If your skin becomes irritated and you need (emphasis on the word "need") something to prevent a rash, a barrier cream is necessary and works well.
Emphasis is on prevention. If you are able, wash with a washcloth or wipe at every diaper change. Try to "air out" the diaper area daily (I do). Use a hand-held mirror for self-inspection to detect pre-rash irritation in hard-to-see areas. If there is irritation, use a barrier cream.
For pre-rash irritation, almost any skin lotion will help. I like coconut oil as it is a thin layer that is easy to apply and is easily removable. If the irritation does not go away, I apply Desitin (any diaper rash cream will help). If you need a heavier barrier, look for any barrier cream with zinc oxide. The greater the percentage of zinc oxide, the heavier (and thicker) the barrier cream. The thicker creams are necessary only if you are bowel incontinent (I am). They can be difficult to apply and remove.
Be patient. You may see improvement in 24 hours but a rash may take days to disappear. If it does not disappear (or at least significantly improve) in four days, call your doctor.
Finally, yes, they can be a bother to apply and remove, particularly the thicker ones. However, if you reallly need them ...