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Over the last few weeks, I've been busy testing recipes for lip balms, lotions, sunscreen, and diaper creams so that I could share them here. Needless to say, they're not ready yet, but in the meantime, I've unexpectedly discovered the simplest (and perchance the absolute best) diaper cream ever.
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Most natural diaper salves and creams are made with coconut oil – whether or not it's the main ingredient depends on the manufacturer – but needless to say, coconut oil typically plays a part in any cream. So, a few weeks ago when I had made one batch that turned out particularly hard and non-spreadable (which is completely not helpful when dealing with sore bums and sensitive skin), I grabbed what was nearest at hand to slather on my toddler's skin. That “nearest at hand” happened to be the jar of coconut oil I had open as I was formulating my latest recipe.
Now I should mention that both of my sons have very sensitive skin. My toddler in particular will not only get a rash from slightly prolonged exposure to a wet or dirty diaper, but his skin will literally break open in bleeding, weeping wounds from the uric acid and ammonia. Thus, we go through a lot of soothing salves and creams with him. (He's even been known to put a tin of diaper cream in the diaper bag himself before we head out the door.)
So, when I slathered coconut oil on him, I expected it to be a token gesture as part of the diaper changing routine, but what we discovered was that he found it very comforting and soothing as it was applied and through the day, his skin healed much more quickly than ever before. It also left the skin soft and it melted quickly due to body heat, so it was easy to spread. The only downside is it tends to absorb fairly quickly into the skin, so it's not the best moisture barrier for extended periods of time (say, overnight), but its healing and protective properties can't be mistaken.
I shouldn't have been surprised. ((http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/more-good-news-on-coconut-oil)) ((http://www.naturalnews.com/036156_Coconut_oil_superfood_healing.html)) Coconut oil is widely known for its nutritive value, both in diet and in skin care. It's rich in antioxidants and bursting with natural microbial and antibacterial fatty-acids, and it's loaded with Vitamin E, which certainly hastens the recovery of the skin in traumas such as burns, cuts, and other wounds.
So, due to all of this, we started using coconut oil exclusively as our diaper-care cream and are very happy with the results. And talk about frugal and financially-savvy – assuming you already purchase and use coconut oil in your home, it's one more way to use a product you already have. Smart – very smart.
Oh, and two notes: using coconut oil alone is cloth-diaper safe, so even though it's often recommended to use a liner when applying diaper creams, don't worry about it with coconut oil. You certainly can line your diapers if you want to be extra careful with your warranties, but coconut oil washes off beautifully with a normal diaper washing routine, so no need to stress about it.
Also, be sure to use extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil if you can, as the refined versions will have far less potency due to the fact that the antimicrobial properties are minimized during processing.
Here's to happy, healthy babies with radiant skin!