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Best nappy rash creams for babies to help treat sores and redness

Sore bottoms causing plenty of tears for you and baby? Discover the best nappy rash creams to help, as recommended by real mums.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated May 13, 2022

Best nappy rash creams

We don't believe in parental guilt at Mumsnet, but we must admit - there's a certain pang when placing your baby's squishy bottom into a nappy when you know it's covered in sores. But what else can you do? Sure, fresh air is a great idea... But it takes a brave household to go entirely 'free range' with their youngster. 

To help avoid nappy rash, our guide shares some top tips to follow and we've handpicked some of the best nappy creams our Mumsnetters are raving about for 2022. 

How we chose our recommendations

Our expert writers and journalists spend hours researching the very best quality products for our Swears By articles.

All the nappy rash creams on this list have been tried and tested by Mumsnet users and their babies and toddlers, who have recommended their favourite based on factors including effectiveness and ease of application. We include these so you know that real people are behind our recommendations.

We also consulted trusted medical websites, including the NHS, so you know that you are getting safe and reliable medical advice.

Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which nappy rash creams have received the best recommendations among both consumers and experts.

This article is not intended as a countdown of the ‘top 10’ best products, but rather a list of tried-and-trusted recommendations so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re getting honest and reliable advice on choosing the best nappy rash cream for your baby.

What are the best nappy rash creams for 2022?

  1. Best overall nappy rash cream: Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment
  2. Best budget nappy rash cream: Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream
  3. Best nappy rash cream bundle: Sudocrem Prevent and Treat Nappy Rash Bundle
  4. Best nappy rash cream for newborns: Drapolene Cream
  5. Best cream for severe nappy rash: Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment

1. Best overall nappy rash cream: Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment

Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment

Price: £6 (100ml) | Buy now from Amazon

“Bepanthen was an absolute saviour for my little one. Put a very thick layer on and make sure that little one’s bottom is dry after every change before applying a barrier cream.” (Tried and tested my Mumsnetter Cutestbaby)

“I use Bepanthen ointment for my DS and it clears up any redness on the nappy area pretty quickly.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter NotMyselfWithoutCoffee)

“I can recommend some lovely stuff I use (Bepanthen)... It works as a barrier cream. I use it every day to protect against nappy rash. It's not as thick as Sudocrem so I have that in the event that it's really sore.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter tiredmum2468)

“Bepanthen worked wonders.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Lagarthatheviking)

At just £4 per 100ml tube, Bepanthen is one of the most frequently tried nappy rash creams among parents everywhere and it broadly covers all the bases as a gentle cream offering everyday protection.

Bepanthen is free from colours, antiseptics and fragrances. Its fans say it’s clean to use and easy to dispense from its squeeze-tube packaging. A little goes a long way and it works well as a preventative cream after every nappy change. Adults also testify that it’s equally as effective on chapped hands and elbows.

A soft, soothing cream, Bepanthen is also worth considering for the kind of broken skin that zinc oxide-based creams such as Sudocrem won’t heal. Mumsnetters say a thinly applied layer of cream should create an effective moisture-proof barrier and that minor skin irritations of all kinds will see a marked improvement overnight.

2. Best budget nappy rash cream: Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream

Weleda Baby Calendula Nappy Cream

Price: £3 (30ml) | Buy now from Amazon

“I found Weleda great for my DS. Clears [nappy rash] up very quickly.” (Tried and tested by Musmnetter LillyLeaf)

Multiple Mumsnetters swear by this effective and quick-acting cream that, like all Weleda products, is vegan. It's a solution that offers the best of both worlds, combining natural ingredients with the quick-healing properties of a zinc oxide formulation. This is a natural barrier cream that protects against the kind of nighttime irritants that create nasty rashes.

Dermatologist-tested and free from nasties, such as dyes and synthetic fragrances, Weleda’s Calendula Nappy Cream is a nice halfway house between the hard-hitting performance of the likes of Metanium and more niche, designer solutions. 

And for just £3, it’s a budget-friendly way of keeping nappy rash at bay.

