42 answers

Toddlers and Dandruff???

My 2 year old seems to have dandruff - does that seem weird to anyone? When I comb her hair, it flakes - not too bad yet, but when I part it I can see her scalp is verrrryy dry and almost scabby looking. She takes a bath daily but I only wet and wash her hair every 3 or 4 days. Any suggestions for a product or homemade concotion?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We've been washing her hair daily, and 2x a week with Dandruff shampoo. The doctor has confirmed that she has a mild milk allergy as well as a few othres which might explan her dry skin...we're waiting now to see an allergist! Thanks for all the suggestions!

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I think my 20-mo-old son has that too. I think it's "cradle cap" like baby's get. Is it darker in color than the rest of her scalp? The lady at Kids Cuts says you can use baking soda & vinegar, and a soft toothbrush, and gently rub it off the scalp. I haven't done it yet. I just massage the area when I shampoo him. Anyway, it's worth a try! I guess it's fairly common. Good luck!

My daughter is seven and I have noticed a similar thing. Mostly when I part her hair to put it in pig tails. Anyway, my mother in law told me to rub a little baby oil on it. I put a little on my finger and massaged it into her scalp, so it didn't make her hair oily. My mother in law told me that you can rub it in before bath time and then wash her hair, but I'm not convinced that wouldn't stay oily. How I did it has worked for my daughter.

Contrary to popular belief dandruff is caused by excess oil not by being dry. If you wash her hair more often, it will likely clear up.

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All of my children have had the same problem. It finally got better with my oldest when he started taking showers at 7 yrs old. The best and cheapest solution for me was to rub olive oil in their hair about 1/2 from bath time, brush it with a soft brush and then to wash their hair while the tub is still filling up. Using the soap free water from the faucet to rise the hair.

I had dry scalp when I was young and both my children do. It looks like cradle cap but my children are 9 and 7. I put baby oil on there head and comb it out with a very small comb. This is what my mother did for me and it works very well. Good luck.

I think my 20-mo-old son has that too. I think it's "cradle cap" like baby's get. Is it darker in color than the rest of her scalp? The lady at Kids Cuts says you can use baking soda & vinegar, and a soft toothbrush, and gently rub it off the scalp. I haven't done it yet. I just massage the area when I shampoo him. Anyway, it's worth a try! I guess it's fairly common. Good luck!

My boys get the same thing. I don't even notice it until they are in the sun and I look at their scalps. Then I see gross little yellow scabby patches. I use Head & Shoulders for a few washings and it takes care of it. After I wash and the patches are softer I take a fine comb to loosen them up a bit. It does take more than one washing though. Thank goodness you can't see the stuff without really looking because it is gross.

my son had something like that and we figured out that it was related to his dairy consumption. More dairy products more scalp issues, when we took him off dairy it cleared up in about a week or so. I used a vitamin E oil from the health food store in the mean time to message his scalp and pick off all the scab looking things that were already flaking off... and then washed it out at night.

Olive oil works really well. Rub it in her hair when she is in the bath, then comb it through and rinse. It helps moisturize the scalp, although she'll smell like a salad!

My daughter is seven and I have noticed a similar thing. Mostly when I part her hair to put it in pig tails. Anyway, my mother in law told me to rub a little baby oil on it. I put a little on my finger and massaged it into her scalp, so it didn't make her hair oily. My mother in law told me that you can rub it in before bath time and then wash her hair, but I'm not convinced that wouldn't stay oily. How I did it has worked for my daughter.

That is actually a form of psoriasis or eczema which indicates that your daughter is not getting a balance of nutrition (not enough fresh foods or too much sugars, bread and juice) or her digestive tract cannot process sugars, yeast and mold (aka, sweets, breads and cheese).

Psoriasis/eczema happens with kids that cannot process corn syrup and corn syrup solids and yeast producing foods. These kids should avoid all processed foods that contain corn syrup, fruit juice, and they should eat a diet limited in sweets and yeasted breads.

