While not a medically serious condition, the scaly scalp condition known as Cradle Cap can be distressing for the parent and child alike. Natural home remedies can quickly relieve this condition without harm to your child.
In adults, cradle cap is known as Seborrheic Dermatitis. Check out Earth Clinic's Seborrheic Dermatitis remedies here.
"Cradle Cap (infantile or neonatal seborrhoeic dermatitis, also known as crusta lactea, milk crust, honeycomb disease) is a yellowish, patchy, greasy, scaly and crusty skin rash that occurs on the scalp of recently born babies. It is usually not itchy, and does not bother the baby. Cradle cap most commonly begins sometime in the first 3 months. The rash is often prominent around the ear, the eyebrows or the eyelids. It may appear in other locations as well, where it is called seborrhoeic dermatitis rather than cradle cap. Some countries use the term pityriasis capitis for cradle cap. It is extremely common, with about half of all babies affected. Most of them have a mild version of the disorder. Severe cradle cap is rare." Wikipedia
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[YEA] 02/24/2009: Tina from Edgecomb, Maine USA: "My daughter had a beautiful thick jet black head of hair and a horrible case of cradle cap - My Pediatrician told me to wash her hair with Liquid Dial Gold anti bacterial soap. I did and it worked. The cradle cap was gone after 2 or 3 washings."Replies
[WARNING!] 05/05/2011: Mommy V from Washington, D. C. replies: "Warning - wide use of commercial antibacterial soaps, with low-grade antimicrobials like triclosan, has been a significant factor in the rise of MRSA and other bacterial superbugs in the states. Our pediatrician, our naturopath, and my father's physician all recommended we get rid of antibacterial soaps in our house. (You can make your own antimicrobial soap using essential oils or grapefruit seed extract.)"
05/05/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Mommy, I wouldn't use any anti-microbial soap, to be honest.... We need some microbes around in order to build up our immune system. They think that a lot more children have leukemia nowadays exactly because of our obsession with cleaniness and little girls who have no big brothers are at risk too because the brothers bring home the dirt they need for their immune system. Be careful......."
05/06/2011: Diamond from Salisbury, Ma.usa replies: "Mommy V. I never buy all that stuff coming out in regular stores, I buy all my soaps at whole food stores or health food & herbs.... I was using plain ole soap like dove, ivory, palmolive and my face aged by ten years, now I use the very best of natural soaps and my face glows it has tightened up with no signs of wrinkles, I actually feel great."
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 11/18/2008: Emily from Charlotte, NC: "I nanny for infant twins who had terrible cradle cap. We began using a cotton ball to apply undiluted organic apple cider vinegar to their heads twice on bath day only, which is twice a week for them. To my knowledge, this was just to control the smell. Within a week or so, the cradle cap had drastically improved and after 2 weeks, was completely gone. We continue the application to ensure that it doesn't come back. I'm a believer and now am looking into remedies for myself!"
[YEA] Brijette from Bettendorf, Iowa: "My Chiropractor told me to use vinegar on my baby girl's cradle cap. I applied it straight and let it sit for 10 minutes before her bath. I've done this only four times now and her cradle cap is almost gone already!!! Maybe this straight vinegar treatment could work for other scalp problems as well."
[YEA] 05/16/2012: Barbara from Los Angeles, Ca. United States: "My baby boy developed a bad case of Cradle Cap when he was only 3 months old.
A friend of the family used Baby Oil on his scalp to soften the junk on his scalp and a small Comb to comb out the Cradle Cap and this worked for my baby boy. The Cradle Cap combed right out."
Baking Soda Paste for Cradle Cap
Home Remedy Ingredients
- Baking Soda
Mix water and baking soda together to create a paste. Then gently rub this mixture into your baby’s scalp. Rinse this off immediately and then you can repeat the treatment once a day until the cradle cap disappears. Your baby should see great improvement usually within a few days.
[YEA] 04/24/2013: New Mom from Oakville, Ontario: "My 6 week old son had is spot of cradle cap on his eyebrow. I applied the baking soda paste and let sit for 10 mins before his bath and usingwarm water and a wash cloth gently wiped the paste off in an upward motion to avoid getting any in his eye. One treatment and the spot was gone!
