Can Diaper Cream Really Get Rid Of Acne?

What would we do without the internet? Thanks to social media, we learned that beauty vlogger Farah Dhukai used diaper rash cream as a treatment to help her with her acne (via In Style). We also learned that Justin Bieber's wife Hailey has two go-to spot creams to handle breakouts: the more traditional benzoyl peroxide, and the more untraditional diaper rash cream. Bieber told Refinery29, "I have found that diaper rash cream is a great thing for bringing down redness and healing. If you think about what it's actually used for, which is red bumpy skin, it's essentially the same thing."

As any new mother will tell you, a good diaper rash cream can mean the difference between an angry baby and a happy one, and it comes down to what's in it. "Many diaper creams are formulated with zinc oxide, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps to reduce skin irritation by repairing the epidermal barrier," New York dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum tells Byrdie. Its not FDA-approved as a safe or effective way to treat acne, it's important to note. 

There are multiple reasons why diaper cream on acne is not a good idea

But before you go rushing out to buy a few tubes of Desitin, there is something you need to know, and that is, while in theory, a pimple and diaper rash are inflammatory conditions, they don't have the same root causes. Byrdie points out that diaper cream only treats the redness, and doesn't really address the root problem which causes acne: bacteria and oil, which sits below the surface of the skin. Diaper creams also contain petroleum jelly, which can seal the surface to keep the skin underneath from drying out (via Skincare). So what makes diaper cream so good for baby is the same reason why it really shouldn't be used to help with pimples: Because it can potentially clog pores and make acne worse.

New York-based dermatologist Leslie Gertsman tells In Style that putting diaper cream on a pimple is like putting cellophane on your skin. "The problem is that if you have skin that has acne you're completely closing the pores when you apply petroleum. That's why it's not a good idea. Basically you're taking oily, inflated and potentially infected skin and putting a barrier on it and potentially making it worse." 

So the next time you see the idea on social media, keep scrolling and listen to your dermatologist. Your skin will thank you.