You can help to correct the imbalance by giving her acidophilus, which is available in a chewable grape form for kids (called "Yum Yum Dophilus". The acidophilus will replace the missing bacteria in her colon so that she can more easily process these foods - however you will still want to restrict them.

You cannot "kill" psoriasis/eczema topically because it grows from the gut out to the skin. If not treated or limited in its growth, it could eventually show up as skin rashes or metal allergies later on. Perhaps she has already had rashes: diaper rash, small milk rashes... these are all from the same source.

You may find some luck with topical, toxic hair products, but this will not eliminate the problem forever ~ it will just put toxins into her body while the yeast/mold find a new way out. Later on she will have vaginal yeast infections, skin rashes and more problems on her head.

My highest recommendation is acidophilus and a restricted diet. Avoid all yeast-producing foods, especially fruit juice and bread. It's really not that hard and she'll be happier and healthier for her lifetime.

plain old dandruff shampoo works for my 2 yr old. we buy the wal-mart brand.

i use the kids shampoo from melaleuca. it has helped everything from cradle cap to dry scalp on both of my kids at every age so far. if i try and switch shampoos the dry skin comes back...then i get the melaleuca again and it clears it right up.

Have you tried any Arbonne products? Arbonne has their own Baby Line called ABC (Arbonne Baby Care). There is a Hair & Body Wash, Body Lotion, Body Oil, Herbal Diaper Rash Cream and Sunscreen SPF 30+. All of Arbonnes products are pure, safe, and beneficial. These products are good for anyone at any age who has sensitive skin. If you would like to try these products free of charge let me know. I'm in the Mamasource Business Section. C. T. Independent Consultant - District Manager, Arbonne International.

Hi R.,

What you are seeing is cradle cap. It's fairly common. To remove the flakes put baby oil on your baby's head, let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes, then use a fine toothed comb to remove the flakes. Shampoo well using a shampoo designated to treat cradle cap. Make sure you rinse it our well as soap residue can agrevate the symptoms.

Good luck!

I'm so glad you asked this question--my 20 month old has the same problem, except he has an additional problem: his hair seems to be falling out where the dandruff patches are! It's horrible, and we're not sure what to do, actually. Before the thinning hair phenomenon, our ped. just said to use Selsun Blue, which has helped the dandruff a little. Maybe the shampoo is causing the hair to thin/fall out? We're very gentle when we wash his hair, which we only do about 2-3 times a week. He doesn't scratch or pull at his hair, so we're not sure what's going on....

Has anyone seen this before? (Thanks, R., for asking this question! It's been very helpful!)

My 3 year old has this problem. I've been to the doctor. She gave me a free prescription, but also suggested using Selsun Blue one time a week. The dandruff shampoo works but it got in her eyes, so I use the prescription mouse when ever it flares up. The pediatrician said some kids are more prone to this. It kind of like cradle cap.

Hi R.! I recommend Arbonne Baby Care hair/body wash. It worked wonders on my 7 year old dandruff. It's gentle but very effective.

I'm an Arbonne Consultant and would be happy to send you some samples if you'd like. Just let me know.

My son had this and it started getting really bad. While at Kids Hair getting him a haircut, I asked for ideas. They said to get rid of the Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo and start using Paul Mitchell's Baby Don't Cry shampoo available at their salon. I was dubious but desparate. I ought some and after washing his hair 5 times with it, the problem was gone. No tedious combing needed (my son hated when I tried that method). We only use that shampoo for him now.

Try rubbing a dab of baby oil on the scalp. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and then wash as ususal. That may get rid of it. Good Luck!

It is probably "cradle cap". Both my older kids have had issues with this. My doctor recommended Selsun Blue medicated. Just remember to tip her head way back so her eyes don't get burned by the shampoo. It really works. Use twice a week until it is gone and any other time if it reappears. My oldest was five so I found out cradle cap isn't just for infants. I believe it has another more official name but can't spell it so won't try! Hope this helps.

