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Six creams to treat diaper rash

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

If your baby's diaper rash is in full bloom, you may need one or a combination of medications to get it under control. Some of these can be bought from the pharmacy, others may require a prescription from the doctor, but knowing what's available will give you an idea of how to manage the symptoms better.

Emollient creams and barrier creams

Emollients are important to restore moisture in your baby's bottom area. It is especially useful for dry and itchy skin. These can be applied once, twice, or three times a day, depending on the need. Examples of emollients are creams such as Aveeno, Cetraben, Zeroderm, and E45.

Barrier creams act as a barrier for your skin to prevent any irritation from affecting it and further drying it out. They are usually thick substances and so not a lot is required, and it is best applied to dry skin. Examples include Metanium or Benpethan.

Antiseptic creams

Antiseptic cream helps prevent infection by providing a hostile environment in areas at risk of infection. They are not the same as antibacterial creams, as they do not treat an infection once it's established.

But they can be effective if your baby's rash looks redder or angrier than usual or if there are minor cuts or wounds present. You can apply antiseptic cream twice a day until the rash resolves. An example includes Savlon cream.

Antifungal creams and antibacterial creams

Thrush or candida can disrupt your baby's skin, as it's a warm and moist environment under the diaper, providing the perfect conditions for yeast and fungal infections. This will require antifungal creams, which your doctor can advise you about.

If there are signs of a bacterial infection, antibacterial creams or oral antibiotic liquid may be prescribed by your doctor, depending on the severity. Bacterial infections look red, weepy, and angry, and they might be sore.

Steroid creams

Sometimes your doctor may consider prescribing antifungal creams or antibacterial creams with a mild steroid added in. This is useful when the rash is red, raised, inflamed, sore, or itchy. The steroid is usually hydrocortisone.

Make sure you only use a steroid cream for the shortest time needed. Although hydrocortisone is the mildest strength of steroid cream, a baby's skin is delicate, and the strength is increased under a covering such as a diaper or the skin creases of the groin. Your doctor will guide you.

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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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