Q. I love your column with the low-cost remedies. I have horrible eczema and my granddaughter has inherited it from me.

My grandson has really BAD diaper rash. It is hard for him to walk, and he cries when we bathe him or clean his bottom. Someone suggested making a “paste” with Maalox but I don’t know how that would work. Do you have any suggestions?

A. The Pharmacist’s Letter, a professional publication, classifies Maalox for diaper rash as a rumor. Nonetheless, many parents and some pharmacists are enthusiastic about this treatment for diaper rash.

In this home remedy, the baby’s skin is cleaned promptly and gently with plain water. Maalox liquid is applied with a cotton ball. Once it has dried, a protective barrier like Aquaphor or zinc oxide cream can be smoothed on gently.

If the rash persists for more than a few days, it makes sense to check with the baby’s doctor. Too frequent use of Maalox might expose a baby to excessive amounts of aluminum and magnesium, especially if the skin is irritated. A diaper rash caused by yeast may disappear after treatment with an antifungal cream.

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  1. g.girl

    I split the leaf of an aloe plant and used it on my grandson when he got a rash that was very sore. It quickly relieved the pain and he healed better than using the butt paste or zinc oxide.

  2. amberm

    My pediatrician prescribed a combo of Maalox, Aquaphor, and zinc oxide. My son has had diarrhea for 9 days and has a HORRIBLE diaper rash. We’ve been using this for a little over a day now and it is AMAZING. I would definitely recommend this stuff!

  3. bmcw

    I am a periodic eczema suffer, recently I had a bad bout due to a new shampoo.
    It took off down my neck across my shoulders- soon it showed up on my arms. A couple evenings ago I couldn’t sleep the itching was terrible, I went to the internet and saw the article re: Maalox cure for diaper rash a similar rude little rash-I didn’t have Maalox but I did have Pepto Bismol. Guess What I dabbed it on my shoulders and neck, immediately no-itching now two days later – rash is almost disappeared.

  4. J. Anderson

    I was also going to suggest browning flour for severe diaper rash. We had tried every type on our granddaughter as her skin was literally raw and she was miserable. While the butt paste worked the best, it still didn’t cure it. A nurse at the pediatrician’s office heard my desperation and suggested taking plain white flour and lightly browning it on the stove. I tried it and it cleared her up in a day! I still keep it in a parmesan cheese shaker jar as it works on any skin rashes for any ages. Its like a miracle cure with no side effects and no expiration date! I try to tell everyone about this as it really works.

  5. TMF

    Diaper rash is caused by the baby’s poop (rather than urine, which can irritate a rashy butt, but will not create a rash), so changing a poopy diaper immediately is a must. Buttering up the baby’s bottom with zinc oxide cream or petroleum jelly help add a preventive layer of protection for those seconds that elapse before the diaper can be changed. Don’t use wipes on an irritated bottom, plain warm water is more soothing. Some of the suggestions listed here may work to heal the rash…but preventing it in the first place is the best option.

  6. michele

    My now 5 year-old had horrible diaper rash when she was teething. It was like acid had been poured on her bottom. Pedi’s gave me all kinds of ointments but nothing worked at all. I was desperate and a friend told me about mixing Aquaphor with Mylanta and using that. I tried it and it was like magic!
    It cleared up the red rash immediately. But as soon as she pooped the rash was back. So I knew it was more than just normal diaper rash. I started her on probiotics immediately and within a week or so the acidic poops stopped. This would occur every time she was teething heavily. She never drooled so maybe she was swallowing the acidic drool which was causing acidic poop??
    I’m not sure but the Mylanta and Aquaphor saved us. The probiotics are sooooo important. We all need the good bacteria in our guts! I still give it to her and to my 2 1/2 year-old.

  7. Anne

    My son, now 50 had a horrible rash. You don’t even want to know! The advice I got was to switch from detergent in laundering his cloth diapers to Ivory Snow and washing soda. Absolutely nothing else worked but the Ivory did, thank heaven.

  8. FBL

    Nothing was said about the type of diapers. The continuing problem may be a reaction to disposable diapers.
    Try cloth diapers. That solved the problem for my son.

  9. ckennedy

    Ecxema and diaper rash are quite often reactions to foods the body can’t tolerate. A baby’s bottom is the end of the digestive tract and diaper rash is a pretty good sign something’s gone wrong along the way.
    Whenever my kids had diaper rash it was caused by diarrhea and when they had diarrhea they had other symptoms as well—cramps, bloating, one had an intussusception, fatigue, trouble sleeping, etc.
    First I figured out lactose intolerance (I couldn’t even drink milk when breastfeeding my youngest because it caused all of the above symptoms). And then I figured out that we were gluten sensitive as well.
    In some people, gut symptoms appear first, in others, the skin can react alone, or along with gut symptoms. Some people have “silent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, and either way, there’s damage going on.
    Putting ointments on top of skin problems can reduce symptoms, but only by avoiding the offending foods will the problem actually be eliminated.
    Doctors are still very bad at diagnosing this type of metabolic disorder, which is far more common than most realize. The average time from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis is 12 years and some people are never diagnosed.
    When people go on a “low carb” diets and feel better, it could be because they’re cutting out a lot of junk, but it could also be because they’re limiting or avoiding grains.
    You have to do your own research. Doctors often don’t even read the results of a simple blood test (celiac panel, which looks for 3 antibodies) correctly.

  10. W.H.

    I recall hearing on a People’s Pharmacy interview with Dr. Greene, the baby doctor, that probiotics given to babies with eczema can help clear up the source of the problem. You can get very good probiotics in capsules that can be given in a bottle of milk or formula and the baby likely won’t even know it. To me, it makes sense to go for the source of the problem. I’m not a mom so don’t know everything about diaper rash but I truly hope this will help you. You might check out Dr. Greene’s book for more information.
    Best of luck to you and the precious little one.

  11. PR

    Don’t think I’m crazy, but an old home remedy used in Texas for severe diaper rash literally saved my son’s life–or at least his bottom. He had prolonged diarrhea and it resulted in several layers of skin eroding, no matter how meticulously I cleaned and kept him dry between bouts. I used very expensive tiny tubes of cream that the pediatrician prescribed, but no help there.
    An elder in the family said to try browned flour. I thought she was nuts but decided it was worth a try I just put flour on a cookie sheet in a medium oven,stirred it frequently until browned. I applied it after each cleaning. Within a day he was better. The skin began to heal and he was soon completely well. I have shared this with a younger niece for her son and she pronounces it “magic.” Hey, you can’t cause any harm and I’m here to testify that it worked for our family under the most severe conditions. Try it–you’ll like it!

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