It sounds like cradle cap. When our daughter had it baby oil did wonders. I would massage just a tiny bit into her scalp about an hour before her bath. Then I would wash her hair with baby shampoo and comb it with a fine tooth comb. Our doctor said to comb from the back of the scalp to the front and from the top to the bottom. Once we started using baby oil it cleared up within a couple of weeks.

When I part my four year old's hair into pig-tails I can see dry skin. I put a very small amount of Arbonne Skin Conditioning Oil on the part and the dry skin disappers! The product is pure, safe and beneficial and works great on my dry fingers/knuckles and around my nails. A little goes a long way. And the bottle is small so it doesn't take up much room in the vanity.
Contact me if you can't find any through a consultant you know. Sorry it sounds like I'm selling it to you but you asked what works and this does! ____@____.com

Hi R. my daughter had the same problem I just used baby oil. I put it on her head and rubbed it in and then waited about a half hour before I gave her a bath and washed it out. Hope that works for you.

I'm wondering if it could be cradle cap. My oldest had that when he was very small. Might want to have the doc diagnose it. If it is cradle cap, I highly recommend olive oil. You rub it in, let it sit awhile and then comb through to get rid of flakes on scalp. You also might want to consider only bathing her once or twice a week. My daughter's dry skin improved tremendously when I stopped the daily bath. Even though my kids loved daily baths,it was really drying to their skin.

Hope it helps!

-M. Rose

Jojoba oil. You can put it on at bedtime and it will absorb by morning. You can get it at your local health food store.

My daughter has a dry scalp (though not to this extent.) Her ped. told me to baby oil it 1-2 times per week. Rub baby oil into the scalp, let it sit, and then rinse it out. Hope it helps!

It is sometimes called cradle cap. The best treatment is to use your finger tips and rub rigorously when shampooing the hair. rubbing the scalp is the most important part the hairwashing. What you are seeing is most likely a build up natural oils that need to be removed.
Good luck.

My guess is Cradle Cap. My 2 1/2 year old still has some. It came back when I started to use Baby Shampoo rather than the all in one wash. I suggest treating it like you would with a baby. Let some vegetable oil soak over night and come it out in the AM. Then make sure you try a gentle shampoo. We use one from Melaleuca, but I'm sure there are other option out there. Just switching shampoos minimized our son's and the little that's left I just leave.

Try some Head and Shoulders shampoo, or one their shamp/cond combos. Just be sure to keep in out of hers eyes since they don't have a tear free formula, and really work it into her scalp. It could be seborrhea (cradle cap), older kids can get it too. My 7 month old little girl has the same thing and it has really helped. They also have different products in the kids shampoos if you need something tear free, I have not tried those though.

Definitely do the olive oil thing. It's a lot cheaper, and it's a lot safer than letting all those shampoo chemicals soak into your little one's scalp.

It is most likely cradle cap. Rub olive oil on her scalp, wait about 20 minutes and then comb her hair/scalp. It will come right off.

It sounds like it may be cradle cap. My daughter is only 2 months old and has it since a week or two old, but I've also seen similar in my friend's 2 or 3 year olds. My doctor recommended washing her hair every night. Since we started doing that, it's greatly improved. She also said I could use 1% hydrocortizone (not sure of the exact spelling) cream, though I haven't tried it yet since it has improved so much with just washing.

You could try your regular adult shampoo/conditioner on her I started with my daughter around age2 just because it made her hair easier to comb and deal with.

If that doesn't work try dandruff shampoo

Hi R., I see you've gotten lots of responses. My son also had this pretty bad as a baby and what really helped was a lotion/cream called Cetaphil, which is sold over the counter. You can get it in a cream form which works best. Just apply it to their little scalp as often as you can and my guess is it will clear up.