3. Best nappy rash cream bundle: Sudocrem Prevent and Treat Nappy Rash Bundle

Sudocrem Prevent and Treat Nappy Rash Bundle

Price: £18.98 (bundle) | Buy now from Amazon

“We use Sudocrem with every nappy change. DD1 never ever had nappy rash and DD2 hasn’t had nappy rash to date and she’s six months old.” (Tried and tested my Musmnetter BeingATwatItsABingThing)

This Sudocrem bundle tackles existing nappy rash with its Antiseptic Healing Cream, and prevents it from recurring through the daily application of its Care & Protect barrier cream that guards against re-infection.

The mild antiseptic qualities of the soothing emollient Antiseptic Healing Cream offer a welcome break from the misery of hot, irritated skin, and the manufacturers claim that this miracle product can be used to tackle all sorts of maladies, from cuts and scrapes to chilblains and eczema.

Sudocrem is highly versatile, but the antiseptic healing cream is quite thick, so if you’re looking for a lighter barrier cream then you may wish to consider an alternative such as Bepanthen or Childs Farm Baby Nappy Cream (see below), which is particularly good for dry and sensitive bums.

This bundle includes 400g Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream and 100g Sudocrem Care & Protect.

4. Best nappy rash cream for newborns: Drapolene Cream

Drapolene Cream

Price: £5.90 (100g) | Buy now from Amazon

“For me, Drapolene cream and plain water/cloth worked well for nappy rash.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Letsallscreamatthesistene)

Drapolene is a non-greasy antiseptic cream that’s easily applied in one squeeze and is notably cooling. It won’t mark clothes and is also effective against minor skin complaints, eczema, stings and sunburn.

Drapolene was originally a prescription and hospital solution that's now available over the counter in pharmacies. It’s one that has been passed down through generations and has firmly stood the test of time.

Gentle but effective, Drapolene is a good option for newborns as it’s less thick than some of the other nappy rash creams on the market, such as Sudocrem.

5. Best cream for severe nappy rash: Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment

Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment

Price: £3.75 (30g) | Buy now from Amazon

“I agree that Metanium is special stuff. Never heard of it before my little one developed a nasty nappy rash so bad he screamed when touching - a couple of applications of this and it cleared right up.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter LJB689908)

“Metanium has actual magical powers.” (Rated by Mumsnet user ShirleyPhallus)

This tacky, staining zinc oxide cream splits the crowd and confounds the laundry, but its fans are loyal and numerous. They say that nothing tackles a nasty rash like Metanium and, at less than £4, per tube it’s certainly worth a spin – though not if baby’s skin is broken or if they’ve shown a previous sensitivity to any of the ingredients.

This rash ointment can kickstart speedy healing and, as a nappy rash cream, it’s in a more manageable formulation than you might have been exposed to in the past.

Be aware that it stinks but, if it works to help your baby, then that strong aroma will soon smell like heaven.

6. Best nappy rash cream for sensitive skin: Childs Farm Baby Nappy Cream

Childs Farm Baby Nappy Cream

Price: £3.75 (100ml) | Buy now from Amazon

“The Childs Farm one is lovely as a barrier cream.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter SnugglySnerd)

“If we have money for more expensive cream, we use Childs Farm.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user mossyroundhill)

This gentle no-sting formula cream is specially designed for super-sensitive bums and babies who suffer from eczema and very dry skin. Soothing aloe vera, cocoa butter and shea butter are the magic ingredients in this popular barrier cream, which can also be used on dry skin on both the face and body if required.

Childs Farm Baby Nappy Cream has been given the seal of approval by The Vegan Society and Cruelty-Free International, so you know it’s packed full of natural good stuff. Even the tube is made up of 70% recycled plastic.

Unlike Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment, Childs Farm Baby Nappy Cream has a subtle fragrance, meaning you can avoid any unnecessary extra pongs during nappy changing.

