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Balmex is a brand of products used to both treat and prevent diaper rash. There are three products in this line: cream, ointment, and powder. All three work as a barrier on the skin, to help protect the skin from irritants and to absorb moisture. These products are applied liberally as often as necessary.

What Is Balmex?

Balmex® is a brand of non-prescription products most often used to treat diaper rash. There are currently three different Balmex products available, including:
  • Balmex Diaper Rash Cream -- containing 11.3 percent zinc oxide
  • Balmex Prevention Powder -- containing 83.6 percent cornstarch and 11.3 percent zinc oxide
  • Balmex Multi-Purpose Healing Ointment -- containing 51.1 percent white petrolatum.
(Click Balmex Uses for more information on what Balmex is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Balmex?

These products are made by Chattem, Inc.

How Does Balmex Work?

Zinc oxide is an active ingredient in the diaper rash cream and powder. When applied to the skin, it acts as a barrier, helping to protect the skin from irritants and serving as a mild astringent (helping to dry oozing of minor irritation) and a weak antiseptic. White petrolatum (the active ingredient in Balmex Multi-Purpose Healing Ointment) also serves to form a protective barrier on the skin.
Cornstarch (in the powder) works by helping to reduce friction and absorb moisture. Contrary to popular belief, research suggests that cornstarch does not make yeast diaper rash worse.
All three Balmex products have additional inactive ingredients that are intended to promote healing, soothe the skin, and neutralize the irritants in dirty diapers.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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