The only thing to be aware of is that when the paste dryd on the eyebrow it becomes very loose and gritty, you need to be careful the dry bits don't get in your baby's eye.... this can be challenging if they cry and scrunch their forehead.
I highly recommend this treatment!"
[YEA] 03/23/2013: K Kendera from Nassau, Bahamas: "I noticed that my five week old had cradle cap and it really worried me so I went online to see if I could find a home remedy and I stumbled upon this site. I had heard that baking soda was good for acne but never thought it would work for cradle cap. Hesitant, but I gave it a shot. I AM SPEECHLESS! IT WORKS!! I made the paste, left it on for about five to ten minutes then I wet her soft hair brush and brushed the areas where the CC was, rinced, and it was gone. My girl and I are thankful."
[YEA] 05/28/2009: Melinda from Ballarat, Victoria, Australia: "This one has been in my family for decades. Want to see instant results? It's wonderful. To get rid of cradle cap simply mix together 2 tablespoons of bi-carb soda with enough water to make a thick paste. About 40 mls of water. Gently rub the paste in to the baby's scalp for a minute and rinse off with warm water. Once a day.The cradle cap usually disappears completely within a few days. Try it, it works."Replies
[YEA] 10/31/2009: Jessicab from Lorton, Va replies: "WoW!! Thank you for the suggestion of using Bi-carb soda (Baking Soda) and water to make a paste for my baby's cradle cap. I've been alternating with olive oil one day and apple cider vinegar the next. It was working..but very very slowly. I tried the Bi-carb soda paste last night. Made the paste, slathered and rubbed in to daughter's scalp about 20 minutes before bath. I rinsed it out, took a VERY SOFT baby brush and did circular motions around head and then proceeded to wash her head with baby shampoo, rinsed with warm water and WOW what a huge difference. 90% of the cradle cap is gone! I will do it again in a couple of days. I believe you said it typically takes a few doses to cure.
Excellent tip..thanks again!"
[YEA] 02/05/2010: Ilan from Sydney, Nsw, Australia replies: "I tried this solution and it worked perfectly. First time and it's 99% gone. THANK YOU!"
[YEA] 08/06/2010: Dc Mom from Washington, Dc replies: "This was perfect! We probably got almost all of the cradle cap off. We made the paste and put it on his head (which he hated) and bathed the rest of him. Rinsed it off after the bath and then brushed and brushed and brushed. His head smells so much better now."
[YEA] 10/21/2010: Webiegail from Irvine, California replies: "Wow! It worked! I've been trying to get rid of my girl's cradle cap for 3 years now. Last night I applied baking soda paste on her scalp, gave her a gentle scalp massage then rinsed her hair with warm water and it was gone! All gone! I couldn't believe my eyes. :)"
[YEA] 12/02/2010: Nikki from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "This is the best! I had the hardest time trying to get rid of the cradle cap on my 1mo old son's head... But once I tried the baking soda paste I saw instant results... I used it 3x's n last night was the last application, n this morning NO MORE CRADLE CAP!! I'm so happy!"
[YEA] 01/06/2011: Christinet from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada replies: "Absolutely agree! My first son had it so bad I wish I had known about this, now with my second son (3rd child) I used this on his head and ears whenever I see it starting and it's worked like a charm. Not sure if it's preventing it as well. Also seems to assist in taking care of the baby acne too as they seem to be related."
[YEA] 02/08/2011: Tara from Palmerston North, New Zealand replies: "Our three month old girl didn't have a lot of cradle cap but I used the Baking Soda and now there is not a trace of CC left!!!"
[YEA] 05/10/2011: Gio from Atlanta, Georgia, Usa replies: "My grandson developed cradle cap about 15 days ago, and we applied one treatment of the baking soda; left it a while, and after it dried up we rinsed and combed. It was 100% gone."
[YEA] 05/29/2011: Mommyxquatro from Pine Bluff, Ar replies: "All I can say is thank you. I used this method a few nights ago on my 2 month olds cradle cap and WOW, WOW, WOW it was AMAZING. His cradle cap was 100% GONE. His cradle cap was so thick and smelly it also took patches of his hair out it was HORRIBLE. I was desperate for a natural solution and God delivered me to this site. I can't say anything other than thank you."
