving your site, I’m very interested in tossing out all my baby products and making my own safer options.
    Is this cream okay to be used frequently as a preventative measure or only once and awhile when there is a problem?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Kate! I personally would be comfortable using this balm very frequently if the essential oils were left out. As I mentioned in the post, I only use essential oils topically with babies that are 3-24 months old when there is a clear purpose. They can be very beneficial, of course, I just try to be careful and not overuse them with little ones.

      Reply
      • Hello! Sorry I replied to this comment. I could not find where I could start a comment. I just wanted to ask If I can infuse the coconut oil with herbs before using it in the recipe? And If I can, should I let the oil cool down completely, or use warm?
        And… With this recipe with the clay, when it dries on the baby, will it leave a clay residue?
        Thank you!

        Reply
        • Yes, you definitely can use infused coconut oil or shea butter. I would allow it to cool completely before whipping the mixture. And yes, it will leave a residue that serves as a barrier to help protect the skin from moisture.

          Reply
        • Please keep in mind that Bentenite Clay can als ok be made in China…beware, the talc in J&J babypowder came from China and lots of people have cancer from it…research where it comes from.

          Reply
  2. Hi Heather, I recently read on a well respected doctor’s website that the naturally found lead in bentonite clay is absorbed into the body. I’ve read before that this isn’t true. I’m not sure if he was only referring to internal use but I think he also mentioned topical useage. I’m not asking to be contrary. I have been using it myself for a few years and I wanted to know what your take is on this and if you have any recommended reading about it. Thank you for all of the hard work you do for all! May God bless you and your family!

    Reply
    • Hi Maria, can you point me to the website where the doctor explains how he came to that conclusion? The research I’ve seen suggests that bentonite clay reduces lead in the body even when it contains a small amount of lead. Here’s an overview of several studies. Please note that although the site I just linked to sells clay, the research is all independent, third-party research published via Oxford Journals, PubMed.

      Many traditional cultures consume clay or activated charcoal to ease an upset stomach. Clays and AC have a negative electrical charge that is believed to naturally attract positively charged particles (bacteria, for example) to them. The ability of activated charcoal to absorb problematic compounds is so well known that it is used in emergency rooms for poisoning: http://www.poison.org/articles/2015-mar/activated-charcoal

      However, one thing clays and activated charcoal are known to attract is lead, and therefore lead is present in some clays (and possibly activated charcoal because I have seen a Prop 65 label on it and that’s usually the reason). So is it safe to consume clay or activated charcoal if that’s what the Prop 65 warning indicates?

      I am not an expert, but when one of my family members was exposed to lead (mild acute exposure) I did a ton of research on how to detox gently and eventually settled on Dr. Chris Shade’s protocol. Dr. Shade studied metal-ligand interactions in the environment and specialized in the environmental and analytical chemistries of mercury, but he also addresses lead toxicity. He worked in the environmental sector and developed a patented technology for mercury speciation, which determines how much mercury is present, what type it is, and how it moves through the environment. He adapted his process to test individuals in the same way (determining whether organic or inorganic mercury is present in the body and even the rate at which it is being detoxified) and developed his protocol based on that. Part of his protocol incorporates clay and activated charcoal into his detox program for individuals exposed to mercury. You can see it here: https://www.purxpressions.com/store/bbr-g-i-detox)

      Also, at least some research suggests that activated charcoal may support detoxification systems when lead exposure has occurred. (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264131150_Protective_Effects_of_Activated_Charcoal_on_the_Acute_Damages_of_Kidney_of_Mouse_by_Lead

      How might this be explained? One way to think of it might be to imagine clay as a magnet with lots of coins stuck to it, with a few of those coins representing lead. If the clay hold on to the lead while also attracting other unwanted compounds, then it would not be bioavailable. Instead, it would be beneficial because it would be drawing more unwanted stuff to it instead of releasing it.

      Again, I am not an expert, I’m just sharing the research I found helpful when looking at this issue.

      Reply
      • Hi Heather,
        Thank you for your response. I’m looking forward to looking at the information that you linked to. I saw the article on Dr. Christianson’s website and I believe the title is surprising dangers of clay or something along those lines. Let me know if you have trouble finding it. Thanks again!

        Reply
        • Hi, thanks so much for your helpful site! I just wanted to double check that this recipe was suitable for cloth bum babies? I see your baby powder is but can’t see any reference with the recipe. Sorry if I am missing something. Can’t wait to get going!

          Reply
  3. I recently lustened to a podcast by an MD who was treating a family for lead poisoning. It was traced back to the clay they were using internally. She had several brands tested for lead and all of them had high levels. They were also using clay as detox baths increasing their lead absorption even more. Just an FYI as it is absorbed topically.

