Best nappy rash cream for babies
19 January 2021
Pretty much every baby will experience a nappy rash at some point in their first two years, but with a staggering choice of creams, treatments and ointments to choose from, it can be difficult to know just what to buy. Thankfully, parents have the lowdown on the best nappy rash creams for 2021.
We’re not big believers in parental guilt on Mumsnet, but there’s a special pang that comes with placing a delightful baby’s squishy bottom into a nappy when you know it's covered in sores. But what else to do? Fresh air is a good solution, but it takes a brave household to entirely ‘free range’ their youngster.
With our recommendations for best nappy rash creams, we’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible. From rash treatments to preventative barrier creams, heavy preparations to designer moisturisers and spray mists, there’s a product for every occasion and for every pocket.
And in what is clearly a lucrative sector, old and new entrants to the market come and go at an alarming rate – so much so that you might find the advice of a trusted aunt or friend on the best nappy rash products could be out of date already.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of contemporary Mumsnet to draw on, which has shaped this diverse and up-to-the-minute guide. Here are the best nappy rash creams to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall nappy rash cream: Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment
“Bepanthen is the dog’s doo-dahs! Works a treat!”
At just £3 per 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 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 or Desitin won’t heal. Users 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 value nappy rash cream: Sudocrem Prevent and Treat Nappy Rash Bundle
“Every bedroom has a tub of Sudocrem and a tub of Vicks. You shouldn't mix them up, but between the two, all sorted.”
“I love Sudocrem too. It's like a magic tear-stopping cream in our house.”
This Sudocrem bundle tackles existing nappy rash with its Antiseptic Healing Cream, and prevents it reoccurring 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 this miracle product can be used to tackle all sorts of maladies from cuts and scrapes to chilblains and eczema.
Bundle includes 400g Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream and 100g Sudocrem Care & Protect
3. Best nappy rash cream for newborns: Drapolene Cream
“We also used Kamillosan a lot for DS1, but found Drapolene much better for our twins. Also found Savlon was effective as well.”
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 and eczema, stings and sunburn.
Drapolene was originally a prescription and hospital solution that's now available over the counter in pharmacies. This is a solution that has been passed down the generations and has stood the test of time.
4. Best cream for severe nappy rash: Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment
“Metanium is good for severe rashes.”
“Metanium – it is bright yellow and makes a mess, but is brilliant. Can also get it free on prescription (I did) if you don’t pay.”
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 £3, 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 baby 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.
5. Best nappy rash cream for sensitive skin: Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film
“It’s called Cavilon spray. Not cheap but bloody brilliant and worth every penny in my opinion. You spray this on, leave to dry and it forms a totally waterproof seal over the skin. No wee or poo can break through it, and it gives the skin underneath a chance to heal. Within a day or two it was well on the way to being healed. I now use at the first sign of a flare-up and it nips it in the bud."
For parents who find the idea of applying thick creams or lotions to reddened, rashy skin a complete no-no, Cavilon’s No Sting Barrier Film is somewhat of a game-changer.
Alcohol-free, fast-drying and no sting, Cavilon is one of the few products you can try once the skin is broken and as a last resort prior to visiting your doctor for a prescription solution.
Another miracle product, Cavilon is an unobtrusive moisturiser that’s been created to treat and prevent rough, itchy and inflamed skin complaints and irritations such as nappy rash.
Commonly used in the treatment of skin burns, it’s safe for little ones and ideal for babies requiring the last word in TLC.
6. Best vegan nappy rash cream: Weleda Baby Calendula Nappy Cream
“Lots of mums including me think Weleda Nappy Cream is the absolute best – all organic ingredients and it really does work.”
“The Weleda Calendula is amazing and I won’t use anything else now on my DTs.”
Multiple Mumsnetters swear by this cream that, like all Weleda products, is vegan. It's a solution that offers the best of both worlds as a product that combines 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. The price is a halfway house too between budget and premium rash creams.
