Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Homemade diaper cream

I've been doing a lot of spring cleaning around the house lately (which is why I haven't been posting much the last few days) and, while I was going through some of our cabinets, I noticed that I had a few tubes of diaper cream lurking around from ages ago. That's right, a couple of Desitin tubes were still making their presence known even though it's been years since they've seen daylight.

Aside from the nasty smell, I wondered what ingredients I was subjecting the sensitive nether regions of my children to when they were babies. The more offensive ingredients included petroleum based ingredients as well as a variety of parabens, which are used as preservatives, but are known endocrine disruptors. At the time, I didn't know any different, but I wouldn't want to use it now.

So, what's a parent with a sensitive baby bottom to do? Well, you can make your own cream. Here's a recipe based on the one I found in the book, Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products.

Homemade Diaper Cream
2 tablespoons organic olive oil
2 tablespoons castor oil
1 teaspoon beeswax
1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
1 teaspoon zinc oxide*
5-10 drops lavender essential oil

Makes approximately 2 ounces

Gently heat the oils and the beeswax in a small bowl set over a pan of boiling water. When the wax has melted, remove from the heat. Let cool 5 minutes and then add Vitamin E, zinc oxide and essential oil. Pour into glass jar and refrigerate to solidify. Store in a dark, cool spot (1 month shelf life; 3 months in the fridge).

*You can find zinc oxide from Essential Depot at


Kim said...

This post is totally perfect timing! For the past 2-3 days I've been meaning to look up exactly this! (Not that I have kids yet...but my best friends do...and they are soon on the horizon for me...)

Thusly bookmarked. Thanks, as always, Crunchy!

meg said...

Oooh, I wish I had known about this earlier. The Babylady has finished potty training herself except sleeping so we don't need cream much anymore. This would have been great!

We did make our own butt clean spray using aloe vera juice, some drops of grapefruit seed extract and some essential oil and water. Stored in the fridge for ages and she almost never had any diaper rash.

cindy24 said...

Caution on the lavender oil with boys. My Dr. told me not to use lavender or tea tree on my son due to possible breast enlargement. I stay away from all products with lavender with my son. Just realised i do use tea tree shampoo on him so i might have to rethink that one.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Cindy - Nothing like swapping out one endocrine disruptor for another! Yes, I do remember reading this somewhere as well a few months ago, but completely forgot about it.

I guess the underlying thing is, leave it out if it's a concern.

Liz said...

I use cloth diapers, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times my toddler has needed diaper cream. The commercial stuff isn't compatible with cloth diapers, so I typically end up doing something different (such as grapefruit seed extract or sometimes something as simple as letting him go diaperless).

Olivia said...

Sometimes diaper rash is caused by a food allergen, either in the baby's diet or the nursing Mum's diet. I had 3 kids and cloth diapered them all - the only time I saw diaper rash was when my eldest was about a year and I gave him some homemade whole wheat bread. He had terrible diarrhea and a horrendous rash that appeared suddenly. As soon as I took him off wheat he never had another rash. I am celiac and he is likely predisposed to it as well, although, as a young adult now, he no longer heeds my advice on anything. The middle child had a similar reaction when I drank milk and she was nursing - turns out I am also lactose intolerant *sigh* and she had issues there as well. The youngest had no issues at all.

Karine said...

Like Liz said, most of the commercial creams are not compatible with cloth diapers. However, I was told the problem was the Zinc (it diminishes the absorption power of the cloth diaper by leaving residue). So I am not sure that this natural cream would be better for cloth diaper since it has Zinc oxide in it. But maybe zinc oxide is different from the zinc in commercial creams?

Crunchy Chicken said...

If the zinc is a problem with your cloth diapers and you still need some sort of barrier cream, I'm sure you can leave it out of the mix.

Colleen said...

What funny timing. I visited this site this morning to comment on the coconut oil post. I'm using it on my baby for her diaper area! She doesn't get diaper rash, but I like to moisturize the area. I'm finding that it doesn't absorb into my skin as much as I'd hoped, so I think it's getting wiped off onto my pillow-case, and it's too greasy to wear during the day. But I still plan to use it in the evening and on my neck decollette, and on body. Thanks for the tips!

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I've found that the best treatment for diaper rash with my three girls is a naked tush in the sun. Some homeopathic silica also does the trick for folks looking for an alternative.

Carolyn said...
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Carolyn said...
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cindy24 said...

So many things to keep track of. Thanks for the posts, I need to order some coconut oil to try for my skin and my kids. I have to look through your old posts cause i think you did one on the safest sunscreen awhile back. my friends think i am crazy because I am always quoting "crunchy chicken" and have a freezer full of pureed pumpkin.

Crystal @ Semi-Crunchy Mama said...

Great info, both in this post & in the comments. I use cloth diapers for my son, and am wary of ruining them w/ any type of cream because I keep hearing/reading conflicting information about what brands or ingredients are cloth-safe and which or not. My solution was to cut up a few old t-shirts to use as liners for the rare times he has had a rash & needed cream. Otherwise, we've been able to go creamless most of the time. I'm going to try this recipe next time he does get a bit of a rash -- it seems like it would be a better value than any commercial cream.

Sarah C said...

For those of you who cloth diaper and still need a diaper cream, cut old cotton t shirts in to strips. Use this as a barrier between the kiddo's skin, and the diaper. Works like a champ (diaper champ).

My spawn is cloth diapered and never gets a true rash, but occasionally gets eczema due to food allergies.

Jen said...

Yeah, the zinc oxide barrier cream will practically destroy your diapers. Because it gums up the absorbency with its barrier-ness, your diapers will start to leak. Don't ask me how I know this, because it's depressing to think how many expensive diapers I lost to that mistake, even though I was using rice paper liners which I thought would prevent the problem.

The GroVia "magic stick" and other vegetable-oil/beeswax based balms work well for me. Of course, moisture barrier is necessary in extreme cases, but hopefully if you're using cloth and/or letting them go free in the sunshine, they should be fine. :)

Jenette said...

I have started using Badger Baby Balm. I was using some form a lady that makes it but she closed up shop for a bit. This was the closest, cloth diaper safe, non-petroleum product I found.

Ingredients: *Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Golden Yellow Beeswax, *Castor Oil, *Calendula Extract and Essential Oil of *Roman Chamomile. * = Certified Organic

Ellen said...

I know this is an old post, but I was reading all the comment about zinc oxide and absorbency. Between my Mom and I, we have about 15 years of cloth diapering experience, using a variety of brands, but mainly pre-folds. Neither of us have ever noticed a problem with zinc affecting cloth absorbency. We haven't used liners between the cloth and the cream, either. One thing that might have helped for me is that I do a rinse cycle with vinegar before the diaper wash cycle... but Mom never even did that. I think it's an experience-dependent thing and it's worth trying to see if it's a problem for you... because zinc-based creams are the ONLY thing that helps with my daughters' diaper rash and I've tried just about everything.