    Reply
    • Hi Dottie! Just in case you miss it I am pasting my comment from a thread above. If you have a moment I’d love to know the name of the podcast you heard so I can learn more.

      “Hi Maria, can you point me to the website where the doctor explains how he came to that conclusion? The research I’ve seen suggests that bentonite clay reduces lead in the body even when it contains a small amount of lead. Here’s an overview of several studies: http://www.earthpaste.com/prop65/science/ Please note that although the site I just linked to sells clay, the research is all independent, third-party research published via Oxford Journals, PubMed.

      Many traditional cultures consume clay or activated charcoal to ease an upset stomach. Clays and AC have a negative electrical charge that is believed to naturally attract positively charged particles (bacteria, for example) to them. The ability of activated charcoal to absorb problematic compounds is so well known that it is used in emergency rooms for poisoning: http://www.poison.org/articles/2015-mar/activated-charcoal

      However, one thing clays and activated charcoal are known to attract is lead, and therefore lead is present in some clays (and possibly activated charcoal because I have seen a Prop 65 label on it and that’s usually the reason). So is it safe to consume clay or activated charcoal if that’s what the Prop 65 warning indicates?

      I am not an expert, but when one of my family members was exposed to lead (mild acute exposure) I did a ton of research on how to detox gently and eventually settled on Dr. Chris Shade’s protocol. Dr. Shade studied metal-ligand interactions in the environment and specialized in the environmental and analytical chemistries of mercury, but he also addresses lead toxicity. He worked in the environmental sector and developed a patented technology for mercury speciation, which determines how much mercury is present, what type it is, and how it moves through the environment. He adapted his process to test individuals in the same way (determining whether organic or inorganic mercury is present in the body and even the rate at which it is being detoxified) and developed his protocol based on that. Part of his protocol incorporates clay and activated charcoal into his detox program for individuals exposed to mercury. You can see it here: https://www.purxpressions.com/store/bbr-g-i-detox)

      Also, at least some research suggests that activated charcoal may support detoxification systems when lead exposure has occurred. (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264131150_Protective_Effects_of_Activated_Charcoal_on_the_Acute_Damages_of_Kidney_of_Mouse_by_Lead

      How might this be explained? One way to think of it might be to imagine clay as a magnet with lots of coins stuck to it, with a few of those coins representing lead. If the clay hold on to the lead while also attracting other unwanted compounds, then it would not be bioavailable. Instead, it would be beneficial because it would be drawing more unwanted stuff to it instead of releasing it.

      Again, I am not an expert, I’m just sharing the research I found helpful when looking at this issue.

      Reply
    • Theoretically yes, but you’d probably need to melt the cocoa butter and mix it with the coconut oil before whipping. Even then I’m not sure if it would whip. The texture will be way different and probably more challenging to apply, but if you play with the ratios and production process I’m sure it can be done.

      Reply
      • Cocoa butter is a MUCH harder co pound, so would make the cream thicker and harder to apply. You counter-act this by using half of the cocoa butter amount as a liquid oil, like organic extra virgin olive, or avocado, etc.

        Reply
  4. Thanks for the recipe! Just one note about coconut oil: There is no such thing as ‘extra’ virgin coconut oil, since there is only one pressing… that’s just a marketing ploy to make people think the product is superior.

    Reply
    • Haha, thanks for pointing that out! As I mentioned in the intro this is an old post from years ago that I improved. Thought I’d updated that description as well but I guess not! Corrected. 🙂

      Reply
  5. I wish I were more into Chemistry and the like. I’ve seen a lot of beauty and baby products calling for bentonite clay but since I don’t live in the US, I don’t think buying and importing a jar of clay makes environmental or logical sense. Special properties in this type of clay? Perhaps, but I’d love to see more universal substitutes for this substance.

    Reply
  6. I have it on good authority that clay cat litter is bentonite. It’s really cheap, but too coarse to be a useful powder. However, if you can mill it fine enough, a bag should be a lifetime supply.

    Reply
  7. Hi Heather, I just wanted to say thank you for quoting Robert Tisserand, I feel more comfortable making your recipes knowing how much research you put into your ingredients,

    Reply
    • I’m so glad to hear that, Davina. Although I don’t usually mention it, many of my recipes are also reviewed by a clinical aromatherapist before they are published. Sometimes that step is not necessary because I’ve worked with her for years now and we’ve established guidelines based on Tisserand’s work and professional experience, but I’d rather be over-cautious than under so if there’s anything I couldn’t find adequate research for I check with her.

      Reply
    • Hello, I’m in a pinch and I don’t have any shea butter on hand. Can I use this without the shea butter? Will it still be effective?