06/06/2011: Floyd from Frankfurt, Germany replies: "Hi
I am from Melbourne and living in Frankfurt and keen to try this on my baby's cradle cap. Does this treatment sting or hurt the baby?
07/12/2011: Jolene from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario replies: "I'm trying it right now on my daughter, she didn't start to get cradle cap till she was 12 months old and now its spread all over her scalp and was starting to go down her forehead. So I'm really hopeful that this will work. I'll repost in a few days to let everyone know how it went. :)"
[YEA] 07/31/2011: Lindsey from Panama City, Fl. replies: "i used this on my daughter ( 3 months).... She had mild cradle cap.... 1st treatment took care of it! WOW! So happy!"
[YEA] 12/15/2011: Sandee from Wellington, New Zealand replies: "It worked a treat. I slapped on a good layer of the paste onto my 8 week old son's head. Left it for 15 mins and then gently brushed the paste off with a soft tooth brush. All gone, very happy baby and mum."
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 04/30/2012: Amanda from Markham, Ontario replies: "This took most of the cradle cap away... I'll likely have to do it one more time, cuz my daughter has a pretty bad case of it... Plus she has loads of thick hair making it harder to access the scalp. But this seems to have worked the best out of other remedies tried. Plus she has acne and baking soda/water wash is also used to help with that... I kill two birds with one stone. Thank you!"
[YEA] 06/01/2012: Amy from Cologne, Mn replies: "worked great!! Will repeat tomorrow"
[NAY] 07/13/2012: Rosie from Blue Mountains, Australia replies: "I used this paste on my daughter and she screamed while it was on and as I was rinsing it out. The cradle cap looks like it is mostly gone but now her scalp is red raw and looks really sore. I wouldn't recommend this remedy."
[YEA] 06/01/2010: Kitty from Bellingham, Wa: "Cradle Cap - Coffee. My grandson had cradle cap. I applied some cooled, black brewed coffee to his scalp one time and the cradle cap was gone. I was never sure if it was the coffee or it was just gone by coincidence. Coffee is acid like vinegar but doesn't smell as bad. Also good for itchy scalp."
[YEA] 07/15/2009: April from Memphis, Tn: "When my son was a baby he had severe cradle cap. I used dandruff shampoo and after washing his hair a couple of of times, his cradle cap was completely gone."
[YEA] 03/19/2013: Jazzz from Delta Junction, Alaska, Usa: "My son developed bad cradle cap (we live in a dry cabin), I tried baking soda which did work well but the cradle cap came back. The next time I tried washing my three year old's scalp with baking soda I accidentely got some in his eyes while rinsing (which I am sure was painful! ) I decided to find an alternative and found Jojoba oil. This stuff works BETTER than baking soda. I just smeared it over his cradle cap and let it sit over night and then washed his hair. If you have a little one please try this method! It works better and you don't have to worry about getting it in eyes."
[YEA] 05/15/2012: Christi from Little Rock, Arkansas: "My son had terrible cradle cap that went from his eyebrows straight back to the crown of his head. It was terribly thick and crusty. Everytime I would wash it off it would be back by the next morning. I tried olive oil, coconut oil, Oil of Oregano, Apple Cider Vinegar etc. With no avail.
It then occured to me that perhaps Kombucha's acidity and probiotics might help. So the next bath I washed of the cradle cap secretions and put a fresh kombucha scoby on top of his head and left it there for 10 or 15 minutes, then rinsed his head with water. The next morning his head was smooth and shiny bald (the cradle cap was retarding hair growth). The cradle cap was completely gone and two months later it is still gone, replaced with a headful of hair and an impeccably healthy scalp!"Replies
05/28/2013: Becci from Gainesville, Tx replies: "What exactly is Kombucha and where can I find it? Would Walmart have it and if so in what department? Thank you so much."
