Can you use a diaper rash cream for your acne?

I love Zinc Oxide in my sunscreen as it provides the best broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. However, besides serving as a great sunscreen ingredient, topical Zinc Oxide is great for wound treatment and even treatment of burns (source). Besides that, the ingredient is known to have minor astringent and antiseptic properties, and hence, is actually great for healing and protecting the skin, and this is why it is a key ingredient in diaper rash creams for babies. Interestingly, I also read that Zinc Oxide is great for treating acne, and some people are actually using diaper rash creams on their faces!

Drying properties
This comes as no surprise since Zinc Oxide’s drying properties is very beneficial in treating diaper rash or oily skin with acne. Zinc Oxide, which is occlusive, can be used to protect the skin from irritations caused by moisture and chafing as it can block irritants from directly contacting the skin, which minimizes the chance of irritation or infection and can help promote healing (source).

High content of ZnO
So diaper creams are really to help babies’ delicate bottoms from developing rashes caused by moisture and a lack of air ventilation through the diaper. And the idea behind using diaper cream for acne is that most diaper rash creams contain a high amount of Zinc Oxide – usually around 10% or more. More importantly, it’s cheap and readily available!

Probably works for those with high oil production
Going by the comments in the acne forum, diaper cream works well for some but not all. However, at the least, it seems to provide some amount of soothing and did not contribute too much issues for most of those who tried it unless the diaper ointment is very greasy. If you want to read some of the reviews, check out the thread here. I think if your acne is caused by an overproduction of oil, it’s no harm giving diaper cream a try. However, if your sunscreen also contains at least 10% of Zinc Oxide, then it should serve as a good reference if this ingredient is helping with your acne.

May not work if your acne is caused by other reasons
Personally, I’ve had good success using Zinc Oxide-based sunscreen when I was having acne. It didn’t aggravate my acne and I suspect it also helped with the healing. However, my acne was not a result of oil production, but rather a manifestation of something wrong with my digestive system then. But diaper cream? Ah, that I’ve never applied on my face. Come to think about it, I didn’t even apply it to my son’s bottom when he was a baby.

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  1. says

    Lol @ using diaper cream as sunscreen. i’ve heard of people doing that (and i honestly considered it) until i finally found a good ZnO sunblock that din’t leave me ashy-looking : )

    • sesame says

      Hmm…not sure if that many pple use it as a sunscreen as I only read of pple using it for acne treatment. Think most of the diaper cream would appear too ghastly when applied in the day?

  2. says

    ahhh!!! your posts are always very educational! I don’t know anything about Zinc Oxide. I’d love to try Burt’s Bees sunscreen! been a fan of this brand since time immemorial! lol…

    • sesame says

      I wouldn’t recommend Burt’s Bees’ sunscreen because it contains only titanium dioxide as the active ingredient and that ingredient will only offer you partial UVA protection.

  3. says

    I never thought of using it on my face, though I do check out Baby bath products, and I like their formulations for moisturizer and shampoo.

    But so far, I don’t have irritation problems that requires such a drastic measure!

    • sesame says

      I don’t think many pple will use diaper rash cream on the face except for those with acne issues and have not found anything to work for them.

  4. says

    i remember my Mom used to apply a thick pink cream on my baby sister’s bums and I do recall wanting to experiment with it on my arm rashes/pimples. But that was too long ago so can’t really say whether I tried it.

  5. says

    Great post Sesame. Marie Veronique Organic sunscreens are formulated using the same principle. Our Zinc oxide sunscreen is a key component of our Acne Treatment Line Great for adult acne!

  6. says

    hehee… I steal some of my daughter’s diaper cream for my neck area when I develop heat rash (“,) it helps reduce the itch and discomfort caused by perspiration (“,)

  7. says

    I wish someone had told me this information when I was in my early teens! Ahhh the embarassment :) Disappeared with a bit of age and sunscreen (still use this now!). Lovely post, thanks!

  8. Albeirta says

    Although they may have the same component but certainly it is not an assurance that it will really work since it is not intended for acne. It’s just a matter of no matter how you try but it still won’t gonna work our for it does’t soothe your skin.
    Albeirta last post is:

    • Sesame says

      Yeah, I don’t think it’s for the face really but seems it works for some…I guess those are rare cases.

      • says

        I am a teen who has been struggling with acne for ages and my dad actually suggested using dipar cream because he used to use a zinc oxide mask when he was a teen. I was reluctant but i tried it and it got rid of all the redness after just one use! I have been using it for about a week and my skin looks amazing. I was using Boudreaux amd I since switched over to Destin because it has a higher percentage. Yes, it works. I’ve been the the dermatologist and they gave me all kinds of medication and it would never work. I have every kind of acne imaginable from cysts to everything under the sun. I am thankful for diaper rash cream :p.

      • Bridget says

        The cases aren’t rare, DOCTORS actually recommend it too. It also works well for preventing wrinkles. There is zinc oxide in MANY cosmetics. Zinc Oxide has MANY healing properties and gentle that’s why it’s used on babies butts and safe to use on the face. Think about safe enough to use on a BABY’S skin, that should tell you it should be safe and gentle.

        Zinc oxide is also one of the main ingredients in Psoriasis creams, helps with eczema, soothes skin rashes, helps heal cuts, is the can get rid of athlete’s foot, jock itch…the list goes on and on. What people don’t understand is that MANY different products have different packaging and are marketed differently, but in actually are the same product in a different bottle.

        Bottom line, put the butt cream on your face.

  9. fares says

    Thank you Sesame…i tried it today…its very moist…how can it help oily skin and acne??

    • Sesame says

      I think zinc helps to dry up to some extent and the formulation also forms a coat over to protect. Like I mentioned, it’s something I came across but not used. Seems that others have had some success with it and I suspect it depends on the cause for your acne.


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