      Reply
  8. Hi, my daughter has a bad rash. I don’t know if there is yeast, or not. Should I substitute both the Lavender and Chamomile for tee tree? I have all three. I think it’s acidic burns from her urine ? I feel just awful knowing that it’s something I’m eating, but I have no idea what. I’ve been trying different remedies and switched to cloth diapers and homemade wipes. It helps, but the rash keeps coming back. Right now it’s the worst it’s been. I’ve also tried medicated ointments, but again the rash comes back. Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi there, what did you end up doing? I’m in the same boat now where nothing from the stores work and I’m really hitting a brick wall with what appears to be a yeasty beast.

      Reply
  9. I have been using this recipe on my newborn, but today I tried a little on my chapped nose (have a cold) and the clay was super rough and irritating! Did I do something wrong? It wasn’t soothing at all. In fact it burned a little. Then when I wiped it off, it felt like sandpaper. It made me sad to think I’ve been putting this on my baby’s delicate bottom and it might have bothered him. Why is the cream so gritty?

    Reply
    • Thank you for posting this. I had a batch underway when I read it, so I tested it out on my inner wrist and it was scratchy for me as well. I guess the clay just isn’t fine enough. Will try to repurpose the ingredients as a face mask, bummer.

      Reply
  10. Hi Heather,
    Big fan of yours! I’m wondering if you can possibly share the original recipe with me? I like the new recipe a lot for diaper cream but I also use this recipe as a base cream for something for my husband and he tells me he likes “the old way you make it”
    Of course I didn’t write it down anywhere, I just have your links saved. Please help!

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, I’m so sorry I’m just now seeing this. The original recipe is:

      1/2 cup shea butter
      1/4 cup bentonite clay
      7 drops lavender essential oil, optional.
      7 drops chamomile essential oil, optional.

      And for the barrier balm it is:

      1/2 cup shea butter
      1/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons non-nanoparticle zinc oxide, depending on how thick you want the balm to be
      7 drops lavender essential oil, optional.
      7 drops chamomile essential oil, optional.

      Reply
  11. Hi. Do I need to mix the clay with water first. Cuz the mixture is pretty scratchy. Not sure if it’s suitable for my baby’s delicate skin.

    Reply
  12. Hi, Heather! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to try it!!

    Quick question: I’ve heard that using any metal utensils (spoon, whisks, etc.) with bentonite clay affects it’s healing properties. A recipe I was looking at had the clay mixed with ACV. What are your thoughts as well as suggestions for combining the ingredients not using metal utensils?

    Reply
  13. I bought this Shea Moisture: African Black Soap, Clarifying Mud Mask with tamarind extract and tea tree oil. Is this product safe to use as the bentonite clay supplement? Curious do to the other ingredients that are in this clay.

    Reply
  14. Hello, I’ve made my first batch. The texture isn’t quite what I was expecting. It’s thick and a bit gritty. I was looking for something with a bit more of a creamy/spreadable texture. I Followed recipe exactly. Was I supposed to melt the shea butter or perhaps add water?

    Reply
  15. I’m in the process of making your bentonite clay cream and was wondering if adding some zinc powder would be okay? I used it in your other diaper rash paste and think it is what healed my granddaughter’s bottom.

    Reply
    • Yikes, thanks for letting me know! Sometimes Amazon sellers switch out a product on a listing – looks like that’s what happened here. 🙁

      Reply
  16. Hi thanks for the recipes…
    They’re really nice.

    I was trying to make the diaper cream with the bentonite clay. I followed it exactly but the yieled was very little. Definitely not enough to fill the small jar you have pictured. how much of each ingredient to make as much cream as is pictured??

    Thanks!

    Reply
  17. I actually just wanted to comment that if people find that this is gritty, it could very well be the shea butter as well. Depending on the source of shea, it can also be quite gritty, in which case you can melt it down and then cool it in the fridge.

    Reply
  18. Love the site, just wanted to advise you that a lot of your affiliate links are either non-existent anymore or the item it redirects to is “out of stock” with no specified restock date. :-*

    Reply
  19. 5 stars
    Hi. I wanted to put this into a squeeze tube instead of a mason jar and found that it’s too thick, and hard to squeeze out. I figured it would be more convenient in a tube for traveling than a jar. After it was made it seemed soft, but I guess it hardened a bit after a while. Any tips on how to make this recipe more on the smoother side? Thanks.

    Reply
  20. Hi please can you help me I have made the recipe you posted for bentonite clay nappy rash cream but it is very grainy and gritty. I have been looking through amazon to see if I have somehow bought an extra gritty version of the clay but it all looks much the same. I am certain this would be uncomfortable on my babies’ skin. do you have any advice? thank you

    Reply