A new baby comes with a lot of pee and poop, it’s just a fact of life.
That translates to a lot of diaper changes. It’s important to keep your baby’s diaper area from getting raw, hence the need for diaper creams. Plus, you don’t want your baby’s skin to dry out from things like bathing either, so keeping your baby’s skin moist and protected is critical.
But what kind of cream or ointment is best for my baby’s tush (and other body parts)?
There are so many different creams, ointments, and salves out there for baby bottoms, that it can be hard to decide which one is the best one for your baby.
Two of the most popular choices are Aquaphor and Vaseline; but what’s the difference?
In this article, I want to break down the differences between Aquaphor vs. Vaseline for baby and help you decide when and how to use each one.
The main difference between Aquaphor and Vaseline is their key ingredients: Vaseline is 100% petroleum jelly, while Aquaphor is 41% petroleum jelly (or petrolatum) and a combination of other ingredients like lanolin, mineral oil, and glycerin, among others.
This difference means that Aquaphor is more versatile and better suited for use on raw diaper rashes and other cuts and scrapes. Vaseline is a good, cost-effective option for creating a protective barrier on baby’s skin, but in most ways, it’s inferior to Aquaphor.
Let’s take a little bit of a closer look at this comparison.
Aquaphor — a clear-ish paste — is sold as a “healing ointment” that is a combination of several different ingredients focused on moisturizing and protecting the skin, including:
- petrolatum jelly
- mineral oil
Aquaphor can help soften skin, as well as help soothe skin that is raw and chapped from things like dryness, Eczema, and other issues.
Aquaphor also serves as a barrier on the skin, protecting it from outside elements that could cause infection, dryness, or discomfort.
This makes it ideal as a diaper cream or rash balm for babies. It’s good not only for protecting their butt and privates but also for treating diaper rashes when poo or pee was left in an unchanged diaper for too long.
Anecdotally, you can use it for other minor cuts and scrapes as well, due to its healing properties and its ability to absorb into the skin.
The joke in my house is that it’s a “miracle” ointment that you can throw on just about any patch of skin to heal it!
Aquaphor is sold in several forms including lotions and ointments and can be found with the names Aquaphor Advanced Therapy, Aquaphor Advanced Healing, Aquaphor for Baby, and more. You can purchase the product in a tube or a jar, and simply apply it to your baby’s skin with your hands.
The main uses of Aquaphor are:
- To provide a protective barrier to your baby’s skin
- To moisturize your baby’s skin
- To soothe and protect your baby’s skin if it is raw or dry, or if there is something like a scrape or small cut present
Aquaphor has healing properties because it contains lanolin. Therefore, if your baby’s in need of an ointment to not only moisturize her skin but help heal some sort of irritation, like a scrape, or a rash from something like Eczema, Aquaphor is a good choice.
Aquaphor comes in a variety of sizes and can be pricier than other products on the market, but parents swear by it. There are also some off-brands that claim to be similar to Aquaphor, but your mileage may vary and we’ve always preferred the original!
(You’ll find Aquaphor as a must-have on my list of newborn baby essentials.)
Pros and cons of Aquaphor
- Ultimate moisture: Aquaphor has an awesome moisturizing ability, thanks to its extra ingredients.
- Healing properties: Due to the lanolin in Aquaphor, the ointment also can double as wound therapy.
- Trusted: Aquaphor has been around for over 90 years, making it a trusted and reliable brand
- Absorbs easily into the skin: You can apply Aquaphor liberally to the diaper area and a few hours later, it will all be fully absorbed into baby’s (now amazingly smooth and moist) skin!
- Expensive: If you’re on a tight budget, going with the Aquaphor brand name can get pricey, depending on how often you need to use it. However, since it works so well, you might decide that it is worth the extra cost!
Need to stock up on some Aquaphor? Grab the classic tub from Amazon right here.
Vaseline for Baby Explained
Vaseline has been a household name for generations, introduced almost 150 years ago!
The 100% petroleum jelly product has been used for a variety of things in its time, including as a beauty tool and as a base in making several DIY products like soaps and moisturizers.
Using vaseline for baby is a tried and true tradition.
Vaseline serves as a barrier for the skin and can also lock in moisture to keep your baby’s skin soft and smooth.
While Vaseline provides an excellent barrier that can keep your baby’s skin protected, it does not actually moisturize the skin.
Vaseline works by locking in moisture that is already present. Therefore, if you apply it to your baby as soon as she gets done with her bath, while there is still moisture on the skin, then the Vaseline will help your baby’s skin retain that moisture.
Applying to dry skin will not help much with moisturizing.
The main uses of Vaseline for baby are:
- To provide a protective barrier to your baby’s skin
- To lock in moisture so your baby’s skin stays soft and smooth
Vaseline does not contain healing properties since it is 100% petroleum jelly, but its use as a skin barrier can still protect your baby’s skin from infection. For example, you can apply Vaseline over a cut to prevent any outside elements from getting in the wound.
For this reason, though, it’s not the best choice for treating diaper rash, though it can help prevent new rashes and prevent the existing rash from getting more and more irritated.
Vaseline typically comes in a jar in a variety of styles, such as original, intensive care, and some that are labeled as “Baby.” The only difference between the original Vaseline and Baby Vaseline is that the Baby Vaseline comes with a mild scent.
Vaseline works very well as a skin protectant and does a great job locking in moisture.
Plus, it is relatively inexpensive — only about $5 for a 7.5-ounce jar.
Pros and cons of Vaseline for Baby
- Excellent protection: Vaseline serves as an incredible barrier for your baby’s skin.
- Cost-effective: Vaseline is relatively inexpensive compared to similar products on the market, especially considering its long-lasting reputation.
- Reputable: Vaseline is extremely safe and trusted, having been around for almost 150 years.
- Locks in moisture: Although Vaseline doesn’t create moisture, it is excellent at locking in moisture that is already present, keeping skin very soft and smooth.
- Does not moisturize on its own: Vaseline can lock in moisture, but it is not a moisturizer.
- Does not have healing properties: Vaseline is completely comprised of petroleum jelly, and it’s main use it to act as a barrier for the skin; it does not have healing properties.
- Does not absorb into your skin: If you use large amounts of vaseline on baby’s bottom, you may need to come back later and remove much of it that hasn’t absorbed, unlike Aquaphor.
Need to pick up some Vaseline to keep on-hand? Grab it now on Amazon.
That about sums it up when it comes to Aquaphor and Vaseline for baby.
In my experience, Aquaphor is the better overall product. It pretty much does it all:
- Cut, scrape, and rash care
- Diaper cream
- Protective skin barrier
Vaseline mostly works as a barrier and isn’t as effective at moisturizing or treating baby diaper rashes. However, it’s a lot more cost-effective.
What do you think? Do you swear by Aquaphor for all things baby, or are you Team-Vaseline?
And before you go, check out more baby stuff explained like: