This Dermatologist Puts Diaper Cream on Her Face, and You Should Too

This Dermatologist Puts Diaper Cream on Her Face, and You Should Too featured image
Nikola Stojadinovic / Getty Images

Not every skin-care trend on TikTok is worth the time of day (looking at you, at-home microneedling). However, a hack straight from a doctor? We’re listening. New York dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss is always a wealth of information in her #PillowtalkDerm series. One of her recent tips on TikTok left us with some questions, so we asked the expert ourselves.

“Forget about face slugging—let’s talk about face basting,” Dr. Idriss says at the start of her TikTok. “I use a zinc oxide-based cream. You guessed it, a diaper rash cream all over my face, and much to the dismay of my husband, because zinc oxide is gold.” Dr. Idriss explains that she does this after washing her face at night when she’s in a very dry climate or her skin is particularly parched.

“I make myself look like Mrs. Doubtfire or a Magnolia buttercream cupcake then I go to sleep and when I wake up the next morning, my face is as soft and smooth as my baby’s butt,” she says. “It will help repair your face and heal your skin while locking in hydration.”

Diaper cream usually features zinc oxide

Dr. Idriss came up with this hack, which she calls face basting when slugging was popular. “I personally didn’t like the idea of putting such a thick layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor on my face because it felt too occlusive. I wanted something that was a bit lighter but was also going to calm my skin in the process,” she tells us. So she uses a zinc oxide-based cream. “Make sure your diaper cream doesn’t have steroids, because that’s not meant to be used on a daily basis,” she warns us. Her diaper cream of choice is Triple Paste Diaper Rash Ointment ($22). “Zinc oxide has repairing and healing properties, plus helps lock in the hydration. After washing my face at night, I ice it like a cupcake to wake up with hydrated, supple skin,” says Dr. Idriss.

Diaper cream also tends to have skin protectants and emollients

While the general public might find this technique odd at first glance, other experts agree it actually makes sense. New York dermatologist Elaine Kung, MD  says diaper rash creams are often made with skin protectants and emollients. “Skin protectants create a physical barrier against moisture and irritants, promote healing and reduce inflammation,” explains Dr. Kung. “Diaper rash creams are blended with emollient oils that help maintain the skin barrier such as dimethicone, mineral oil, or lanolin,” which are often found in moisturizing products, she notes.

Who should try the diaper cream hack, and who should avoid it?

“It’s great for anyone with super dry skin in a dry climate or experiencing an inflamed, cracked skin barrier,” says Dr. Idriss. She recommends incorporating the hack into your nighttime routine a few nights a week as needed.  “What is good enough for a baby’s bottom is good enough to treat extremely dry skin on our faces,” says Dr. Kung. However, she doesn’t recommend using diaper cream on oily, acne-prone skin since it can be quite thick and blended with oils.

Additionally, Dr. Kung suggests steering away from diaper cream “with masking fragrances, cornstarch or kaolin because they can be potentially irritating.” She recommends Desitin Zinc Oxide Diaper Rash Rapid Relief Cream ($8) or Multi-Purpose Baby Rash Ointment & Skin Protectant ($8).

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