Skinfix's Diaper Rash Balm comes with claims that it will soothe diaper rash "on the spot," and heal it after just one application. While it does have some ingredients that can definitely help in this regard, there are a couple that have the potential to cause more irritation, which is why this earns only an average, two-star rating from us.
Diaper Rash Balm comes in a plastic squeeze tube, and is a very thick, white balm. This is due mainly to the amount of zinc oxide in the formula, listed here as an active ingredient at 20%. That's good news, since in addition to its more common use as a sunscreen ingredient, zinc oxide is also an effective anti-irritant, and is considered one of the gentler skincare ingredients available.
Also good is the inclusion of additional anti-irritants like aloe and allantoin, and non-fragrant plant emollients like jojoba oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. Toward the end of the ingredient list there is even paraffin and petrolatum, which will help create a protective barrier on skin.
The issue here is that Skinfix also included oriental sweetgum, balm tolu, and benzoin, all fragrant tree resins which have the potential to irritate skin. Though they're not present here in large amounts, any amount of potential irritation could be a problem for sensitive, delicate baby skin that is already inflamed. See the More Info section for additional details.
Because of this, Diaper Rash Balm is a product we don't recommend. Instead, consider one of the superior options on our list of Best Body-Care Products (which includes baby products).
Note: Despite the fact this contains a high amount of zinc oxide, it isn't formulated to work as a sunscreen. Sunscreen actives require careful dispersion and formulation to function as a sunscreen active, so don't look to this to do double-duty as an SPF.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Canadian-based Skinfix is part of a growing number of skincare brands targeting a particular niche. Instead of trying to solve every skincare issue out there, it has a very specific target audience; in this case, it’s people who have chronically dry, sensitive skin that’s prone to issues like eczema and contact dermatitis.
The brand’s site begins, as many do, with an origin story that relates the tale of Thomas Dixon, who crafted his own healing ointment for dry and cracked skin in England back in the 1850s. The formula was passed down for generations, and the Dixon family continued to make it after they moved to Nova Scotia decades later, where they eventually sold it in pharmacies. Skinfix as a brand didn’t come into being until 2006, when Dixon’s great-great-great granddaughter decided to make the concept into a skincare company, with the focus remaining on treating chronic skin issues and very dry skin.
For the most part, Skinfix gets it right. The majority of its products are fragrance-free and contain beneficial plant oils, skin-identical ingredients, and anti-irritants in rich, thick balms that will serve to soothe and treat cracked, dry skin. The line also includes gentle cleansers that are mild enough even for use on babies and children, whose skin is still developing.
In fact, the only misstep is the inclusion in a handful of products of fragrant tree resins (such as balsam tolu and benzoin) that could irritate very sensitive skin. They aren’t in large amounts in any of those formulas, and those with normal skin should have no issues with them, but for the sensitive skin they are designed for, they are not ideal.
Aside from this, Skinfix is a promising brand, with many products we recommend. The brand is available in the United States at Target, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries, and diapers.com.
Strengths: Mostly gentle, effective formulas to treat dry, sensitive, or eczema-prone skin; packaging keeps ingredients stable; most products are fragrance-free.
Weaknesses: Some products contain tree resins that could potentially irritate sensitive skin.
For more information, visit www.skinfixinc.com or call 1-866-92-PASTE.
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