7. Best natural nappy cream: Burt's Bees Baby 100% Natural Diaper Ointment

Burt's Bees Baby 100% Natural Diaper Ointment

Price: £6.74 (85g) | Buy now from Amazon

“Burt’s Bees nappy cream. I got it on Amazon but I think Boots sell it too. It's all I used on a newborn then moved onto Sudocrem when she was a bit older.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user HappyGirl86)

“My little one has had really bad nappy rash recently. Went to the pharmacy and got fungal nappy rash cream (Canestan brand) and Burt’s Bees nappy cream - worked really well.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user PatricksRum)

Burt’s Bees Baby Diaper Ointment is bursting with natural goodness, which means it’s kind on babies’ bottoms, but takes no prisoners when it comes to getting rid of an irritating nappy rash.

The magic combination of zinc oxide and sweet almond oil heals and soothes, while shea butter, lavender oil and jojoba seed oil nourishes the skin.

It’s not the cheapest nappy cream on our list, but a little goes a long way. And, unlike the whiffy Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment, Burt’s Bees Baby Diaper Ointment is also much kinder on your nostrils.

8. Best protect and treat nappy rash cream: My Expert Midwife No Harm Bum Balm

My Expert Midwife No Harm Bum Balm

Price: £10 (30ml) | Buy now from Amazon

In a world of creams that do one specific job and one job only, My Expert Midwife No Harm Bum Balm appeals as a hero product that can treat and protect against nappy rash.

Designed by midwives and with stressed parents in mind, this light but effective, no-mess, no-waste serum is easily applied and works fast. Medical-grade lanolin provides the protection of a barrier cream and calendula flower extract soothes red raw skin in a concoction that also includes sweet almond, sunflower seed and coconut oils.

This all-rounder can be used at bath time, with nappy changes or at the first signs of an outbreak. One of the big perks of No Harm Bum Balm is that it’s a lot less messy to administer than other nappy creams on our recommendations list. The one-squirt pump applicator really comes into its own when you’d otherwise be wrestling with a wriggly baby on your changing mat.

9. Best nappy barrier cream: AVEENO Baby Daily Care Barrier Cream

AVEENO Baby Daily Care Barrier Cream

Price: £6 (100ml) | Buy now from Amazon

“Aveeno nappy cream is good.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user 2007Millie)

“At home we use Aveeno barrier cream - my daughter sleeps 12 hours at night so you can imagine, her nappy is very wet in the morning and she has NEVER had nappy rash. We only use it in the evening as it is very thick.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MummyLaLa88)

Another firm favourite among Mumsnetters is the AVEENO Baby Daily Care Barrier Cream.

Oatmeal and zinc oxide soothes and heals nappy rash and regular use of this effective cream can prevent rashes from coming back. 

The formula is quite thick to provide good coverage of the nappy area, but it spreads easily and still lets the skin breathe. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something a little less heavy-duty than Sudocrem.

AVEENO is fragrance-free and is suitable for newborns and babies with sensitive skin. This cream really is a bum-changing essential which should never be far from your changing table.

10. Best multi-purpose nappy rash cream: Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream

Price: £7.95 (40ml) | Buy now from Amazon

“Try Lansinoh or Bepanthen for existing rash.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Charleymouse)

No, this isn’t on the wrong list… the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream, which has brought relief to many a cracked and sore nipple over the years, is also effective at preventing and treating nappy rash.

This product has a similar consistency to other nappy rash creams, providing an effective barrier and treating existing breakouts along with the best of them. And unlike other treatments such as Drapolene, the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream is a one-ingredient product, so you don’t have to decipher a lengthy list of ingredients. This also means that the potential for any sort of allergic reaction is much smaller.

As well as protecting against nappy rash and soothing sore nipples, according to the manufacturer Lansinoh is also great for cracked heels, shaving cuts, acne scars, scraped knees and even taming unruly brows into shape.

What causes nappy rash?

The appalling trifecta of heat, poo and urine create irritation and the result is sore red skin, spots and blisters on your baby’s bum and within folds of skin. The result is a pained, irritable baby and, with that, a pained and irritable parent.

