Best bum cream for babies South Africa (Plus nappy rash causes & home remedies)

by Sameerah Karolia
Baby Yum Yum - Best bum cream for babies South Africa (Plus nappy rash causes & home remedies)
Reading Time: 7 minutes

How do you get rid of nappy rash? This is a question being asked by many South African parents with babies who are still in nappies. No parent wants to see their little one upset and in pain, and bum rashes are a pain for everyone. 

Thankfully, there are many treatments available. But there is also a significant amount of misinformation on baby rashes and how to treat them. Read on to find the causes of nappy rash, as well as the bum cream for babies and some tried-and-tested home treatments. 

Best cream for nappy rash South Africa

There are many baby bum creams available for parents – sometimes too many, because knowing which ones will work best can be tricky. Here’s a list of the top 5 creams for baby bum rashes, many of which have been used for generations before us.

Embeba Diaper Balm

Introducing Embeba’s award-winning Diaper Balm, the reliable ally in your diapering adventure. Specially formulated for your baby’s sensitive skin, their balm is enriched with natural powerhouses like calendula, honey propolis, and chickweed herbs. It provides immediate relief and proactively prevents diaper rash, creating a comforting, lightweight barrier that banishes the discomfort of damp diapers.

Their eco-friendly, 100% cardboard applicator ensures a mess-free, precise application, eliminating the need for messy creams. Backed by dermatologists and pediatricians, Embeba hypoallergenic balm is a safe and naturally effective choice.

Embeba Diaper Balm

Bepanthen Bum Cream

Bepanthen is somewhat of a miracle antiseptic cream. It can be used for a number of ailments, including insect bites, stings, and sunburn. But it’s also great for nappy rashes, and it’s completely free from colours, fragrances and preservatives.

Oh-Lief Natural Olive Bum Balm

Specially formulated using beeswax, olive oil, and lavender, this is an organic and natural bum rash balm. It’s also cloth safe, for those not using disposables.

Fissan Baby Paste or Cream

Used for years, but recently improved on, Fissan is a household name. You can get the paste or the cream, and it’s gentle on baby’s bum but strong enough to get rid of nappy rash. 

Sudocrem Baby Care Cream

Sudocrem has been around for 85 years, so it’s a trusted formula that helps soothe, heal and protect your baby’s bum. It’s made using water-repellent properties which also works as a protective barrier. 

Bennetts Baby Bum Cream

Bennetts is designed to be used every day when doing nappy changes, so as to avoid nappy rash occurring. It’s a protective barrier made from Lanolin, Zinc Oxide, Starch and Pure Essential Lavender Oil.

Best cream for nappy rash South Africa

Types of diaper rash

We all know the saying “as soft as a baby’s bottom” but we also know that these sensitive little bottoms can be irritated, causing diaper rash. Fortunately, if you know what type of diaper rash you are dealing with it makes it a lot easier to treat. Yes, you read right. There are various types of diaper rash and each one is treated differently.

Contact diaper rash

Contact diaper rash is the most common. It is caused when wet skin comes into contact with the diaper. You may see redness and swelling of the skin along the top of the diaper, over the bum area, and around the legs.

Yeast rash

Yeast rashes are often caused by a yeast infection. This fungal rash lives on your baby’s skin and in the intestines. It can grow rapidly in moist environments, making a diaper the ideal place to thrive. This rash in infants appears as tiny dots or pimples usually found in creases and folds in the diaper area. 

If left untreated you may see swelling, blisters, ulcers, large bumps or sores filled with pus. Baby fungal rashes need to be treated with topical antifungal medication in the form of a cream, ointment, or powder. Your doctor would be able to prescribe the right one for your baby.

Allergy-related rashes

Allergy-related rashes arise as a result of an allergic reaction to something such as shampoos, detergents, diapers, wipes, creams, lotions, soaps and even foods that a baby may have eaten. It is harder to identify because it looks like a contact rash, but it doesn’t clear up with traditional treatment. Try to identify and remove the allergen. If the rash still continues contact your doctor.

Bacterial rashes

Bacterial rashes such as staph and strep are usually caused when bacteria enter already open skin. Staph infections look like pus-filled blisters that rupture and form a crust. Strep infections are a bright red rash found in the area around the anus and genitals. Bacterial rashes need to be treated with antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics.


Eczema is a skin condition that can be hereditary or may be triggered by a food allergy. It appears as red, dry, scaly patches. Certain foods, soap and fragranced wipes/creams can aggravate these rashes on babies’ bodies. Try and identify and remove the cause. Eczema creams can also be purchased from your local pharmacy.

