Simple Recipe for Homemade Zinc Diaper Cream

In the first few weeks of my daughters life, she developed a really bad diaper rash.  I think it was because she slept so well in the beginning (lucky for us) and her bottom was exposed to moisture for too long overnight.  Once it took hold, it was difficult to get it to go away.  We gave her plenty of air time and also exposed her bottom to sunlight in 10 minute intervals, both of which helped a bit.  Eventually, the diaper would go back on, and any moisture would irritate the rash all over again.  I tried all of my usual oils but none of them did the trick.  Finally, I decided to experiment with zinc oxide.  Zinc oxide is a mineral used in most natural sunscreens and also diaper creams.  It is the main ingredient in Desitin Diaper Cream (which unfortunately has a bunch of other junk in it too).  Zinc creates a protective barrier on the skin.  This barrier protects the diaper rash from moisture and further irritation, thus allowing it to heal.   The results were amazing and fast! I applied a layer of cream over her rash any time she had a diaper on and continued giving her bottom plenty of air time.  Within 2 days, her rash was completely gone.

This cream is a lifesaver if your baby develops one of those irritating rashes that just doesn’t want to heal.   Remember to also give their bottom plenty of air time and, if possible, a little bit of direct sunlight on the rash a couple of times a day in 10 minute intervals.  If the rash is chronic, I would highly recommend looking into any possible food intolerance that could be at the root of the problem.

My recipe uses 25% zinc oxide and all ingredients are measured by weight.  You can add more if you feel it is necessary (Desitin Full Strength uses 40% Zinc), but I found 25% to be plenty strong enough.  The ingredients are simple, clean, safe and gentle on the skin.

Don’t have time to make your own? Check out our Magic Diaper Cream, available now in The Little Herbal Apothecary

4 oz net wt. Coconut Oil
0.5 oz net wt. Beeswax, chopped
1.5 oz net wt. Zinc Oxide Powder (25% strength)
1 Tsp Vitamin E
Yields 6 fluid ounces of Cream

Coconut Oil is a great addition to any diaper cream.  It’s anti-fungal properties help to clear up diaper rash and it is also so soothing to the skin.

Zinc Oxide is a mineral that is used often in natural sunscreens and diaper creams.  It creates a barrier on the skin that protects against moisture.  When purchasing zinc oxide, you want to get a non-nano powder.  This ensures that the particles are large enough that they will create a barrier and not be absorbed into the skin.  Zinc oxide, like most powders, can be a health risk if inhaled, so be sure take extra care when working with it.  Once it is mixed into your cream, the risk of inhalation goes away.


Measure out your zinc oxide and place it in a mixing bowl.

Measure the coconut oil and beeswax and combine in a mason jar or heat safe measuring cup.

Place in a double boiler and heat on low until beeswax is completely melted.

Remove from heat, add the vitamin E and mix well.  Pour over the zinc oxide.  Mix with a stick blender until smooth and creamy.

Spoon into clean containers and allow it to cool before putting the lid on.

shared on mostly homemade mondays blog hop, thank goodness it’s monday blog hop

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  • Reply
    May 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Where can you buy zinc oxide safe for making my own sunscreen lotion? Is there specific specs that I should look for? Thanks!

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      May 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      You can purchase zinc oxide at Camden Grey and Essential Depot, both great online resources. Be sure to get “non-nano” zinc oxide.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2014 at 6:27 am

    What’s the shelf life?

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      October 21, 2014 at 8:14 am

      About 1 year. If you separate it into a couple smaller containers, you can make it last longer. Just use one at a time. Keeping the extra cream in a closed container will extend the shelf life.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2015 at 6:22 am

    What quantity of zinc oxide I have to use if I want 40 or 50% ?

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      June 22, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      You can increase the zinc oxide powder in the recipe to 3 oz net wt. to achieve 40% strength.

