Cradle cap, medically known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin problem among babies. It is characterized by rough, scaly patches on the scalp. This condition can be seen among newborns as well as children up to three years old.
Symptoms of cradle cap include greasy patches of skin, yellow or white scales, thick crusty flakes, red and irritated skin as well as hair loss. Cradle cap is not associated with any illness and does not indicate that a baby is not being well cared for.
The exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known, although some researchers believe it can be due to hormones passed from the mother to the baby, antibiotics taken by the mother during pregnancy, overstimulation of the baby’s oil glands, extreme weather, irregular skin cleaning, food allergies and growth of yeast in the digestive tract.
Despite the name, cradle cap can also appear on the eyebrows, eyelids, ears, crease of the nose, back of the neck, diaper area or armpits. If it is spreading from the scalp to other parts of a baby’s body, it is good idea to consult a doctor.
Though cradle cap is unsightly, it is generally considered harmless and temporary, unless caused by infection or some other underlying cause. It usually clears up on its own within a few weeks or months, but many parents have a hard time just waiting for it to self-heal.
There are several home remedies that can effectively treat cradle cap on small babies, without harming their soft and tender skin.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for cradle cap.
1. Baby Shampoo
Washing your baby’s head every day with mild baby shampoo and warm water can help get rid of cradle cap. It helps loosen the flakes of cradle cap without irritating the baby’s soft skin.
- Soak your baby’s scalp in warm water.
- Gently rub a small amount of baby shampoo on the head.
- Wait for two minutes and then scrub the scalp with a soft-bristled baby brush.
- Rinse the area well with warm water and gently towel dry.
- Follow this remedy once daily for the first week and then twice weekly until the cradle cap is treated completely.
2. Olive Oil
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends using olive oil to treat cradle cap. The moisturizing as well as healing properties of olive oil can help soften and loosen the flaky scales. Plus, it is good for your baby’s skin.
- Slightly warm a small amount of olive oil.
- Gently massage the oil into your baby’s scalp at bedtime.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, use a soft baby brush or cloth to gently remove any loose particles.
- Wash your baby’s hair with baby shampoo and warm water.
- Repeat daily or every other day, depending upon the severity of the condition.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil works well as a natural treatment for cradle cap. It acts as a natural moisturizer and will loosen the cradle cap flakes while nourishing the scalp. Plus, its antifungal and antibacterial properties with help fight infections.
- Put a small amount of organic, solid coconut oil in the palm of your hand.
- Rub the oil in your palm until it becomes liquid form.
- Gently massage this liquid oil into the scalp or affected areas.
- Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
- Use a soft brush to gently remove the loose flakes.
- Do this once daily until you are satisfied with the result.
4. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is also very helpful in treating cradle cap. Its moisturizing property can help lift the crusts and loosen the oily scales. Many find this to be the simplest and most convenient remedy for cradle cap.
- Before your baby’s bath time, massage his head with a liberal amount of petroleum jelly.
- After one hour, wet the hair with warm water.
- Use a soft brush to gently scrub your baby’s head.
- Rinse the hair and scalp thoroughly with warm water.
- Gently pat the head dry with a soft towel.
- Repeat several times a week until you get rid of cradle cap.
5. Shea Butter
Shea butter is another popular natural cure for cradle cap due to it natural moisturizing property. Also, it is easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue.
- Rub some shea butter onto the affected area.
- Leave it on for 20 minutes.
- Use a soft-toothed comb to remove the loosened flakes.
- Wash the baby’s head with shampoo and warm water and gently pat it dry.
- Follow this remedy once daily until the cradle cap disappears.
6. Almond Oil
Almond oil is also very safe for treating cradle cap. Due to its light texture, almond oil penetrates into the skin quickly. When massaged directly into the scalp, it can help soften the scales and make it easier to rinse them out after shampooing.
- Combine almond oil and tea tree oil in a ratio of 10:1 and stir it well.
- Apply it on your baby’s head.
- Leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Remove the oily flakes gently with a soft baby brush.
- Use a baby shampoo to wash your baby’s hair.
- Repeat daily or every other day to get rid of cradle cap.