Last Modified on Dec 02, 2015
What Is Cradle Cap?
The skin is constantly regenerating itself and producing new skin cells. Typically, the old skin cells fall off and are replenished by the new in a regular, natural pattern. However, sometimes in babies the regeneration process takes place faster than the removal process, leaving behind a rough, crusty rash of old skin on top of the new. This crusting rash is known as cradle cap and is relatively common, even in the healthiest of babies.
Medically termed infantile seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap generally presents little more than a rough or scaly scalp. Not generally Itchy for babies, cradle cap is not contagious and generally does not both babies. Common symptoms of the condition include patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp, greasy kin, white or yellow flaky patches or scales, excessive skin flaking and, in some cases, mild redness. Periodically confused with infantile eczema, cradle cap is different from eczema in that it does not cause itching as eczema would.
While the specific cause of cradle cap is unknown, the mother’s hormones that pass to the baby just before birth is considered to be one causal factor. An additional cause may include yeast overgrowth, otherwise known as malassezia.
Safe, Natural Cradle Cap Treatments and Remedies
Not a serious medical condition, cradle cap does not generally require medical treatment. Many at home remedies are safe for treating and curing cradle cap. Washing the baby’s head with antibacterial soap, applying apple cider vinegar, and covering the scalp with baby oil are all effective treatment options. Additional options include creating a paste of baking soda and water and applying it to the baby’s head prior to rinsing, pouring cool coffee over the head, and applying jojoba oil to the affected area.
Remedies for Cradle Cap
The Popularity of Cradle Cap Remedies - Full List
|Apple Cider Vinegar||2||2008-11-18|
|Baking Soda Paste||20||2014-11-05|
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.
Replied by Mommy V
Washington, D. C.
Replied by Francisca
Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France
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Posted by Emily (Charlotte, NC) on 11/18/2008
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!
Posted by Brijette (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.
Posted by Barbara (Los Angeles, Ca. United States) on 05/16/2012
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.
Posted by 2nd Time Mom (Atl, Ga) on 11/05/2014
Omg...my 3mth old just got cradle cap a couple of weeks ago and I was going crazy trying to get it out, I even took her to the dr and got some prescribed shampoo but it was just taking its own time. I tried the baking soda paste one time and saw tremendous results.....it is gone!!! I am keeping that baking soda as ammunition just in case it decides to come back!!!!
Posted by New Mom (Oakville, Ontario) on 04/24/2013
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!
Posted by K Kendera (Nassau, Bahamas) on 03/23/2013
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.
Posted by Melinda (Ballarat, Victoria, Australia) on 05/28/2009
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.
Replied by Jessicab
Replied by Ilan
Sydney, Nsw, Australia
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Los Angeles, Ca
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Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
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Palmerston North, New Zealand
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Atlanta, Georgia, Usa
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Pine Bluff, Ar
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Panama City, Fl.
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Wellington, New Zealand
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Blue Mountains, Australia
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Posted by Kitty (Bellingham, Wa) on 06/01/2010
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.
Posted by April (Memphis, Tn) on 07/15/2009
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.
Posted by Mary (Middle, Tn) on 12/01/2015
My daughter is 7 and has cradle cap since birth. I've done baking soda which worked some, but it seemed to have come back. We are wheat free, sugar free, etc so I am surprised she even has it. She only drinks kefir and never has lactose. Anyway, I am so tired of not being able to part her hair in certain areas. I saw this treatment on a blog and tried it (I've tried several natural treatments over the years) and I knew it was going to work instantly. I used a carrier oil, in this case sweet almond oil, but I think anything would work, with a few drops of lemon essential oil and a few drops of melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil. If I had to guess, I used about a half cup of carrier oil to 6 drops lemon and 8 drops melaleuca.
I took out a comb and put a small amount of the oil mixture in her hair along a parted section. It IMMEDIATELY soaked in and allowed me to comb the flakes right off. It didn't hurt her a bit. I went through and did section after section, just using the small end of a tapered comb (where the little tines get really close together) and her scalp looks like new. I then washed her hair twice with an all natural shampoo and the oil is all gone, and the cradle cap is all gone. I am so happy. I'm also a little shocked after all this time, it's really gone!
Posted by Jazzz (Delta Junction, Alaska, Usa) on 03/19/2013
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.
Posted by Christi (Little Rock, Arkansas) on 05/15/2012
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!
Replied by Becci
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Hope, Bc, Canada
Posted by Mommy V (Washington, D. C. ) on 05/05/2011
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.)
Replied by Diamond
Replied by Toya
Posted by Rachel (Hartford, Ct, Usa) on 08/26/2010
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!