      • Reply
        January 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        This cream is amazing. I made it. Love the aroma though. But, I have a situation and don’t know if I can modify the recipe. I live in the caribbean, although the cream is in my son’s room… I have an extreme texture variation. For example, at nights when air conditioning is on, the cream hardens almost as cement. At morning my husband and I almost have to scratch the mix to get some strips and apply them. But during the day changes increase and gets liquid. I love the results, but I don’t know what can I do to minimize that texture changes. Is kind of frustrating because I don’t buy Desitin anymore because this cream is wonders. But gets messy difficult to handle. Please, HELP!!! 😉

        • Reply
          the little herbal
          January 10, 2016 at 8:22 am

          Hi Zoe,
          I am so glad you love the cream! And bummed to hear you are having trouble with the texture. Are you using the zinc at 40% like you mentioned above? I don’t have experience with this proportion as I tend to stick with the zinc at 25%. I am also not used to dealing with such drastic weather changes! Is there a place in your home where the temp stays more consistent? Could you keep it there?

          Hmmm, this is a tricky one… If it was only too hard, I would say use less beeswax. But since it is turning liquid during the day, I would advise against that! The best suggestion I can think of is to keep the majority of your product in the fridge, this will protect the oils from the drastic weather changes. Then have a small container in your son’s room for use and refill it as needed. And make sure to use a jar with a well-secured lid for when it becomes more liquid. Sorry I don’t have anything more brilliant to suggest! I keep thinking maybe using shea or cocoa butter would help, but I would have to play with it before I could make a suggestion.

          Thanks for sharing your experience and let us know if you find a great solution!

        • Reply
          November 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm

          I switched to sweet almond oilinstead of the coconut oil. It keeps it creamy at all times.

        • Reply
          November 16, 2016 at 9:55 pm

          You might try upping the bees wax content but whipping it. Hopefully the bees wax will stabilize it at the warmer temps but having whipped it ( with a mixer) will add enough air to keep it pliable at lower temps. The other solution is to do two batches. One for cold weather ( ac) with little wax and one for warmer temps with more wax.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Can this recipe also be used as sunscreen? I find that zinc oxide makes my irritated skin calm and not so red. And instead of coconut oil can I substitute in another oil? Or even shea butter? GREAT POST!

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      November 14, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Yes of course, you can use this as a simple sunscreen, also see my Homemade Sunscreen Post for more ideas on making your own sunscreen. And yes! feel free to substitute in the oils you love and have on hand. If you use shea butter, be sure to avoid heating it for too long so it doesn’t get gritty. Have fun! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    December 19, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Hello, i am allergic to bees wax, what can I use as a substitute?
    Thank you.

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      December 19, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      You could use shea butter. It’s great for the skin and will thicken up the cream nicely. Try equal parts coconut oil and shea butter for the base. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    I am excited to try your balm recipe. Can you tell me if the Vitamin E is necessary or is it just used as a preservative? Thanks!

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      February 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Hi. The vitamin E is not necessary. It is an antioxidant so it protects the oils from going bad and helps to give the product a longer shelf life. It is also great for healing the skin. But the recipe will still be amazing without it! Just make a small batch and use it up within a few months. Have fun!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    For my kids, i just used plain coconut oil or olive oil and it worked great. My daughter got rashes because of poop. We potty trained her early and never got a rash after that. My son only gets rashes when I use commercial baby wipes for too long. At home we just use water and cloth and it keeps rashes at bay. I never changed either kid during the night.

    I’m looking this recipe for my daughter’s excema. What if you don’t have a stick blender? The zinc oxide is very gritty and is not dissolving.

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      October 19, 2016 at 10:04 am

      The zinc can be tricky to incorporate. It really requires a blender to get it to fully mix into the cream. If you have a hand blender, that would also work great!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Is this diaper cream safe to use on cloth diapers?

    • Reply
      the little herbal
      February 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      The zinc and thick oils can build up on the diapers. I would reccomend using a disposable liner or switching to a disposable diapers for a few days until the rash clears. Or you can get into the habit of “stripping” you cloth diapers every few months to get rid of any build up.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 3:39 am

    This stuff could work great fot athlete’s foot as well. I’m going to try this!

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