If there's one thing that us moms can be especially picky about, it's what we put on our precious baby's skin.
Diaper cream is a tough one for many moms, because rashes can hit hard and they need something effective. Desitin is a popular thick, creamy, zinc-oxide based diaper cream that is a standard on change tables all over North America.
It's popular, of course, because it works. But it's not the safest choice for babies, either. In particular, it contains multiple ingredients that disrupt hormones, which is a very big concern.
What makes it work, though, is primarily the zinc oxide. You can buy many natural brands of diaper cream that contain zinc oxide and don't include the nasty chemicals, but you'll usually pay a pretty penny for them.
What if you could make your own zinc oxide diaper rash cream with only 3 pure and simple ingredients?
The three ingredients are:
- Zinc oxide powder
- Coconut oil
Now, you might be wondering why zinc oxide?
- it has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties
- zinc is an important trace mineral and stimulates the immune system
- it coats and protects the surface of the skin, forming a barrier against wetness (this is probably the most important way that it works)
As for the other ingredients, the coconut oil is the cream's base and what helps it to go on smoothly. Coconut oil is wonderful for skin, and has its own antibacterial and antifungal properties. I've used it with some success for diaper rashes just on its own, when I was in a pinch.
The beeswax actually binds the oil and zinc oxide together into a cream that absorbs into the skin, and won't ruin your cloth diapers (did I just hear a hooray?)!!
This recipe is based on Simply Soothing rash cream from MadeOn Skin Care Products. I tried it a couple years ago, when Renee was first perfecting her recipe. I thought it worked very well on rashes, and was mostly easy to use, except that the room I kept it in was a bit cold (it's right beside our attic), which meant that sometimes it was a bit too hard. She has since made the recipe even better, and in her ebook she came up with a version for colder weather and one for warmer weather.
Her eBook, My Buttered Life: Baby Edition, includes this extremely simple-to-make Diaper Cream recipe that I used for this tutorial, as well as 4 other recipes to nourish your baby's skin.
Homemade Diaper Rash Cream Tutorial
(used with permission by Renee of MadeOn Skin Care)
Beeswax 1/8 cup (1/2 oz.- granules are easiest, but not necessary)
Coconut Oil 2/3 cup (4 1/2 oz.)
Zinc Oxide powder 3/4 Tbsp.
Here's how you make it:
1. Add coconut oil and beeswax to a glass bowl and melt using a double boiler set-up. I always improvise this, so don't stress yourself out thinking that you have to do it in a fancy way.
In fact, this time I was in a hurry and did it straight in the pot (no double boiler) and just watched it really carefully and it was fine.
Warm at a low-med heat until both are completely melted. It only takes a few minutes.
2. Add zinc oxide powder to the bowl with the melted oil and wax.
Using a stick blender, blend for several minutes until the powder is completely mixed in with no clumps.
Again, I deviated (what a rebel, huh?). My stick blender broke a while back, so I just used my hand mixer.
It's important to clean things out right away, and it really it easiest if you wipe it with a paper towel or disposable napkin first. I'm a cloth-in-the-kitchen gal as much as any other "green" homemaker, but honestly? It was hard to clean just using hot water and soap. I should have taken the ebooks recommendation and just wiped it out first.
3. Pour into containers and let cool and solidify.
I asked Renee about the addition of essential oils that would be safe for babies. Here were her thoughts:
You could certainly add a baby-safe essential oil to the rash cream. I would allow it to slightly cool before stirring in the oil. Or pour melted rash cream into container and then stir in essential oil. I personally would prefer not having a scent, especially if it's a gift for a friend's newborn because the friend may be particular about scent, or the newborn could be sensitive. But if it's the plan, aim for about 9-12 drops per 4 oz of cream, trying as little as possible first, especially with essential oils that have a strong scent, like chamomile.
You could definitely pour it into some metal tins like these ones (they would also be perfect for things like homemade vapor chest rub or herbal salve, and are just over $1 a piece- I'm buying some soon!). Mountain Rose Herbs also sells tins.
Since I haven't bought tins yet and didn't have any empty ones to reuse, I opted for small glass jars, my go-to for practically everything.
Where do you get the supplies to make diaper cream?
I got mine in a DIY kit from MadeOn Skin Care. The kit includes coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter (it's intended for making your own hard lotion bars) but you can also add on a package or two of zinc oxide powder. Right now, the kit comes with a free bonus copy of the eBook My Buttered Life: Baby Edition!
Another site that Renee recommends is From Nature With Love (they are one of the few that sell the zinc oxide powder). I haven't used this site yet, but it looks fantastic and I trust Renee's recommendation.
Just so you know, this is what I reach for when dealing with most diaper rashes or wanting to prevent them. However, when we get a rash that is just extremely raw or red and really needs some extra healing power, then I reach for this healing herbal salve. It isn't meant to protect the skin the same was as the thicker diaper cream, but it does heal up open sores or irritation very quickly!