Of all of the perceived advantages of being a baby (frequent naps, being lovingly snuggled in to a stroller, etc), wearing a diaper isn't one of them. Doing your, ahem, "business" in a fixed location strapped to your behind until someone else notices? Yuck. You do the best you can, but with shopping trips and over night, the diaper can be a scary place. I feel terrible when I find my son has a mess or has been wet too long. Another side effect is the occasional rash due to a change in diet, moisture, teething, or a myriad of other, sometimes mysterious, reasons.
But it's not just junior that suffers when a bum cream is in order. Someone has to buy it and smear it on there. Facing a whole shelf of pastes, gels, and ointments with various pros and cons, we decided to get to the bottom of diaper creams. We surveyed several moms and dads, in addition to trying them ourselves, and we have a review of some of the biggest brands out there. A dozen products were put through the ringer, and today we bring you the top 4 (in no particular order); two extra thick/heavy duty and two medium-thick/spreadable.
So, how did we decide how to rank our various products? First we asked what you looked for while perusing the baby section. Other than effectiveness of the treatment (duh), the most common virtues people were after were the ease of application/ texture (thickness mattered a great deal), smell (or lack there of), and cost. As expected, no consensus was reached as to the very best kind, but the reasons they chose their faves will help you decide what's best for your tiny tush. The prices listed were taken from Walmart, simply as a point of comparison.
This seems to be the classic diaper cream, and it's my husband's favourite. We received 3 as presents at our shower, so that demonstrates the trusted nature of the brand name. People describe the smell as slightly medicinal and I would add "plastic." It goes on incredibly thick and leaves quite the residue - so, not ideal for cloth diapering. I find the film off-putting on my own hands, but it is certainly effective as a barrier and treatment. It received far more pros than cons for baby, if mom can deal with the mess and the scent.
Aveeno (cream in tube 105g, $6.97)
For babies with sensitive skin, Aveeno is often a good choice. With natural ingredients and hypo-allergenic formula, this product also ranked highly. The cream is scent-free and very thick like Penaten. While it seems to leave less residue, it also seems to provide less benefit than its traditional counterpart. Due to the slightly higher price tag, this product falls behind the competition.
Live Clean Baby (cream in tube 75g, $5.96)
This lesser known brand is my go-to and ranked number one with another of our moms. The smell is fresh, in the vein of clean laundry. Very mild, but pleasant. It applies very easily, as it has a medium-thick texture, and leaves minimal residue on hands. Because of this, I feel it is easier to spread one-handed and much easier to clean up. Our reviewer also mentioned how well this product absorbs, leaving little one's skin less sticky.
Sudocrem (cream in jar 125g, $7.47)
With international recommendations and over half our surveyed counting it among their faves, Sudocrem has a following of its own. The smell is light and faintly sweet, not at all chemical. It also has that medium-thick density that makes it easy to spread and tidy up after. I find the plastic pot format a little tricky, but it travels well and stands out from the many tubes you end up accumulating.
Other favourites included Desatin and Zincofax, both for their thickness and mild scent. In the end, they all do the job for mild irritations and it's up to you what you like. Obtain samples where you can, or buy a few travel sized ones before you commit. If you choose wrong, you're not out a great deal and there's far less waste. Plus you can always refill those little jars for a more diaper bag friendly size!
If your diaper rash is not getting better, getting worse, or bleeding, seek medical attention. A professional can tell you if the problem is yeast related or due to an allergy, and offer other helpful information!