Price: £5.24Buy now from Boots
7. Best prescription-only nappy rash cream: Timodine Cream
“If you go to the doc's, they might give you some Timodine, which will treat thrush as well as nappy rash. It's very effective, but it smells foul!”
If your baby’s nappy rash has got out of hand and you need your GP’s help, then Timodine Cream could be the doctor’s chosen remedy.
Available only on prescription, and containing the steroid Hydrocortisone, Timodine is used for inflamed itchy skin conditions and infected nappy rash.
Use three times a day or at each nappy change, a course of treatment should last no more than seven days.
Price: Prescription only
8. Best protect and treat nappy rash cream: My Expert Midwife No Harm Bum Balm
“We use Vaseline day to day, Sudocream when sore, but there’s another one that the health visitor recommended and it's really, really good. We only use it when the Sudocream doesn't work. It's called My Expert Midwife: No Harm Bum Balm.”
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 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. The one-squirt pump applicator really comes into its own when you’d be otherwise wrestling with a wriggly baby on the changing mat.
9. Best designer nappy crash ream: Kiehl's Mom & Baby Nurturing Baby Cream
“We use Kiehl’s, which is hard to get and pricey, but really smooth and soothing. Sorted out a rash that DS2 got when we were on holiday and unable to let him go nappy-less. Unlike Metanium, it isn't sticky, so is easy to rub on, and doesn't upset the baby when it goes on."
Kiehl’s Nurturing Baby Cream is something of a miracle product that’s ideal for taking on the go precisely because it covers so many bases as a moisturiser for babies, kids and adults, and because it can be pressed into service specifically as a nappy rash soother.
There are, however, two small issues with this product. Firstly, it isn’t widely available and, secondly, its price among those that stock it can vary greatly.
This is a 24-hour effective moisturiser that’s infused with shea butter and almond kernel oil and paediatrician- and dermatologist-tested. It isn’t a nappy rash cream per se, but our Mumsnetters say that it can resolve a number of ills – nappy rashes being just one of them.
Price: £21Buy now from Kiehl's
10. Best nappy rash cream for flare-ups: Forever Living Aloe Propolis Creme
“I've found Aloe Vera Propolis cream very useful. The aloe vera has natural antibacterial and anti-fungicidal properties along with being a great healer for burns, cuts, bruises etc.”
Known as being an excellent skin moisturiser, Mumsnetters say that Forever Living Aloe Propolis Creme also has an everyday application against nappy rash.
Use it as you need, this pleasant cream is also great for parents who find their hands dried to a crisp by changing multiple nappies throughout the day.
Perfect as a daily moisturiser for bottoms prone to rashes and parents prone to cracked hands.
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 you treat severe nappy rash?
Prevention is always better than cure, and there are a number of things that you can do to treat nappy rash:
- Change their wet or dirty nappy as soon as possible to keep your baby fresh, dry and clean. A newborn baby will need somewhere between eight to 12 changes per day
- You should clean your baby’s bottom with alcohol-free wipes and warm water
- Pat (don’t rub!) their bottom dry with a towel or a bold few minutes of fresh air before putting on a clean nappy
- Lay off perfumed products and apply a nappy rash cream instead
- Bathe your baby daily
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 be cleared up within 48 hours. If it hasn't cleared up by then, consult your GP or health visitor as you may need a prescribed treatment.
The best way to deal with nappy rash is to prevent it in the first place and NHS Direct have detailed the steps you need to take here.
What's the best cream for severe nappy rash?
For severe nappy rash, you will need a treatment cream rather than a preventative barrier solution. While the best overall nappy rash cream, as recommended by parents, is Bepanthen's Nappy Care Ointment, 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 to 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.
How we chose our recommendations
Our recommendations have been compiled with reference to Mumsnet users’ own experiences of using the products themselves and from reputable sources such as consumer review sites, national media, and specialist magazines and websites.
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