Here's Why Essential Oils & Diaper Rash Really Aren't A Great Mix

There are two things you don’t want to see when you open a baby’s diaper — one is leaky poop and the other is diaper rash. For a leaky diaper, all you need is a quick clean-up and fresh clothes, but for a diaper rash, you have to think about the long game. Diaper rashes can be persistent and painful if they aren’t treated, so you might turn to conventional remedies like rash cream. But if you’ve been perusing parenting blogs, you may have seen a growing popularity in using natural oils, so you may wonder, "Can I use essential oils to cure diaper rash?"

In an interview with Romper, Chicago pharmacist Bineesh Moyeed Pharm.D, says that you should be very careful when using essential oils on your baby, especially on areas of diaper rash. “The skin in this area is very sensitive,” explains Moyeed, “and using certain essential oils could worsen the rash or add more irritation to the skin.” She says that while some essential oils may be safer than others, when it comes to your baby, essential oils should only be used under the supervision or guidance of your pediatrician.

Although many people can successfully use essential oils to treat skin conditions, when it comes to babies' skin, the risk of harm is very high. Moyeed explains that you should never put essential oils directly on your baby because their skin is ultra sensitive, and their immune systems are still fragile and developing. She says that the smaller molecular size of essential oils can make it easier for them to penetrate your baby’s skin and enter the bloodstream, leading to harmful side effects including allergic reactions and skin irritation.

You may think it is safer to apply the essential oils if they are diluted with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil, but Moyeed says that it still may not help with the rash. “Coconut and olive oils may be good for dry skin,” she suggests, “but they may not so be so great for diaper rashes.” When your baby has a diaper rash, explains Moyeed, it can be due to the excess wetness in the area, and adding oils may further lock in moisture, making the situation worse.

She suggests that the best option is to change your baby’s diaper frequently, to keep the area as dry as possible, and use an over-the-counter diaper rash cream. Many creams contain zinc oxide, says Moyeed, which provide a thick protective layer over the rash, creating a barrier between moisture and your baby’s skin and giving the area a chance to heal.

Along with excess moisture, there are other circumstances that can cause diaper rash, so it’s important to figure out the source before you treat it. According to Baby Center, diaper rash can occur from chafing or chemical sensitivity from fragrances or lotions, reactions from foods like strawberries and fruit juices, bacterial or yeast infections, or from diarrhea caused by antibiotics.

The website noted that with proper care, most rashes will heal within three to four days, but if you see open sores, oozing yellow patches, pus-filled pimples, or blisters, it may be a sign of infection, and further topical or oral antibiotics may be needed. So if the rash is not healing up, it’s a good idea to head to the doctor to have it checked out.

When it comes to any natural remedies, safety is the most important aspect to consider. With the sensitive nature of babies’ skin and immune systems, it is imperative to talk to a doctor or pediatrician before implementing any homemade remedies, even if the internet swears by it.

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