Nappy rash can be caused by a number of factors, such as:

  • Prolonged skin contact with wee or poo
  • Not changing your baby’s nappy often enough
  • The nappy rubbing against skin, causing irritation
  • Fragranced products, including soap, bubble bath and baby wipes

Many parents report that their child cutting a new tooth can also bring on a particularly nasty rash – the sort of folk wisdom that’s denied by dentists until they produce their own offspring.

How do I prevent and treat severe nappy rash? 

Prevention is always better than cure and there are a number of things that you can do to prevent nappy rash from occurring.

  • Change wet and dirty nappies as soon as possible so that your baby is fresh, dry and clean. A newborn baby will need somewhere between eight to 12 nappy changes per day.
  • Enable baby to have some nappy-free time to allow their skin to get some air (put a towel or a waterproof sheet down)
  • Use alcohol-free wipes and warm water to avoid any irritation. Avoid talcum powder and any perfumed products.
  • Always make sure your baby is dry before putting a new nappy on. You should pat their bottom dry with a towel rather than rubbing it.
  • Apply a layer of barrier cream, following the directions on the packaging.

But despite our best efforts, the NHS says that one in four babies or toddlers will suffer from nappy rash at some point. If this is the case, you should continue to follow the steps above as well as try the following:

  • Bath your baby daily. Don’t bathe them more than twice a day as this may dry out their skin.
  • Apply a suitable nappy rash cream and wait a few minutes before applying the barrier cream (unless you’re using an all-in-one product). Always check the label first.
  • Make sure your baby’s nappy isn’t too tight or too loose. If the nappy is too tight, it will irritate the area, while a loose nappy won’t soak up the wee properly, making the problem worse.

If you follow this advice, then you can expect a nappy rash to go after around three days. If the rash is persistent or is causing your little one discomfort, speak to your health visitor or ask your GP to prescribe something stronger.

How do I choose the best nappy rash cream? 

There are several things that you should consider when buying a nappy rash cream.

  • Prevention or treatment? Are you looking for a good quality barrier cream to prevent nappy rash or a cream to treat a current outbreak? Many creams treat and protect, so it may be a good idea to invest in an all-rounder.
  • Ingredients: Did you want a product that’s made from 100% natural ingredients and vegan-friendly? Does the product contain zinc oxide, an ingredient that effectively eliminates nappy rash? Some nappy creams are specially formulated for sensitive skin, so if your child is prone to eczema or allergies, you may want to consider this option. Always check the ingredients as laid out on the packaging.
  • Age of your child: Are you buying for a newborn or a boisterous toddler on the move? Certain products are better for newborn bottoms than others, so always check before purchasing.
  • Extras: Once you’ve settled on a cream and have tried and tested it on your own baby, it’s a good idea to stock up, as there’s nothing worse than discovering you are out of nappy rash cream during a 3am change. And don’t forget to buy one to pop in your changing bag too. 

How do I apply nappy rash cream?

  • Remove the dirty nappy
  • Clean your baby using wipes or water
  • Pat (don’t rub) baby’s bottom dry
  • Once dry, apply the recommended amount of cream to all the skin which is covered by the nappy
  • Put on a clean nappy
  • Wash your hands.

Always check the instructions before first use.

How often should I use baby nappy rash cream?

There's a great deal of disagreement over how often and for how long you should use rash creams, but the rule of thumb is to apply a thin layer at every nappy change, paying special attention to nighttime changes when your baby is down to sleep for longer periods.

You should start to see improvement within 12 hours and a rash should have cleared up within three days. Do consult your GP if this isn’t the case.

Which nappy rash cream is best?

There are some great products on our list, but Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment is a particular favourite with Mumsnetters. It’s light, easy to apply and works quickly to soothe and protect.

But while Bepanthen is the best overall nappy rash cream, as recommended by parents, the best cream for severe nappy rash is Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment.

Specially-formulated for nappy rash, Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment kickstarts healing to soothe a baby's skin and relieve irritation and redness. For more severe cases of nappy rash, you'll likely need a doctor’s prescription treatment such as a steroid cream preparation or antibiotics.

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