[YEA] 05/05/2011: Mommy V from Washington, D. C. : "My 16-month old developed cradle cap after nearly a year of clear scalp. I was unwilling to try dandruff shampoos as they can burn the eyes. I used about a Tbs of olive oil. I massaged it into his scalp with my fingers, let it sit for approx 1 minute, and then brushed the flakes out gently with an old baby toothbrush. I then washed his hair with regular shampoo (mostly working the shampoo into the hair and leaving the scalp alone). The first treatment improved the condition by about 75%. I did it once more a few days later, and he's back to 100%! It also seemed to soothe his itching head, which he had been scratching for weeks. (I did not have any problem washing the oil out of his hair, but his hair is very short. Might be more of a problem with girls.)"Replies
05/06/2011: Diamond from Salisbury, Ma.usa replies: "Wow, that sounds like a great idea, my son had real thick hair, my sister said she used baby oil. But I think most oils do help. Thank you for your input."
[YEA] 10/04/2011: Toya from London, Uk replies: "I mixed some herbs with water and olive oil and or a few drops of almond oil - add some rosemary, thyme, to a small desert bowl of cooled boiled water, add some olive oil and almond oil, leave for a few minutes for the mixture to infuse. Pour into an old bottle if you want and then use again later by heating up the oil and water mix over a bowl of hot water. Anyway, I use this with cotton wool like a small shampoo or refreshing wash - it works the best for the itching and for cradle cap. Ive tried lots of other things but they pull the hair out or leave my baby's scalp white."
[YEA] 08/26/2010: Rachel from Hartford, Ct, Usa: "My daughter had what was probably an average case of cradle cap. Thinking I'd save myself the time and aggravation, I went straight to a big box baby store and bought an expensive cradle cap shampoo that all of my friends with babies swore by. Not only didn't the stuff work, it was super greasy and smelled HORRIBLE. My husband had to wash our daughter's head something like four times in a row to get the grossness out, and even then, her hair still felt oily and I had to suppress the gag reflex when I nursed her because she continued to smell like this shampoo. When I brought up my daughter's cradle cap problem at my local mommy group, the lactation consultant who runs the group recommended olive oil. She said to leave it on for twenty minutes to allow the cradle cap to soften, then gently comb out the flakes with a fine-tooth comb. That night before her bath, I did just that. I filled a little dish with some extra virgin olive oil, then put my daughter in her Bjorn facing outward so she could be distracted by a show on TV and not touch her head with her hands. I placed a rolled-up burp cloth behind her head to prevent oil from getting all over my shirt. I dipped a finger in the oil and applied it to her head, rubbing it in gently. We watched TV, walked around the house for a bit, and straightened up the kitchen to kill those twenty minutes, and then I grabbed her comb. The flakes came off with almost no effort at all, and I got most of the cradle cap with one application. The rest of it came off with the next treatment two days later. My husband and I were thrilled. This solution is simple, cheap, and according to my husband, makes your baby smell delicious!"
[YEA] 01/02/2009: Anna from London, Greater London: "Ailment-Cradle Cap -- Remedy: Olive Oil YAY
My sister is a hair dresser. She says some adults still have cradle cap! If you don't deal with it, it doesn't always go!
Both my babies had cradle cap. With my daughter I did nothing, believing it would just go in time. Not all of it did. Eventually her hair grew and it just became hidden. When she was 2 I decided to do something about it!
Pour olive oil liberally over your (baby's) head about about 20 minutes before a shower/bath. The oil softens and loosens the cradle cap. Gently scrape it off with a comb when washing the hair. If it is sticking, do not force it or it can get sore, just do it again another day. It can take a few goes.
When my son was born I did it when he was a few weeks old. You don't need to use shampoo if you don't want to.
This is also a nice, soothing thing to do if you have an itchy dry scalp. Just omit the combing part!"
[NAY] 03/08/2010: Katylady82 from Katy, Tx, Usa replies: "i agree!!! both my daughters (1 yr and 2yrs) have it still. I only had two things advised to me by the doctor. i was told either use oil oil or dandruff shampoo) it was extremely hard to do either. The dandruff shampoo is not tear free and if it even barely got into their eyes they would be in a lot of discomfort. the olive oil took 10 washes to get out of their hair!!!! i literally washed their hair for 45 minutes each time. we gave up on it after not seeing any results, but now i am happy i found the baking soda remedy and i will update after i try it a few days!"