Cradle Cap Remedies for Children

| Modified: Mar 15, 2018
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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. Cradle cap can be cured with inexpensive home remedies like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and jojoba oil.

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.

Antibacterial Soap

Posted by Tina (Edgecomb, Maine USA) on 02/24/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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.
1 out of 5 stars


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.)

Replied by Francisca
Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France

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.......

Replied by Diamond
Salisbury, Ma.usa

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

Posted by Emily (Charlotte, NC) on 11/18/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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)
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Baby Oil

Posted by Barbara (Los Angeles, Ca. United States) on 05/16/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Chastity (Seattle, Wa) on 07/09/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I combined a handful of baking soda and about 2 tablespoons of water. I applied the paste to my infant's scalp and I massaged gently for about 1 minute. I used a baby comb to remove the large flakes and buildup. I rinsed the paste out with warm water and the cradle cap/buildup was gone. It hasn't returned, and it's been 4+ months.

Posted by 2nd Time Mom (Atl, Ga) on 11/05/2014
5 out of 5 stars 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 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
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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
Lorton, Va
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Replied by Ilan
Sydney, Nsw, Australia
5 out of 5 stars

I tried this solution and it worked perfectly. First time and it's 99% gone. THANK YOU!

Replied by Dc Mom
Washington, Dc
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Webiegail
Irvine, California
5 out of 5 stars

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. :)

Replied by Nikki
Los Angeles, Ca
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Replied by Christinet
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Tara
Palmerston North, New Zealand
5 out of 5 stars

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!!!

Replied by Gio
Atlanta, Georgia, Usa
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Mommyxquatro
Pine Bluff, Ar
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Lindsey
Panama City, Fl.
5 out of 5 stars

i used this on my daughter ( 3 months).... She had mild cradle cap.... 1st treatment took care of it! WOW! So happy!

Replied by Sandee
Wellington, New Zealand
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Amanda
Markham, Ontario
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Replied by Amy
Cologne, Mn
5 out of 5 stars

worked great!! Will repeat tomorrow

Replied by Rosie
Blue Mountains, Australia
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

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.

Replied by Mommy
Houston, Tx
5 out of 5 stars

I am so happy to have found this site. After my son's pediatrician suggested Head and Shoulders (!!!!) as a good treatment for my just barely 2 month old son I knew it would be up to me to find a natural, gentle, chem-free solution. Imagine putting all those chemicals on his head? My word. We used the baking soda paste twice n his moderate cradle cap and its 95% gone. I put it on, gently rubbed it in, left it on during his bath, combed it very softly, and then rinsed out.

We followed with organic olive oil which we again left on for a few minutes, combed, and then shampooed out. this delivered outstanding results, my baby's head is back to being pretty and healthy again. Thank you!!

Replied by Fiona
Essex, UK
5 out of 5 stars

My grandson had quite severe cradle cap. We tried Dentinox shampoo but this really irritated it. Tried bicarbonate of soda paste and rinsed it off and most came off after a massage with baby oil gel.

Replied by Ife
5 out of 5 stars

It worked a treat. I used the baking soda mix on my 3 month old baby. After first application cradle cap was gone, but after a few days a small amounts of it came back after a second application was gone and has never came back.

I also told my mother to use this on her scalp as she had flaky dry skin almost looked like cradle cap after 3 applications it has not come back.


Posted by Kitty (Bellingham, Wa) on 06/01/2010
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Dandruff Shampoo

Posted by April (Memphis, Tn) on 07/15/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Essential Oils

Posted by Mary (Middle, Tn) on 12/01/2015
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Jojoba Oil

Posted by Jazzz (Delta Junction, Alaska, Usa) on 03/19/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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
Gainesville, Tx

What exactly is Kombucha and where can I find it? Would Walmart have it and if so in what department? Thank you so much.

Replied by Ashleigh
Austin Tx

Kombucha can not be found in wal-mart, yet anyway. However here in Texas super HEBs will sometimes carry the brand GT Synergy in the health food isle, with the protein shakes and what not. Sprouts also carries a variety of brands. To get the scoby, you are most likely going to need to find someone on CL ( craigslist ) and get a scoby from them. the scoby is the 'mother' that you actually ferment the drink from. If you have not already, looking into Kombucha is well worth the time spent. We live off of them in our house!!

Replied by Om
Hope, Bc, Canada

Ashleigh from Austin, Tx: I have to tell you when I read "Kombucha", ha I am hooked now. Considering the many health benefits it is worth while to make one's own. I have so many Moms and babies now and while it needs some practice, it is a wonderful drink. In Russia, where it has been brewed for a century at least, those places where it was used regularly, there was no cancer to be found. It is also a wonderful probiotic.

Thanks for mentioning it. Namaste, Om

Olive Oil

Posted by Mommy V (Washington, D. C. ) on 05/05/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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
Salisbury, Ma.usa

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.

Replied by Toya
London, Uk
5 out of 5 stars

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.