Different types of nappy rash

Traditional treatment

Besides expensive creams and oils, there are some very simple steps you can take to alleviate and treat a baby rash on the bum. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before diaper changes.
  • Do not leave baby in a wet diaper for long periods of time. You do not need to change baby after every pee but the diaper should be changed every two to three hours. Poo nappies should be changed immediately!
  • Clean baby’s bottom thoroughly, but gently, and then let the area dry before putting on a fresh diaper.
  • Make sure the diaper is not closed too tightly.
  • Use only alcohol- and fragrance-free baby wipes and creams.
  • Use cotton wool dipped in warm water to remove dried poo.
  • Once the area is clean follow with a layer of barrier cream, such as Bennetts Baby Bum Creme – one of South Africa’s trusted brands – to protect your little one’s bottom.
  • Air out the skin by letting baby go without a diaper for a little while each day.
  • Use disposable diapers (not cloth) while baby has a diaper rash, as they are more absorbent and minimise the skin’s exposure to wetness.

Best home remedies for nappy rash10 home remedies for baby rash on bum

Below are some common natural nappy rash treatment options. Many of these items will be found in your kitchen, and are unlikely to cause any harmful effects on your baby. 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has antifungal and moisturising properties and can be used to treat baby’s fungal rash by applying a thin layer onto their bottom.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Mix three drops with coconut oil and apply as a barrier cream.

Sitz bath

Soothing sitz baths (with baking soda, coconut oil or oatmeal) balances pH levels and removes unwanted bacteria and fungi from baby’s skin.

Using breast milk to treat rashes on infants

As breast milk is packed with antibodies, it will heal skin and soothe irritation. Apply it on a cotton ball and dab it onto the affected area.

White vinegar to treat baby rash

Clean baby’s bottom with cotton wool dipped in a mixture of one teaspoon white vinegar in a cup of water.

Aloe vera on bum rash

Aloe vera gel is natural and soothing, and can be used to treat inflammation.

Yoghurt for diaper rash

A layer of sugar-free yoghurt can also be reapplied at each diaper change.

Make your own rash remedy

Make a mixture of almond, tea tree and lavender essential oils and water. Put in a spray bottle and spray onto the affected area. Pat dry.

Can you use vaseline for nappy rash?

Vaseline (petroleum jelly), nipple cream and shortening can all be used as barrier creams to protect the skin from urine and stool, but not for treatment of a rash in infants.

Maizena for nappy rash

Powders such as baby powder and maizena (corn starch) can reduce friction and moisture but should not be used on baby’s bottom because your baby could inhale it, causing damage to the lungs. Also, maizena can actually make a yeast infection worse.

Please note: The above home remedies are not medical advice and should be used at your own discretion.

Baby rash facts and myths10 Baby rash facts and myths

There are many theories and opinions about baby rashes that have been believed by many for years. But not all of these are facts, here we separate the truth from the myths so that you can have a better understanding of how to help your baby. 

  1. There are diaper-related rashes and non-diaper-related rashes caused by different problems. #FACT. Diaper-related rashes are caused by skin irritation, yeast infections or allergic reactions. Non-diaper-related rashes are caused by bacteria and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
  2. Breastfed babies have fewer diaper rashes than formula-fed babies. #FACT. This is probably because formula-fed babies are more likely to get diarrhoea and gastrointestinal illness than babies who are breastfed.
  3. A diaper rash is less likely to be caused by pee alone. #FACT. The enzymes in poo may irritate baby’s skin. Poo also contains organisms that can cause skin infection. As urine breaks down, it releases ammonia which causes the pH of the skin to rise and also makes the enzymes from baby’s stool more active. This can lead to damage of tissue and skin resulting in diaper rash.
  4. Baby wipes can aggravate diaper rash. #FACT. While most baby wipes are safe to use, some contain alcohol and additives like antiseptics or are fragranced, which can irritate the skin. Some brands are also rougher than others.
  5. Teething causes diaper rash. #MYTH. Teething does not directly cause diaper rash. Diaper rash is a result of wet skin coming into contact with the diaper. If your baby is suffering from teething-induced diarrhoea, this increases the chances of suffering from diaper rash.
  6. Antibiotics indirectly cause diaper rash. #FACT. Antibiotics can cause diarrhoea which increases the risk of developing diaper rash.
  7. Diaper rash doesn’t just appear on the bum. #FACT. It can appear on any part of the skin that the diaper touches such as the lower abdomen, top of the legs, lower back and folds and creases of the skin.
  8. There are two different types of diaper cream. #FACT. One is a barrier cream, such as Bennetts, that is used before the rash occurs and the other is a treatment cream to be used after the rash develops.
  9. Using too much bum cream is a bad thing. #FACT. Applying too thickly can decrease the absorbency of the diaper, creating a moist environment increasing the risk of developing a rash.
  10. Changes in your baby’s stool could cause diaper rash. #FACT. This is especially true when the changes come from trying fresh foods. 

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