Nappy Cream: how to correctly use it

Looking after your baby’s health includes looking after their skin, making sure it stays soft, smooth and healthy no matter what. This means that you may choose to use a nappy cream if they develop nappy rash.

But with so many different kinds of nappy cream available, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your baby’s skin.

We’ve pulled together a guide on nappy cream so you can give your baby’s skin the care it deserves, answering your questions like what nappy cream is, what are its uses, when should you apply nappy cream and how to use nappy cream.


What is nappy cream

Nappy cream is a kind of topical cream, balm or ointment that is used to prevent nappy rash.

Nappy rash is very common in babies and toddlers, and it will affect most babies and toddlers during their nappy-wearing stage. It happens when the sensitive skin of their bottom comes into contact with irritants like wee and poo, or if their nappy doesn’t fit as well as it could. It can also be made worse by irritants like soap, bubble bath or alcohol-based wipes. While it’s less common in newborn babies, it can affect any children while they’re in nappies.

Nappy rash can appear as red patches across your baby’s bottom and nappy area. In most cases, it shouldn’t be sore, but if it’s very severe your baby may be uncomfortable or distressed.

Nappy cream: its uses

Nappy cream helps to provide soothing care when your baby is suffering from the irritation of nappy rash. Some kinds of nappy creams, called barrier creams, are used to create a barrier between your baby’s skin and potential irritants, making it less likely for them to get nappy rash in the first place.

There are many kinds of nappy cream products with different ingredients available either to buy or that can be prescribed by your family doctor or healthcare professional.

The most common kinds of nappy cream products are:

  • Hydrocortisone creams – these are steroid creams that help to treat swelling and irritation.
  • Zinc oxide – these creams and ointments help prevent nappy rash by soothing and protecting sensitive skin.
  • Barrier creams – barrier creams like Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment help to protect babies’ skin from irritants
  • Antifungal creams – used to treat nappy rash that has been caused by a fungal infection
  • Antibacterial creams – sometimes used with antibiotics to manage bacterial infections


When should you apply nappy cream?

You should apply nappy cream whenever your baby has nappy rash to help soothe the symptoms. You can apply a barrier cream with every nappy change which helps to lower the risk of them developing nappy rash in the future.


How to use nappy cream

To make sure your nappy cream is as effective as possible, take the following steps:

  • Remove your baby’s dirty nappy as soon as they’ve weed or pooed.
  • Use unscented baby wipes or cotton wool with plain water to gently clean their bottom.
  • If you are bathing your baby, make sure not to use hot water when you wash them, as this can irritate their skin. After washing is the best time to use a baby-safe moisturiser if they have other skin conditions like eczema. You can use moisturisers all over your baby’s body.
  • If you are bathing your baby, pat them dry before dressing them.
  • If you can, try to let your baby lie without their nappy to let air circulate around the area.
  • Apply nappy rash cream or a barrier cream like Bepanthen at every nappy change, taking particular care of areas where there may be redness or soreness.
  • Put a clean nappy on your baby, making sure it’s not too loose or too tight.
  • You don’t need to put a nappy cream on your baby during every nappy change, but it’s recommended that you apply a barrier cream at every change, especially if they have the signs of nappy rash.

When your baby is suffering from nappy rash, it can be a stressful time for both of you, especially if it’s severe. Find out more about nappy rash and treatments on our nappy rash blog, which also gives tips on how you can naturally help bring relief from nappy rash without using creams.

To help prevent nappy rash developing, you can use Bepanthen every nappy change to protect your baby’s bottom. Bepanthen is an easy to apply and breathable barrier cream, that helps to keep little bottoms happy and protected from the causes of nappy rash. It also contains provitamin B5, which helps to gently aid natural recovery of sensitive skin. It’s available in a 30g or 100g tube, great for using on the go or at home.