Whether you choose cloth or disposable diapers, your little one’s tushy is bound to suffer the occasional rash or irritation. Exposure to constant moisture would leave anyone’s skin feeling crabby, but when the party really gets started down below, the combination of substances in baby’s diaper can actually create an acidic environment that can burn baby’s skin!
I’ve seen some gnarly diaper rashes over the years, and one thing that can help both prevent and soothe such rashes is a good diapering ointment. Unlike regular balms and moisturizers that are formulated to sink into the skin quickly, diapering ointment is designed to sit on top of baby’s skin, creating a barrier between the moisture of the diaper and that tender little behind.
Castor oil is a key ingredient here. Its thick, greasy texture is just right for protecting tiny bottoms from diaper rash. The gentle soothing properties in the Herbal Body Oil add a little bit of moisturizing and conditioning, and natural wax helps bind everything together. Zinc oxide can be added to provide extra protection. The inclusion of zinc will give the ointment a thicker, more opaque quality while reinforcing baby’s delicate skin and hopefully aiding in quick healing and recovery. Be sure to look for an uncoated, non-nano zinc oxide powder while shopping for ingredients. The powder should be advertised as having a particle size of at least 0.1 microns (100 nanometers). If the particle size is any smaller it may not be as effective and could potentially be a health concern.
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon (35 ml) zinc oxide powder
- 1/2 cup (60 ml) Herbal Body Oil or apricot kernel oil
- 1/4 cup castor oil
- 1/2 cup (120 g) cocoa butter
- 1/2 cup (120 g) shea or mango butter
- 2 tablespoons (15 g) beeswax or candelilla wax
- Mix zinc oxide powder with 2 tablespoons Herbal Body Oil or apricot kernel oil in a small bowl; whisk until the ingredients are well blended. Set aside.
- Combine the castor oil, the butters, remaining oil, and wax in a double boiler or a slow cooker set to low heat. Heat until the ingredients are fully melted.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and let it sit for a few moments before carefully pouring about half of the mixture into one heatproof jar.
- Mix the reserved oil and zinc mixture with the remaining melted oil and butter mixture. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally to disperse the zinc. When it has cooled to the touch and thickened to about the consistency of yogurt, it may be poured into a jar.
- Allow both jars to cool and harden completely (about 2 hours) before use.
I like to keep two jars of diapering ointment on hand: one with zinc and one without. I usually opt for the zinc ointment if my child already has a rash. For everyday care, I usually choose the zinc-free ointment.
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Cover courtesy of Spring House Press
Excerpted with permission from The Handmade Mama by Mary Helen Leonard (Spring House Press, 2018).