35 answers

Baby Has Dry Scalp

Our 2 1/2 month old has dry scalp in a couple of places on top of his head (not cradle cap according to doctor). Our doctor recommended using baby oil, leaving it on for 5 minutes, and then gently brushing. Unfortunately our baby had a reaction to the baby oil and it made it worse (I should have known it would happen since he got a rash from all of the other Johnson & Johnson products!). I'm wondering if anyone out there has something they would recommend for a very sensitive skinned baby to help moisturize his dry scalp. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone! I've tried the olive oil for two days now and it seems to be working quite well!! :O)

Featured Answers

Hi C., I have been a postpartum doula for the past 7 years and have come across this many times. The thing that works the best of olive oil. I know that sounds crazy, but it works. You can leave a little on all the time, but you can also try and gently brush the dry scalp off. Try it for a while, I think it will help.

My baby also has this problem. I have tried everything and the only thing that seems to work is chamomile. You boil the little flowers, let it cool and with a cotton ball you can pass it over the dry areas, it should help. Let me know if it works...

My son also had a dry scalp and it really helped to change his shampoo. have you tried the baby oil gel?

More Answers

Hello C.,

Baby Oil in general is not good for the skin. In fact my Mom just had a reaction from Baby Oil last week. Her skin was so dry that she decided to put Baby Oil on it and within hours she has a rash. Thank goodness she only put it on her arms!

My suggestion would be to use Kukui Nut Oil. Got my Mom to use it and with a day or two her skin was great.

Kukui Nut Oil is a fabulous moisturizer, and quickly penetrates the skin leaving a silky-smooth non-greasy feeling. It is often used for dry or damaged skin, immediately relieving symptoms because of its quick absorption into the skin. It can leave even the roughest and driest skin feeling smooth, soft, and hydrated. Kukui Nut Oil contains Vitamins A, C, and E, providing anti-oxidants that help to protect the skin. This unique oil is able to penetrate into the deepest skin layers, while creating a protective shield that locks in moisture. Kukui Nut Oil is great for those with sensitive skin, and is a wonderful ingredient to add to your bodycare products. Specifically, it is beneficial for the following conditions:

Burns – including: sunburn, windburn, radiation burns, and heat induced burns.
Chapped skin
Mature and prematurely aged skin
Dry skin conditions
Dry hair and scalp
Usage Instructions
Kukui Nut Oil is an excellent oil to add to your bodycare products, especially your creams, lotions, and massage oils. You can also use it for an oil treatment on dry hair and scalp, or add a few drops to your bath water for a luxurious treat.

If this is something you are interested me please send me a personal message and I can tell you how to purchase some Kukui Nut Oil.

Good Luck,

1 mom found this helpful

Our 11 mo old has had dry skin and scalp since birth. We tried a little extra-virgin olive oil...that worked, but I found it a bit messy to wash out. So instead we tried using a little conditioner...that worked! For her hair and body, we use Baby Aquaphor Gentle Wash by Eucerin. She still tends to have dry skin sowe still use the J&J Extra-sensitive, fragrance free moisturizing lotion after baths. On extra dry patches, we use a little Aquaphor ointment.

Good luck!

Both of my sons had very bad cradle cap which Im thinking is very similar to a dry scalp. My Dr recomended we use a dandruff shampoo. It worked great for the cradle cap you may want to give it a try. The only thing is that you need to be carefull not to get it in there eyes because of course it's not tear free. Good luck!

Plain old olive oil, or coconut oil from your kitchen should be fine!

Olive oil works great! Do what you would do with the baby oil...leave for 5 minutes that gentle rub off with a warm wet rag.

Hello! Arbonne has the most wonderful baby line and the oil (NOT baby oil - that stuff is HORRIBLE) is fantastic for cradle cap and dry scalp too. I used to sell it and I dont anymore, but I can help you find someone who does. Try it -I promise you will love it!

