Your little monster sweetheart has been acting fussier than usual, and while changing her diaper, you realize the problem: she has diaper rash. You want to start the healing process ASAP, but dammit, you forgot to buy diaper cream at the store. No sweat—here are six mom-tested home remedies for diaper rash you probably already have around the house. Plus, they beat slathering your baby’s bum with white pasty stuff. (Just consult your pediatrician first if your baby has any allergies or skin conditions.)
1. Coconut Oil
There’s a reason that coconut oil is an ingredient in many natural diaper rash creams (we’re looking at you, Honest). According to a 2010 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce skin irritation. It also acts a moisture barrier, protecting the skin from wetness if it’s applied frequently. “I keep a tub of coconut oil on my baby’s changing station and use it all over his skin, not only on his diaper area,” Kylie T. told us. “It keeps his skin so soft and I don’t think he’s had diaper rash once since we started using it after every diaper change.”
2. Olive Oil
“Olive oil took my kid’s rash from red and inflamed to totally gone in a couple of days,” Jackie M. raved. Unfortunately, this one is purely anecdotal and there isn’t much scientific evidence that backs up its effectiveness as a diaper rash remedy. While the jury is still out on whether or not olive oil is the real deal, it could be worth a shot (and you probably have it sitting in your pantry right now).
3. Jojoba Oil
Another popular ingredient in over-the-counter diaper creams (hi there, Curasalve), jojoba oil is derived from seeds and closely resembles our skin’s natural oils. “I add a quarter-sized amount to my baby’s unscented lotion and that usually does the trick,” Ari L. explains. (A little goes a long way and it can be greasy, so don’t go overboard.)
4. Aloe Vera
This gel derived from the aloe plant helps soothe our skin when we’ve been in the sun too long, so it makes sense that it would calm a rashy baby bottom. But does it work? “I had a bottle of pure aloe vera and tried it on my baby’s diaper rash,” Kelly M. said. “It seemed to relieve her discomfort and the rash looked better too.” (The only drawback: Pure aloe needs to be refrigerated or removed straight from the plant, so it’s not really convenient to keep near a changing station.)
5. Witch Hazel
The Mayo Clinic recommends witch hazel as an alternative diaper rash treatment that might work for some babies. According to a 2007 study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics, witch hazel ointment reduced diaper rash in babies and children. “I tried some leftover witch hazel pads from my postpartum recovery, and they seemed to calm the area down,” Jen S. told us.
If you breastfeed, you know that breastmilk is touted as a miracle remedy for everything from ear infections to acne. But can rubbing a little on your baby’s bottom actually reduce his diaper rash? Yes, Jodi P. says. “Whenever my baby doesn’t finish a bottle, I put the leftover milk in the freezer and use it when his diaper rash gets bad,” she says. You could also try adding a few ounces of milk to your baby’s next bath to soothe and hydrate his skin.