Cradle cap (or infantile seborrheic dermatitis) is a common skin condition that seen among babies, which lasts for a year to 3 years. It is characterized by dry, rough and scaly patches on the scalp.
Greasy patches, white or yellow scales, hair loss, thick crusty flakes, red and irritated skin are some symptoms of cradle cap. It is not an indication of any illness and also not a contagious problem.
However there is no exact cause for this cradle cap but some researchers believe that it is caused due to the hormones passed from mother to baby, extreme weather, food allergies, overstimulation of the baby’s oil glands, fungal growth, more intake of antibiotics by mother during pregnancy, irregular skin cleaning, growth of yeast in the digestive system, etc.
Scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, crease of the nose, diaper area, ears, back of the neck or armpits are most affected areas of cradle cap. If it is spreading to other body parts (or) causes itching then it’s best to consult a doctor.
This problem heals on your own within few months but to get faster relief, try some natural home remedies that clear cradle cap without causing any harm to their tender skin.
Home Remedies for Cradle Cap:
The listed below are best methods that are widely used to get rid of cradle cap. Regular follow-up will yield best results.
Remedy – 1: (Oil Massage)
Oil massage is effective ways to remove cradle cap, as it cleanses and moisturizes the skin by penetrating deep into the skin. They have an anti-inflammatory property that helps to reduce the pain and swelling caused due to cradle cap.
Here are some natural oil massages explained that help your baby to get rid of cradle cap.
- Olive oil has antioxidants that cleanse and restores the skin’s elasticity. Apply some olive oil on the baby’s scalp and other affected areas. Massage it gently for few minutes and use a comb or washcloth to rub the applied area gently after 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse off with mild baby shampoo and warm water.
- Mineral oil has excellent moisturizing properties. Apply some mineral on your baby’s head and rinse off with baby shampoo after 2 – 3 hours. For best results, rub the scalp gently with a clean wet cloth to remove the flakes and wash it off with warm water.
- Coconut oil loosens the flakes with its natural moisturizing property. It also fights off infections. Rub some coconut oil on the scalp and other affected areas. Massage it and comb gently by using a soft brush to remove the loose flakes after 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
- Almond oil has vitamins A, E, D along with emollient property that reduces cradle cap and thus makes the skin soft. Apply almond oil and massage the scalp gently. Comb their hair to discard the loosened flakes after 20 minutes. Wash the hair with mild shampoo and lukewarm water.
- Even essential oils like tea tree oil are also used to treat cradle cap that caused due to fungal infections. Mix 1 part of tea tree oil to 10 parts of almond oil and apply it on the baby’s scalp. Rinse off after 10 – 15 minutes with mild baby shampoo.
- Comb your baby’s hair before shampooing to loosen up the flakes and to clear the cradle cap.
- Follow any of these oil massages for once in every alternate day till your baby get relief from the cradle cap.
Remedy – 2: (Shea Butter)
Shea butter has an excellent moisturizing and healing properties that help to clear cradle cap. It is also enriched with vitamin A & E that are essential for treating skin disorders and it is easily absorbed by the skin.
- Apply enough shea butter on the affected areas of the skin.
- Massage it gently and leave it on for about 20 – 30 minutes.
- Then use a soft-toothed comb to remove the loosens flakes on the applied areas.
- Wash the hair with shampoo and warm water.
- Dry the head and repeat the same 3 – 4 times daily till the cradle cap disappears.
Remedy – 3: (Baking Soda)
Baking soda exfoliates the skin and also exhibit an alkaline property that balances the pH level of your baby’s scalp to prevent cradle cap.
- Mix baking soda with enough apple cider vinegar (or enough carrier oil or water) to make a fine paste.
- Apply it on your child’s scalp and other affected areas.
- Leave it on for few minutes and rinse off with mild shampoo and water.
- Repeat the same process regularly till you get relief from the problem.
Remedy – 4: (Apple Cider Vinegar)
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to fight against the fungal infections. It is acidic in nature that also helps to treat cradle cap.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of ACV with 4 teaspoons of water and apply it on their scalp.
- Massage it gently for few minutes and leave it on for 10 minutes.
- Finally, rinse the hair thoroughly with mild shampoo and warm water.
Note: If your baby is having dry or sensitive skin then avoid using this remedy, as it causes some irritation.
Remedy – 5: (Chamomile)
Chamomile has an astringent property that constricts the overactive glands to produce enough oil. It also removes loosens flakes to clear cradle cap quickly.
Here are few ways of using chamomile for treating cradle cap.
- Apply cooled chamomile tea on the cradle cap affected areas. Let it sit for few minutes and then apply any carrier oil. Then use a fine-toothed comb to remove dry patches from the affected area.
- Apply chamomile essential oil (or mixed with any carrier oil) on the baby’s cradle cap affected areas. Massage gently and rinse off with lukewarm water after few minutes to get rid of the problem.
- Pour some chamomile and oats powder in a muslin cloth and tie it over the bathtub and run warm water through it. Now bathe your baby with this water to get rid of itching and irritation.
Tips and Precautions:
- If you’re using tea tree oil or ACV then take proper care that the oil should not enter into the baby’s eye, nose and mouth, as it is toxic and causes some health problems.
- Application of petroleum jelly on the affected areas will help to moistures and loosen the oily scales. Massage the head with some petroleum jelly and wet the hair with warm water after 1 hour. Then use a soft brush to scrub it gently and rinse off with warm water.
- Breast milk also treats cradle cap. Simply apply on the baby’s scalp at night time and leave for overnight. Use a soft brush to scrub on the scalp to remove the flakes and rinse the head with mild baby shampoo and warm water.
- Always brush the baby’s scalp with a soft brush to increase the blood flow and also to balance the secretion of sebum that reduces cradle cap.
- Run a humidifier to add moisture to the air which in turn helps to reduce skin dryness.
- Use a mild and natural baby shampoo. Apply a baby shampoo on the wet hair and wait for 2 minutes. Scrub the scalp with a soft baby brush and rinse off with warm water.
- Also, keep an eye on your baby’s diet, as some foods can cause food allergies which in turn result in cradle cap.
- Remember to moisturize your baby’s scalp after bathing which helps to prevent dryness and thereby loosens the scaly flakes easily.
Try these natural remedies and tips for treating your baby’s cradle cap problem. Do you know any successful cradle cap remedies? Then share it with us in the below comments box.