Almost all babies suffer from nappy rash in some form during their time wearing nappies - as a mum, it can feel inevitable. Seeing your baby's perfectly peachy bottom turn red raw and sore can be heartbreaking, especially when you've been taking care of their sensitive skin as best you can during nappy changes.
But, there are lots of nappy rash creams available to buy that will help clear up that red botty.
What causes nappy rash?
There are a number of causes of nappy rash. According to the NHS, the main causes of nappy rash are:
- Baby's skin being in contact with wee or poo for a long time
- The nappy rubbing against your baby's skin
- Not cleaning the nappy area or changing the nappy often enough
- Soap, detergent or bubble bath
- Alcohol-based baby wipes
- Your baby recently taking antibiotics
How to prevent nappy rash
You can prevent your baby from developing nappy rash in a number of ways according to the NHS.
- Change wet or dirty nappies as soon as possible.
- Clean the whole nappy area gently but thoroughly, wiping from front to back. Use water or fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes. Read more about how to clean your baby.
- Bath your baby daily – but avoid bathing them more than twice a day as that may dry out their skin.
- Dry your baby gently after washing them – avoid vigorous rubbing.
- Lie your baby on a towel and leave their nappy off for as long and as often as you can to let fresh air get to their skin.
- Do not use soap, bubble bath, or lotions.
- Do not use talcum powder as it contains ingredients that could irritate your baby's skin.
How to treat nappy rash
If you have found your baby's diaper rash isn't clearing up by itself, you can use a cream or other nappy rash treatment. There are three different types of nappy rash cream available, and it's important to know the difference so that you buy the best one to soothe the redness and soreness of your baby's bottom:
Use a barrier cream as a preventative measure in your daily nappy changing routine, as long as your baby’s skin is intact. Once your tot’s bum is completely dry, apply a super-thin layer before popping on her nappy.
If the skin on your tot’s bum looks dry, itchy or scaly, then an emollient will help to get her skin back into a state where it can deal with the onslaught of all the poo and wee. They soothe, smooth and hydrate the skin, but you’ll need to reapply frequently.
If that nappy rash is starting to look a little worse, then apply twice a day until the rash resolves. It’ll help to soothe your tot’s skin as it gets to work on the bacteria, so it’ll quickly help her feel more comfortable too.
If your baby has a Candidal nappy rash, the infection will need to be treated with an anti-fungal cream. Get your GP's advice first - they'll be able to identify if it is indeed a fungal infection. If you want to buy it over the counter, you'll probably have to speak to the pharmacist first to make sure you're getting the best product.
Find out more about the different types of nappy rash in our essential guide here
When you should ring your GP
If your baby's nappy rash isn't clearing up after using a general nappy rash cream, if it's getting worse, or if it's bleeding and looking infected, then book an appointment with your GP to get it checked out. They can do a test to find out if the rash is infected and advise you on the best course of action.
Which are the best nappy rash creams?
With so many different creams on the market, we've rounded up the best nappy rash creams you can buy today and pop them in your online shopping basket now:
Best barrier creams
This is one of the most popular nappy rash creams on the market and mums swear by it. You can use it as a barrier cream to prevent the rash occuring, or, if the rash appears, apply it to soothe and heal that red bottom.
Mum Georgina says: 'I would recommend this cream to a friend as it does what I would expect from a nappy cream. Luckily, it is rare for my baby to get a nappy rash but at the first sign of any redness I have put a small layer of Bepanthen on and the redness has resolved by the next nappy change. One small tube lasts a very long time.'
Read more mum reviews of this product here.
If you don't have a pot of this in the bathroom, are you even a parent? It's a must-have and looks after bums and other sore bits throughout childhood. Just make sure you don't leave it within reach of little hands - it gets EVERYWHERE. The water-repellant base will prevent rashes occurring, but if there is soreness, it'll soothe and calm that bottom straight away.
If you need anymore reasons to get a pot of sudocrem in the house, we've put together 10 clever uses for your pot of Sudocrem that you've probably never thought of.
Specially formulated to look after babies' bottoms, this gentle but effective cream is a M&B favourite. It's completely natural organic ingredients, with each Weleda product researched by a team of midwives and pharmacists to support the development of healthy skin.
Mum Victoria says: 'I would recommend the Weleda range as they are a reasonably priced complete range that is suitable for a baby as well as older children, particularly those with sensitive skin. The whole range smells divine and they last well as you only need a small amount. The nappy cream is also good, rubs in easily and it seems to prevent nappy rash well.'
The Weleda range was Shortlisted in the 2019 M&B Awards Best Baby Skincare Range/Product category - read our full review here.
This all-natural certified organic balm from Kit & Kin is specifically designed to soothe baby's sore skin, using naturally nourishing oils and botanical extracts. It smells divine and smoothes over your tot's bottom to create a barrier, preventing a rash, or soothing nappy rash once it appears.
Mum Lauren says: 'I used it on several minor rashes and scratches at night and they all but disappeared by the morning. It’s also a treatment for sore and inflamed skin, nappy rash and dry spots. You also only need to use a tiny amount, making it much better value than other toiletries in the range.'
Read our full review of the Kit& Kin range here.
Best emollient cream
When I first had my baby boy, Eli, every single mum I spoke to about nappy rash talked about "the one in the yellow tube". I swear by this, and it was rare for his little bottom not to be smeared in yellow cream for several months. If there was a hint of redness, I smeared this emollient cream on and it would clear up very quickly.
Best antiseptic cream
Hands up if this antiseptic cream made regular appearances throughout your childhood? It's a traditional favourite for good reason - it's reliable and trustworthy for giving antiseptic protection and healing to nappy rashes, and everything else for years afterwards too. Your first aid cabinet isn't complete without a tube of this.
Best antifungal cream
Canesten clotrimazole cream is used to treat fungal nappy rash. It's a pharmacy item, so you'll have to complete a questionaire at checkout to buy this, to make sure you're getting the right product for your needs.