Our 2 mo. old had that for a couple of weeks. She was born w/ a full head of hair so I didn't want to put anything oily in her hair. I just bathed her every other day in water. Every other bath I used a tiny dab of California baby shampoo. It's almost gone now. I think the key is to use as few "products" as you can. Good luck!!

Dear C.,
Try using Coconut oil--- it's natural and doesn't have any mineral oil products in it, which will clog the pores. Any natural oil will do better and is cheaper!

Jojoba oil works WONDERS. apply it like the baby oil and comb. /baby oil is too thick to penetrate the skin. Jojoba oils molecular weight is small enough to penetrate and help.
you can get it at health food stores, or like trader joes. Henrys. or I sell it a little pricier. E-mail me and I will give you my web-site.

I hope that helps


My daughter has very sensitive skin -- even allergic to sun screen, but I've had good luck w/ Aveeno products for her. There is an Aveeno creme for Baby /w Excema or something like that -- try in a small area to see if you son reacts to it.

My friend recommended olive oil...

Try and get some probiotic powder from your local Naturopath or health food store and give it to him as directed. The dry scalp is because of what is going on inside his tiny gut and the probiotics will help restore that healthy flora.

We had weird issues with the johnson and johnson products as well. We had dry patched on the cheeks.
Try the california babies line of products they ahve the most at target and some at babies r us and I am sure there are boutique stores that have more. You can also order them from the website californiababies.com
It is pricier but it also lasts a long time as I am more careful how I use it. I my daughter is four mo old and I have only used three bottles of bubble bath and that is washing every day and some times using a lot in the big bath with me. I love the smell of the baths as they are also aroma therapy, and the lotion feels like the expensive lotion I was getting from obagi so I quit using that and use the California babies lotion on my face now as well as on my daughters cheeks when they get dry.
Good luck

Hi C.,

Hands down, Arbonne baby Care line. A lot of products (including J&J) include mineral oil, which is a gasoline by product. It dries the skin because it pulls the moisture to the surface and clogs the pores. Arbonne does not use mineral oil, no animal products or by products, ph correct, no dyes or fragrance. It's great for sensative baby skin. There has been a lot of success for babies with skin problems. We also have a doctor reccomended letter. The ABC oil is great!! Soaks in very quickly. I used it for my daughters arms that had dry patches that nothing else would heal and it soaked in quickly leaving her moisturized. It's great. If you need help getting it at a discount you can contact me, if you're interested.
Best of luck,

when our newborn had dry scalp, the baby nurse applied olive oil straight onto his scalp with cotton balls. she letit sit for a few minutes, then shampooed as normal. oh, while the oil was on, she brushed his scalp to remove the skin flakes. worked like a charm!

Hello, I am a new mom also to a 3mo old. When she was born her skin was really, really dry. Our midwife told us not to use products with mineral oil or alcohol in them (the johnson and johnson products have this) she recommended olive oil, which ended up working the best. We also tried burts bees baby lotion. (that worked well but the olive oil worked better) Good luck!!

Try Olive Oil. That has worked for my DD cradle cap as well as dry patches.

My son had the same issue when he was very young. I used mineral oil on his scalp, which is free of perfumes and very gentle. This helped him a lot. Also, my son had a mild case of eczsma' so the pediatrician prescribed a cortizone cream which I started to apply to his dry scalp spots and this helped a lot as well. I would start with mineral oil, but if the problem doesn't go away, you might want to ask your Dr if it might be eczema. Good luck!

You might want to ask your Dr. if your baby's scalp's dry patches are either ezcema or psoriases. I do daycare and I took care of a child with ezcema. Her Dr. recommended
Calming Lotion by Eucerin.

When our girl's were little the doctor recommended mineral oil. You can get that at the pharmacy. You might also try olive oil too, that is very natural and mild. Good luck.

Try using olive oil instead. Most J&J products (and other drug store brands) contain petroleum, not the most mild ingredient for your baby!

For more great tips, please check out my book - What Haven't They Told Me? Practical Tips for Surviving and Thriving During Baby's First Year.

