Make Your Own {Pure and Simple} Diaper Rash Cream– No More Desitin!

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. But, it's not the safest choice either – never fear, you can make your own zinc-oxide diaper rash cream with only THREE ingredients!

If there’s one thing that us moms can be especially picky about, it’s what we put on our precious baby’s skin.

I’m the same way. I only want to use the most gentle and natural products possible whether it’s laundry soap, castile soap, sunscreen, or lotion for my little ones.

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:

  1. Zinc oxide powder
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Beeswax

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.

This particular batch was mostly made as a baby shower gift. I put it in a cute jar and added one of these adorable printable canning labels that I found on (where else?) Pinterest.

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!

What do you use for diaper rashes?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. beatrice says:

    can i use lanolin instead of bees wax?

  2. Jessica says:

    How long does it last because I want to make large batches

  3. My daughter had a persistent diaper rash for almost her first year. I finally figured out that it was her wipes that were to blame. I replaced them with a mixture of 1/4 organic olive oil, and 3/4 water in a squirt bottle. I shake the bottle, soak some paper towels and clean the baby. Safe for baby, safe for cloth diapers, and that rash is gone!

  4. Capucine says:

    Hi! I am working hard to stop using Desitin. I haven’t had luck finding a substitute, so here I am! I specifically want to be sure I make it with 40% zinc, do you know if that ratio is what your recipe creates? I want to include Cod Liver Oil, since it is either that or the high zinc that is the secret for our family. Would I reduce the amount of coconut oil and replace with some cod liver oil, do you think? I’ve never made a single ointment in my life, this will be a first!

    • Based off the sunscreen recipe it has 1/2 cup total oil same amount beeswax and 2tbsp zinc stating that zinc was 20% of the formula. So maybe for this recipe just doubling the zinc should give you approx 40%. Unless you can do all the math for it and get an exact

  5. Mine is watery? I did the recipe exactly as listed, the only thing I added was a tsp of raw organic Shea butter. It was a liquid in the pot of course but after adding zinc oxide powder it is still just a watery substance. Help!

  6. I made this, but I’m afraid I didn’t blend long enough with blender. When it hardened, there were white splotches through our the cream. Can I reheat it, and then blend longer to not waste it?

  7. Becky Olason says:

    Where do i buy the Zinc Oxide powder ?

  8. I love this home-made version of diaper rash cream! I leave it on the wipe warmer, which makes it easier to apply. I use Fuzzibunz cloth diapers and decided to risk using the cream without a liner (since I was out at the moment). Unfortunately, the diaper cream has not washed out of the cloth diapers. I’m going to try using soap directly on the spot when dry and seeing if that pulls it out.
    Definitely use this cream, but use a liner too.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. I make this without the zinc oxide. It’s cool to see other versions of it! I love the sunscreen recipe too. Thanks for the awesome posts! :)

  10. I was exploring your “desitin” recipe and wondered about the 3/4 tablespoon of zinc oxide powder. I do not a spoon measure for 3/4 tbl…how many teaspoons does this convert to? or ounces? Thanks!

  11. I swear by Desitin, but hey, if I can make my own healthier version then I am all for it! Thank you so much for posting this! Only three ingredients, that’s awesome! Even I can manage that:)
    BTW – awesome blog and website all around!

  12. I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to use zinc oxide on cloth diapers; I wouldn’t risk it. Plus, I don’t think zinc oxide is good for our bodies, right? It seems like this blog usually urges against its use.

  13. I actually make something very similar-same ingredients, slightly different proportions!! I have stopped, however, when I switched to cloth diapers about 4 months ago–I assumed that the zinc oxide would not wash out of the dipes…Tell me this isn’t so, because it works wonderfully and it is a piece of cake to make!!! We would use it topically for other things as well, but I just haven’t made it because I assumed it wouldn’t wash out!!

  14. I just ordered my beeswax and zinc oxide off of eBay this morning. Should be here in a couple of days. I’m excited!

  15. I make an herbal salve similar to what Stephanie does, but when the rash is really bad I make the following:
    Take dried plantain leaves and pulverize them in a spice grinder or food processor until they’re powdered. Then mix that with bentonite clay in equal proportions. I’ll end up with, say, 1/4 cup of each. I put that mix in a glass jar, add about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and then enough coconut oil to make it a paste. I’ll add a few drops of tea tree oil, then pack it on baby’s hiney. It’s pretty miraculous – looks incredibly better within 24 hours.

  16. I would love to try this (once we are moved and settled again someday) but as always when I read posts like this I look at the links to the places to buy things and they are always USA stores. Do you know of any stores that are Canadian and/or will reasonably ship to Canada and not get held up at the border/sources for these types of things in Canada? Its on my “mental to do list” to do an extensive internet search to see but I haven’t gotten to it yet.


  17. Wish I would have known about this a year ago :-). I’ll pass it on!

  18. Is zinc oxide okay to use on cloth diapers?

  19. Thanks! Do you know about how long the cream will last (i.e. shelf life)?

  20. Where do you get zinc oxide?

  21. Finally, a place to find zinc oxide powder! I usually use an herbal salve that I made with plantain and calendula, but when a baby gets a nasty rash (like the one she just broke out into while fighting a general infection), I use the salve and raw honey. The honey does wonders! Safe for baby’s bottoms, not for their tummies. ;)

  22. Thank you for this! I really needed it today. My son has a rash that just won’t clear up.

  23. I had wondered about Tea Tree Oil, considering that it’s a natural antiseptic & is a natural skin healer? I had heard that it’s not a good idea to put directly on your baby’s skin, but if it were mixed in the cream instead of the zinc oxide? What do you think? :)

  24. how long will this keep?

  25. Michelle W. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this! My kiddos have never really had a diaper rash because I use Happy Baby Bottom Balm from Nature’s Gift. It has german chamomile and lavender which are very soothing and calming. My oldest did develop a crazy rash once after being very sick and taking antibiotics and steroids. The only thing that cleared it up and gave him relief was calmospetine.
    Thanks for all of the great info!


  1. […] of you interested in the diaper rash cream I plan on making one day, the recipe I will be using is this one.  Be sure to use a liner if you use cloth diapers!  The Zinc Oxide acts as a water repellent, and […]

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  4. […] my pediatrician happy, but my cloth diapers and wallet happy as well.  Plus, Stephanie’s recipe, based onSimply Soothing rash creamfrom MadeOn Skin Care Products, contains zinc oxide which is […]

  5. […] zinc oxide from Burt’s Bees or another natural company.  Here’s a recipe for making your own.  The zinc oxide forms a barrier between the skin and the diaper to keep it clear of the urine and […]