Aloe Vera & Oatmeal: Diaper Rash Quick Fix

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

As we introduce our baby to new foods she’s gotten a couple of extreme rashes. With all my googling I’ve never read about aloe vera being used in place of rash cream, but I decided to try it when all our other commercial diaper creams couldn’t nix a particularly bad rash.

The first time she had a reaction to something she ate, a severe rash popped up out of nowhere. Oh man, it was painful to look at!  None of our 5 commercial diaper creams had any effect on this monster rash.  I almost started making home-made wipes right then and there because everything seemed to irritate her.  After some googling I quickly started giving her oatmeal sitz baths three times a day. This worked really well for reducing the redness but the oatmeal alone didn’t seem to be enough to heal the rash completely. I’ve been using aloe lately for other things and figured that since people use it to help heal sunburns, it might help with the rash.

I slathered it on as thick as I could and within about three applications her rash was nearly gone!

The second time she got a similarly severe rash I couldn’t as easily get my hands on a pure aloe vera plant leaf.  So we came up with a paste of kids Neosporin, maximum strength Desitin, and oatmeal. It sounded like a great idea, but surprisingly it didn’t work nearly as well as the pure aloe vera alone.  This time, in between every diaper, we gave her a little sink wash with some aloe soap we found.  Then we finally got our hands on a small plant from HomeDepot.  I find it a bit more difficult to harvest the gel when the plant is smaller but I adjusted and it all worked out in the end.

Here’s what I did to cure the rash:
For the oatmeal bath, I found this site by Stephanie Brown, “How to Make Your Own Oatmeal Bath” it’s really simple.

  • Basically you grind up 1/3 cup of regular oatmeal.
  • Add it to the warm bath and dissolve as much as you can.
  • Let your baby soak for at least 20 minutes.  When I take her out I don’t dry her rash areas to keep the soothing oatmeal on her skin as much as I can.
  • I also added 2 tablespoons of baking soda after a few baths to neutralize the acidity and irritation on her skin as per this WebMD link.  I was hesitant about this because baking soda can irritate adult skin so I tested it out slowly and it seemed to work on the rash pretty well.

Do it three times a day, and watch the rash nearly go away!  (Cheesy I know, but I couldn’t resist that rhyme!)

For the aloe vera it’s a bit more complicated, but well worth the effort.  If you want a visual step by step here’s a good YouTube video demonstrating how to get the gel from a large leaf: “How to Harvest Aloe Vera Gel + Smoothie recipe” by Kibby Miller.

Image courtesy of markuso /

Image courtesy of markuso /

Here’s what I do with the aloe vera leaf:

  • Pick a leaf which you can feel is very plump with gel.
  • Wash the leaf.  I do this really well because my skin is very sensitive to the outside of the plant.
  • Slice off the thorns.
  • Cut the leaf into sections.
  • Take one section and slice it in half through the middle gooey part so that you now have two halves, each with a gooey side and the outside leaf part.  If you’re using a small leaf, don’t cut the sections too small because you won’t be able to hold onto the pieces very easily for the next part.
  • This gets really messy and takes the most time – use a spoon to scoop out all the gooey middle parts into your container.  Make sure to cut off any small green leaf parts that cling to the gel, because they might irritate baby’s skin.
  • If using a large leaf, the gelatin parts can be really chunky so you might want to use a blender to break them up.  Obviously the gelatin in the smaller leaves won’t be as large, so you won’t need to blend them.  For diaper cream purposes I like to put those clumpy gelatin parts over the worst parts of the rash so they can be absorbed by the skin.
  • Using only clean fingers (so the aloe vera gel doesn’t get contaminated) apply the gel very generously over the entire rash area.
  • Refrigerate the remaining gel.  The next time your baby will really enjoy the application of the cold gel on his/her sensitive areas.
  • If you’re going to use the gel for other purposes, I would keep it in a separate jar from the one you’re using while handling the diapers.

You can find a lot of ways to use the rest of the gel if you selected a large leaf.  I always get about two cups worth and for a diaper rash ointment you won’t come close to using it all.  I’ve found this website is pretty comprehensive regarding how to use the left over gel: The Many Benefits of Aloe Vera . . . The Medicine Plant, from One Good Thing by Jillee.  I always find a lot of useful stuff on her site!  If you’re using a small leaf, I like to gut at least a couple so you have enough gel to work with.  Unfortunately with the smaller leaves I never get much left over, if any.

Cost/benefit analysis:  Individual large aloe vera leaves from our local grocery store cost $1.30, my small plant cost $5.95.  If you get the old-fashioned off brand oatmeal, which is what I use, it shouldn’t cost much more than $3.  Basically you can expect to spend between just over $4 up to $8 for a rash treatment that works after just a few applications and you can get a lot of uses out of those one time purchases!

Diaper rashes are a problem you want solved quickly.  For us, the combination of oatmeal and aloe vera are the most natural and quickest diaper rash cures we have found.  If you’re looking for a diaper rash treatment, you might find this combination useful.

Let me know if you’ve found other natural cures for your baby!

2 thoughts on “Aloe Vera & Oatmeal: Diaper Rash Quick Fix

  1. I just had my own diaper rash disaster and didn’t find any diaper rash miracle cures. My mom suggested aloe vera and I thought she was just being silly. Then I stumbled across your article, and you’ve convinced me to give it a try next time I’m battling a bad rash. Great post!

    • Thanks! Here’s hoping your baby doesn’t have to go through that again, but if they do I’m sure the aloe will help. It sounded odd to me as well but I was very happy I did!

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