It's available on my website - www.OffRampPublishing.com, on Amazon, and in retail stores across the country.

Best of luck.
L. E. Fisher

How about Vaseline? We put this on our daughter's butt when she gets a bad rash from going #2.

Try Vaseline. Do it the same as the baby oil...but keep it on longer (like overnight)...then comb out in the morning. I know he doesn't have cradle cap, but it worked for my child who did have cradle cap. It moisturizes gently.

My baby also has this problem. I have tried everything and the only thing that seems to work is chamomile. You boil the little flowers, let it cool and with a cotton ball you can pass it over the dry areas, it should help. Let me know if it works...

My son also had a dry scalp and it really helped to change his shampoo. have you tried the baby oil gel?

My daughter had the same issue. The nurse recommended almond oil from the natural foods store and it worked wonders. We also used the almond oil as her baby massage oil.

I had a problem washing the mineral (or babyoil) out of her hair - she hated having her hair washed, she'd squirm and it would run in her eyes.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Sensaria Natural Bodycare has a great line for the whole family, especially babies. You can use the body wash, which won't irritate the scalp because there are no dyes, synthetic perfumes or sodium laurel sulfates in it, to wash your baby all over. Another great product in the line is the jojoba oil. Very clean and nothing else in it but the oil. Jojoba is very similar to the sebum in our skin and the skin just loves it. You can even use it on your face.


You can try calendula cream. It is natural & gentle & great for dryness. You can find it at natural grocers like whole foods, Henry's etc.

My daughter had dry scalp also when she was a newborn. Her pediatrician said it would go away on it's own, but I insisted on a treatment. The Dr. prescribed me Selenium Sulfide Lotion to put on her scalp, but it smelled AWFUL. I only put it on my baby once, then I decided I would just let go away on it's own. I can't remember exactly how long it took to go away, but I'm sure it was gone before her next check up. Maybe you could try not washing his head with soap everyday, so he could get his natural oils on it.
Try not to worry about it, I'm sure it will go away in time.

Hi C., I have been a postpartum doula for the past 7 years and have come across this many times. The thing that works the best of olive oil. I know that sounds crazy, but it works. You can leave a little on all the time, but you can also try and gently brush the dry scalp off. Try it for a while, I think it will help.

Try Aquaphor, or olive oil.
But not too much... or it may clog his pores. Just a thin layer and small amount.
Or, could it be eczema? Aveeno makes some great moisturizers and shampoos for babies too, or try "California Baby" shampoo and baby lotions. It's great.

Also, try not washing his hair all the time... for a baby there is no need to wash it at every bath time. At this young an age...perhaps only wash his hair every 2-3 days. Or, just use water to "clean" his hair. No need to use "soap" based products on hair all the time. It will dry out his hair and scalp.

If it does not get better, or gets worse....have your Doctor re-evaluate him...or send you to a dermatologist.
Good luck,


Try A&D ointment (the one in the orange/brown tube) or Aquaphor (it is with the lotions and creams). My son has eczema - so he's really sensitive - and he's fine with aquaphor.


The most gentle cleanser/moisturizer brand I know of is Cetaphil - never caused a problem for my son who is also very sensitive to Johnsons products (even Aveeno gives him a rash). Cetaphil makes a bar "soap" or a bottle with a pump for their cleanser and moisturizer or a small tub of the moisturizer. I can also use Dove cleanser on my son no problem - even to wash his hair :)

I don't know how it works on sensitive skin, but I have dryness all along my hairline for which I use Head&Shoulders soothing lotion. It's a leave-in treatment which requires a very small amount to be rubbed directly on the dry area. My cousin's little girl (1.5 years) was having flakes. We thought it could be flakes from the hair products her mother was using on her, but we tried the lotion anyway. It took it away and, most importantly, it did not cause her any irritation. I hope it helps you and him. (If I remember correctly, a 6.8 oz bottle was only about $3-$4.)

My baby had a dry patch a couple of months ago so I just used his regular body lotion, Aveeno, on the patch & it went away.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.