Is it Safe to Use Coconut Oil On A Diaper Rash?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on April 16, 2023
3 min read

Diaper rashes are common for babies, and there are many diaper rash creams available for purchase at your local drugstore. However, many parents want to use as many natural products as possible with their infants. Coconut oil is a popular choice for diaper rashes, but does it work, and is it safe? 

About Coconut Oil

Coconut oil comes from the coconut fruit, just like the name suggests. In addition to having a mild, sweet smell, the oil has natural properties that are great for skin. Dermatologists boast its ability to moisturize and rejuvenate skin while also reversing the aging process. While your baby doesn’t need any help with aging, the fact that coconut oil helps to heal skin means that it has the potential to help heal diaper rash, too.

Different Types of Rashes

Before you begin treating your baby’s diaper rash, it’s important to discern what kind of rash it is:

  • Chafing – This is the most common rash. It is red and often includes small spots or bumps in places where diapers or clothes rub against the skin frequently.
  • Yeast infections – This is a bright-red, tender rash that is caused by candida overgrowth, often because of moisture buildup. 
  • Cradle cap – While this typically appears on a baby’s head, this deep red, scaly rash can also appear in the diaper area.
  • Eczema – Instead of being an overall rash, your baby has dry, scaly red patches that may itch and weep
  • Impetigo – A bacterial infection that develops as a result of another rash or irritation and has large blisters that weep or ooze

Causes of Diaper Rash

All diaper rash comes down to irritation. Since your baby pees and poops in their diaper, you may think that is to blame for all rashes. While they are definitely contributing factors, other things could be to blame. You may notice friction marks where your diaper rubs on your baby’s legs and abdomen. Over time, these areas become raw.

If you don’t change your baby’s diaper often enough, wetness leads to candida overgrowth and a yeasty rash. Since yeast thrives in warm, moist environments, it is more difficult to get rid of than other rashes.

If your child has other skin conditions, they may spread to the diaper area. In that case, you should consider the rash as part of the overall condition. Remember, if your baby’s bottom becomes raw from a typical diaper or friction rash, it leaves them much more susceptible to other skin conditions developing like impetigo.

Treating Diaper Rash

Coconut oil is a great way to gently treat your baby’s diaper rash. However, it is so mild that it may not be strong enough to improve the condition of a tough rash. If you don’t see improvements within 24 hours, try other diaper rash products that are petroleum or zinc oxide-based. 

If their rash still doesn’t clear up, it could be yeast. Look for an antifungal cream to kill the candida overgrowth. Once you clear up the rash, use coconut oil to condition your baby’s skin and help it heal from the damage.

Diaper Rash Prevention

Once you solve your current diaper rash problem, it’s important to keep it away. It’s much easier to prevent a rash than to treat one. You can prevent diaper rashes easily with these tips:

  • Change diapers frequently
  • Watch the sugar and acidity in your baby’s diet once they are eating real food
  • Encourage diaper-free time
  • Use ointment or coconut oil to protect your baby’s delicate skin
  • Consider diaper and wipe brands that don’t have irritants in their ingredient list

Pain and discomfort

If your baby’s diaper rash doesn’t get better or the condition worsens, talk to your doctor. Diaper rashes can be very painful and cause other problems if they aren’t treated quickly.

Show Sources


AAD: “How to Treat Diaper Rash.”

Healthy Children: “Diaper Changing 101.”

March of Dimes: “Common discomforts of pregnancy.”

Short Hills Dermatology: “The Benefits of Coconut Oil For Your Skin.”

What to Expect: “Diaper Rash in Babies: Causes, Tips and Treatments.”

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