Saturday, March 17, 2012

My "Green" Medicine Cabinet: Diaper Rash

So we're moving right along with all my favorite "green" alternatives to common ailments that reside in my "green" medicine cabinet. We've talked about pink eye and baby teething relief, and to stick with the "baby" theme, today we're going to talk about diaper rash. I think that wearing cloth diapers has helped prevent Avery from having more diaper irritation, just because her little bum can breathe more and isn't exposed to other chemicals in traditional diapers. But I think diaper redness and irritation is just part of life for a new baby. Luckily, Avery has ever had a full, blown diaper rash, but she has had some redness and irritation...at least enough to make me say, "Awww, poor baby." 

When she was younger (birth to 6 months I'd say), she rarely ever got any type of diaper irritation or rash. If any redness or irritation came up, it was usually small and I just put some breast milk on it. Within a matter of hours or day, it usually went away. Thank you, all powerful breast milk...you rock!

But, when I started doing "baby-led solids" with Avery, where I offer her solid foods along with breast milk whenever she needed it, I began to notice a tad bit more redness and irritation that I couldn't make go away with breast milk. Probably because she just had much more variety in her diet, as opposed to breast milk, breast milk, oh and more breast milk!

Symptoms experienced with this ailment:
  • redness
  • irritation
  • sometimes a few little spots or bumps
  • chaffing in a specific area, sometimes her diaper cover will rub her around her thighs if I don't get it on right
  • or other symptoms you can read about here

Traditional medicine: I think the one brand synonymous with diaper rash is Desitin. I'm cool with some mainstream products, if they're clean and green but something about one of their top selling products: Desitin Maximum Strength Original Paste mentioning the word "paste" had me a little weary. Time to investigate in the best way I know how... by reading the ingredient list (which I found here).

Ingredients:
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (40%) (Skin Portectant)  Inactive Ingredients: BHA, Cod Liver Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Lanolin, Methylparaben, Petrolatum, Talc, Water

Bleh, bleh, bleh! Are you kidding me? Parabens, petroleum, talc, lanolin (oil from sheep's dreadlocks!) and perfume all in what I'm going to be putting on my sweet, baby's most sensitive parts, are you kidding me?! Surprisngly, one of the most toxic ingredients is the BHA, which is a common preservative that also has concerns related to causing cancer and endocrine disruption, among many others.
Fail!

Now Desitin tries to sugar coat it, saying:

Zinc Oxide, the active ingredient in DESITIN® Maximum Strength Original Paste, is a skin protectant. It provides protection by forming a rich, thick protective barrier on skin, preventing wetness and other irritants from reaching the skin underneath.

A thick protective barrier, that doesn't seem right?

They then go on to explain some of their other "inactive" ingredients:

"Cod liver oil, which is rich in vitamins A and D--a skin protectant that provides protection by forming a protective barrier on skin, preventing wetness and other irritants from reaching the skin underneath. Cod liver oil is also an occlusive skin conditioner that increases the water content of the skin by blocking the evaporative loss of water


Petrolatum, an occlusive skin conditioner that increases the water content of the skin by blocking loss of water through evaporation.

Lanolin, a skin protectant. It provides protection by forming a protective barrier on skin, preventing wetness and other irritants from reaching the skin underneath. Lanolin is also an emollient skin conditioner that helps maintain the soft, smooth, and pliable appearance of skin. Emollients function through their ability to remain on the skin surface or in the skin’s top layer to act as lubricants, reduce flaking, and improve the skin’s appearance."


Nice try Desitin, but clearly you aren't going to work for me. Want to know more of what's NOT SAFE about this diaper cream? Read up on the Envrionmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosemetics Database review of this product, it was very insigthful.

Enter my green alternative...

"Green Medicine Cabinet" alternative:  GroVia Magic Stick
Cue 50 Cent song with Lil' Kim "Magic Stick"...ha ha! Every time I say the name of this diaper ointment, I think of this song. Funny.  All joking aside, this diaper ointment is magic. Clean and simple ingredients, no fuss, no mess, works quick every time. Truly, magic!

GroVia Magic Stick, my "green"
alternative to traditional diaper ointment.


According to their website:
"Now keep your hands clean when applying diaper balm. Easy to use Magic Stick goes on smooth and keeps baby’s delicate area protected and comfortable."


What the balm looks like.


How I used it: These days I use the diaper stick as needed. Sorry for TMI, but because Avery eats a lot of solid food, her bowel movements are fairly solid, which makes for easy clean up (just drop it in the toilet), but sometimes if I don't know she's gone the little BM can just sit in there for a little longer. Usually she'll be just fine, and other times that will lead to irritation. With this in mind, anytime I see the redness start, I will apply some of the diaper stick (a simple, gentle swipe or two) the the red area after I have taken off the dirty diaper, wiped her, and let her air dry for a second. I simple continue applying the diaper stick during each diaper change until the redness or irritation is gone...which is usually just in a matter of hours.

To apply, just rub gently onto a clean bottom or wherever
redness or irritation occurs.

How it's greener: Remember that nasty ingredient list from above with petroleum, lanolin, and perfume...we'll let's see how the magic stick stacks up:

Ingredients:
Vitis vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Apis mellifera (Beeswax), Limmnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) Oil, Simmondsia chinesis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Oil, Rosa mosqueta (Organic Rosehip) and a proprietary blend of essential oils.

Ahhh, much better. ( : All these natural ingredients give this diaper stick an awesome essential oil smell, it's great!
"That's what I'm talking about Mom! Clean ingredients!
No petroleum or parabens for me!"

Just a head's up: this is probably common sense, but each baby should have their own diaper stick. Say you have siblings, or you watch your friend's baby, use caution to make sure you do not swap out their diaper sticks, for obvious reasons. There is a special spot on each stick to write the child's name that it belongs to.

One last thing, I've also used the diaper stick to treat other ailments (cut, scratch, or funny looking bump) that Avery's had pop up in these past 11 months. It might seem weird to use a diaper stick on her arm, leg, or even face (most often where she will scratch herself if I don't keep those nails of hers trimmed!), but it truly does work and it works fast. You may wonder if it would transfer the diaper irritation to the infected area elsewhere in the body, but it never has for me. It clears up whatever the skin ailment is within a matter of hours on most occasions.

"See guys, this is my diaper stick."

Where to find it: Online at Amazon.com is probably your best bet, or if you have a cloth diaper store nearby. Online it costs about $13-14, which I can understand is quite a jump in price from the more common and (slightly toxic) diaper ointments which are $5-6, but this diaper stick is worth it's weight and gold! And on top of that, it last a really long time. Avery is closing in on 11 months old now, and I'd say I'm about halfway through the stick. So it will last you for quite a while. Still on the fence? Read some of the reviews on Amazon.com about the diaper stick, I always find that helpful.

Now if only it could just keep her from escaping the diaper change!


Ready to give this "magic stick" a try?  Or do you have your own favorite, natural diaper rash treatment? Anyone else just use breast milk? Share below!

See you next time!

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