Desitin Vs. Aquaphor: An In-depth Comparison of Popular Diaper Creams

Parenthood is a blessing, but it comes with challenges that frustrate many parents. For example, many children develop diaper rashes at some point. Diaper rashes can turn into uncomfortable and painful blisters if you don’t treat them.

Luckily, Desitin and Aquaphor creams effectively deal with diaper rash. This article explores the similarities and differences of these two popular diaper creams.

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However, understanding diaper rash will help us understand the creams better.

Diaper Rash Causes

Diaper rash is a skin irritation affecting diaper-covered skin. The leading causes of diaper rash include:

  • Prolonged exposure to moisture – For example, leaving a toddler in a soiled diaper for a long time increases their diaper rash risk.
  • Friction – For example, wearing a too-tight diaper that irritates a baby’s skin that can lead to a diaper rash.
  • Dietary changes can increase irritant chemicals, like ammonia, in a baby’s excretions, causing a diaper rash.

The more of these things your baby experiences, the higher the risk of diaper rash.

Diaper Rash Prevention

Parents can do several things to prevent diaper rashes. Below are measures to try:

  • Change your baby’s diaper frequently so they don’t stay wet for extended periods.
  • Don’t always put the baby in a diaper; give the baby some time off the diaper so his or her skin can air dry.
  • Choose the right diaper size for the baby so it doesn’t trigger irritation.
  • Select your baby’s care products carefully and avoid those with irritants. For example, stay away from wipes with irritating fragrances.
  • Choose absorbent diapers that wick away the baby’s urine, allowing them to stay dry.

In addition to the above, use popular diaper creams like Desitin and Aquaphor. You can use these creams to prevent or deal with already present rashes. Below is a brief overview of the creams.

Desitin Overview

Desitin Daily Defense Baby Diaper Rash Cream with 13% Zinc Oxide, Barrier Cream to Treat, Relieve & Prevent Diaper Rash, Hypoallergenic, Dye-, Phthalate- & Paraben-Free, 16 oz

Desitin is a topical cream that you apply directly on irritated skin areas. The cream works in two main ways.

First, Desitin forms a waterproof barrier that prevents further moisture exposure. Secondly, the drug soothes the already irritated skin.

Aquaphor Overview

Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant, Dry Skin Body Moisturizer, Multi-Purpose Healing Ointment, For Dry, Cracked Skin & Minor Cuts & Burns, 14 Oz Jar

Aquaphor is a multipurpose moisturizer that prevents and treats minor skin problems, including diaper irritations. Although Aquaphor manufacturers do not market it exclusively for diaper rashes, many parents know it for this condition.

Desitin vs. Aquaphor: Features to Compare

diaper change

Although Desitin and Aquaphor are both popular for dealing with diaper rashes, the two are not similar. Below are some issues to consider when comparing the two creams.

Key Ingredients

Zinc oxide is the key ingredient in Desitin. The oxide works by creating a protective barrier over the skin. The protection makes the drugs suitable for preventing diaper rashes.

Zinc oxide also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which help to heal existing diaper rashes.

On the other hand, Aquaphor has petrolatum and panthenol as its key ingredients. Petrolatum is responsible for creating a moisture-proof barrier over the skin. Panthenol, on the other hand, moisturizes the skin to lessen the rash and discomfort.


Desitin is available in multiple varieties for different purposes. Examples include:

On the other hand, Aquaphor is only available as a single-multipurpose cream.

Some parents prefer the simplicity of dealing with a single versatile product since they don’t have to choose. Others prefer Desitin’s variations since they can get the cream that best suits their baby.


Both Desitin and Aquaphor are effective at dealing with diaper creams. However, many parents agree that the Rapid Relief Desitin works faster than the multipurpose Aquaphor.

Thus, you may consider Desitin if you want fast relief for your child. Aquaphor is good enough if your child has a mild rash that doesn’t prevent an imminent danger or emergency.

Consistency/Ease of Use

Aquaphor has a smooth, ointment-like texture that is easy to apply. This consistency makes it easy to spread the cream, making it a preferred choice for parents who value convenience.

Desitin’s consistency or ease of application depends on the variety you choose. For example, Maximum Strength Desitin is relatively thicker than the other varieties. Thus, you should consider the alternatives if ease of application is your concern.


Both diaper creams are relatively inexpensive. In general, Desitin tends to be cheaper than Aquaphor. However, the availability of Desitin in various formulations means some might be cheaper or more expensive than Aquaphor. The cream you choose determines your investment.

So, Which Cream Should You Buy?

baby in bed

The best cream between Desitin and Aquaphor depends on multiple factors. Answering these questions should help you make the best choice.

How Serious Is the Rash?

Existing reviews show that Desitin is better suited to severe rashes than Aquaphor. The difference is probably because Desitin manufacturers mean it for diaper rashes, while Aquaphor is a general rash cream.

Is Ease of Application a Concern?

Some people care more about the ease of cream application than others. Choose Aquaphor if you are one of them since the cream is relatively easy to apply. As for Desitin, the ease of application depends on the chosen formulation.

Do You Want Instant Relief for the Baby?

Some babies have such sensitive skin that even a relatively minor rash affects them. If you have such a baby, get the Desitin Instant Relief for them to relieve the baby’s discomfort immediately.

Does Your Baby Have Other Skin Issues?

As previously mentioned, Desitin is primarily a diaper rash cream. Choose the product if your baby only has a diaper rash. Choose Aquaphor if you want a cream you can use for other skin irritations other than diaper rash.

What Does Your Pediatrician Say?

Ultimately, physicians have more knowledge about medical issues than others. Thus, you should get your child’s pediatrician’s opinion before buying any medication. Otherwise, you might get the wrong product for your baby.


Now you understand how Desitin and Aquaphor diaper creams work. The good news is that both are over-the-counter products for which you don’t need a prescription.

Thus, you can just order your preferred cream once you confirm the baby’s condition. Depending on your baby’s condition., you can even order both products for use on different occasions.

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