Face Basting with Diaper Cream: Is It Good for Acne-Prone Skin?

Woman Face Basting with Diaper Cream

In the world of skincare, creative new trends are always popping up, but one we did not see coming was applying butt paste to the face…

Called “face-basting” by Dr. Shereene Idriss who popularized it on TikTok, this method is similar to slugging but uses a thick layer of zinc-based diaper cream to help protect and heal dry and irritated skin. Is this the right choice for acne-prone skin?


Derm Hack: Use a Zinc Oxide diaper rash cream on your face overnight to repair dry, cracked skin aka Face Basting! For more Winter Skincare Hacks: my newest youtube video is up now ❄️🙌 #slugging #sluggingmethod #skinbarrier #skinbarrierrepair #dryskin #dryskincare #dryskintips #dermatologist #shereeneidriss #pillowtalkderm #dridriss @ShereeneIdriss

♬ greedy sped up – Tate McRae

What is Face Basting?

Like with petrolatum (Vaseline) used in slugging, diaper cream is an occlusive product that prevents trans-epidermal water loss, helping to keep moisture in your skin. When your skin is dry and irritated your skin barrier is often damaged, making it more prone to losing much needed hydration. Even if you have oily skin this can happen when you use active ingredients like retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide more than your skin can tolerate. 

Diaper creams are made with zinc oxide in an ointment or cream base that often contains petrolatum. They are made to protect and heal babies’ skin from the rashes that can come with wearing diapers. When face-basting, you apply this thick white cream as an overnight mask in order to maximize the soothing and hydrating benefits.

Does Face Basting Cause Acne?

So, does face basting work for acne-prone skin? Probably not. While finding ways to keep our skin protected and hydrated while using acne treatments is important, the ingredients in diaper creams were designed to treat and prevent rashes on babies and are not a good match for acne-prone skin on the face. 

Although the active ingredient in diaper cream, zinc oxide, does not cause acne, many diaper creams also contain pore-clogging ingredients such as lanolin, oils, and waxes that can lead to pimples if applied to the face. 


FACE BASTING: Should you apply but* cream to your face? Video credit: @Samantha Orr Derm credit: @ShereeneIdriss #facebasting

♬ original sound – Doctor Youn

Additionally, while the petrolatum used in most of them does not directly clog pores and may work for people with dry skin, if it is applied to skin that is oily or prone to acne, it can potentially worsen breakouts. The thick barrier of petrolatum that keeps moisture from escaping can also trap bacteria and oil in your pores, leading to pimples. 

Benefits of Zinc Oxide for Acne-Prone Skin

While face basting with diaper cream may be a trend that those of us with acne-prone skin have to sit out, there is still a benefit to using zinc in skincare.

Zinc oxide is a mineral-based compound that is known for its protective and soothing properties. It can help with inflammation, act as a physical barrier to shield the skin from irritants and UV rays, and aid in healing skin issues like acne or minor irritations. Zinc oxide has many benefits for acne-prone skin, including:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Zinc oxide has significant anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the redness and irritation associated with acne outbreaks.
  • Antimicrobial Effects: This mineral can help kill bacteria that cause acne, reducing bacterial-induced inflammation and preventing future breakouts.
  • Sebum Reduction: Zinc has been shown to help regulate oil production, preventing the excessive sebum that can lead to acne.
  • Barrier Protection: By creating a protective layer on the skin, zinc oxide can shield sensitive acne-prone skin from irritants and pollutants that may exacerbate acne.

Alternatives to Face Basting

Just because a thick layer of heavy and rich diaper cream is not right for our skin type doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to get the benefits of face basting in a more acne-prone friendly format:

Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

One of the best alternatives to face basting with zinc diaper cream is to get the benefit of zinc in a mineral sunscreen that can protect you from UVB and UVA rays during the day. Choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen with zinc oxide and you can get the soothing benefits of zinc, while also protecting your skin from harmful UV rays and avoiding the heavy formulas of diaper cream.

Barrier Repair Products

If you are dealing with dry irritated skin or even going through the “retinol uglies,” there are many other moisturizing creams that can help hydrate and soothe irritated skin that are specifically designed for the face instead of babies’ butts. Look for barrier creams and other products that will help hydrate the skin and reduce transepidermal water loss but are non-comedogenic and suitable for your skin type.

ETUDE SoonJung Hydro Barrier Soothing Cream

$17.49 ($3.16 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
05/15/2024 10:14 pm GMT

Zinc Products for Acne

If you are looking for other ways to incorporate zinc into your skincare routine, you can find some zinc-based products designed with acne-prone skin in mind. That way you can get the benefit of zinc for acne while avoiding the risk of the potentially acne-causing ingredients in diaper cream.

COSRX Centella Blemish Cream with 7% Zinc Oxide

$12.99 ($12.37 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
04/26/2024 09:16 pm GMT

Selective Use

If your skin is particularly irritated and you are desperate to try this trend to see if it provides relief, you can choose to face baste selectively. Apply a thinner layer of protective zinc-based cream like Cicaplast or Cicalfate to your irritated areas as an overnight mask and see how your skin reacts. Be sure to only use this option sparingly and only as needed so you aren’t surprised with clogged pores after using it every night. You can also keep a zinc-based cream on hand to help heal any future burns or irritations on your body. 

As with any new skincare trend, it’s important to be cautious and make sure it is appropriate for acne-prone skin before jumping in. Although we will need to skip face basting due to the comedogenic ingredients in diaper cream, we can still incorporate the essence of the trend by using good moisturizers when our skin is dry and irritated, and finding ways to use zinc oxide in other formats, such as sunscreen.

Related Posts