Hi R.,
My daughter, who is 2 1/2, has dry scalp has well. What we find that works is to put oil on it and them comb through it---- I use this little apricot oil that she got in a burt's bees baby sampler kit, but I think anything, like Johnson & Johnson's baby oil would work too. While she is playing in the water, I put a small amount of oil directly on her scalp and then massage it in. Next I take a fine tooth, gentle comb and go through her hair----the dry flakes come right off. Then comes the hard part, washing it multiple times with shampoo to get the oil out. I've done this since she was a baby when it was more scabby looking. Now it's just dryness----and we only do it maybe 2/3 times a year.
Best of luck,

Nordic Naturals fish oils for kids. They are in a chewable, strawberry flavored caplet. It will hydrate her scalp from the inside out. I have an extremely dry scalp on occasion and fish oils are the ONLY thing that work for me. They are amazing! Don't buy just any brand though, Wal-Mart or whatever brand don't have the same effect, it's like flushing your money away. I would say Nordic Naturals or Carlsons.
Good luck!

It's most likely cradle cap. Both of my sons had it when they were young. I used mineral oil and it worked great!

Sounds like cradle cap. It's a common condition with infants, but older children can get it, too. You need to soak the scalp in baby oil, then gently scrub and comb through to remove the scabby surface. It takes awhile and can leave the skin tender, so be careful. You might even have to do it in several sessions. Once the scabs are removed, shampoo with baby shampoo, rinse thoroughly and apply conditioner. Allow it to soak in, then rinse. Each time you shampoo, be sure to gently but firmly scrub your fingers through the hair down to the scalp to help prevent a recurrence. If you have AfAm or biracial children with thick, dense, more dry hair, after shampooing, apply conditioner and do not rinse it out. My AfAm and biracial children typically "shampoo" with conditioner only, no soap unless they've been swimming in the lake or rolling in the sandbox.

SAHM of seven

Hi R..
My 3 year old has dandruff to and when i part his hair I can see that he has dry scaling looking skin on his head. My dr said it was cradle cap and so I went to walmart and they have a cradle cap shampoo and we use that every few days and it has helped alot.

I'm sure you know this but...
Make sure you rinse her hair very well. Shampoo is not easy to get out. A thorough rinse (not just a dunk).

Also, you might try diluting the shampoo

A lot of that dry flaky stuff is residual shampoo.

Good luck,
L. L

It sounds like she has a dry scalp. Alot of the bath and hair products out there (including products made exclusively for babies and toddlers) contain sodium laurel sulphate, which is a very harsh degreaser product and very often times dries out the hair and scalp. It's almost always the very first ingredient in shampoos, body washes and soaps. I would look for something sodium laurel sulphate free and something with natural ingredients. If you find a product like this, you can wash her hair more often. One I would recommend you checking out is a body wash and shampoo from L'Bri Pure n' Natural Skin Care. It's a company out of Mukwonago and aloe vera is the very first ingredients in their skin and body care and it's loaded with vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals. None of the products contain sodium laurel sulfate and they're very moisturizing on the scalp, body and hair. Check out my website at suenelson.lbri.com for more info. I'll be happy to send you a complimentary sample if you're interested.

My son had that at the same age. I switched him to a salon shampoo and it cleared right up.

Contrary to popular belief dandruff is caused by excess oil not by being dry. If you wash her hair more often, it will likely clear up.

Dandruff is usually caused by too oily, rather than too dry skin. You may see scabs because your daughter may be itching her scalp due to the irritation caused by the excess skin cells and oil on the scalp's surface.

If you are only washing your daughter's hair only 3-4 days you need to wash it more frequently. At least every other day, in order to remove the dead skin cells and wash off excess oils/bacteria, etc..

Dandruff may, in some instances be a nutritional deficiency caused by the overgrowth of the natural body yeast (Pityrosporum ovale). It could also be Seborrhea, a type of dermatitis. But try washing more regularly first. If this doesn't work, pursue remedies related to these. Too much sugar in the diet can cause the problem.

Try hypoallergenic or sensitive skin shampoo's. Try shampoo's from your local health-food coop/store as they will be less likely to have the chemicals/petrolium products in them that normal shampoo's do.

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