5 Month Old with Cradle Cap

Updated on May 03, 2008
K.W. asks from Columbiana, OH
57 answers

My 5 month old has cradle cap pretty badly. It started when he was around two months old. His doctor said to apply baby oil once daily, let it sit for 15 minutes, then use my finger nail to scrape it for 10 minutes, and then wash his head with baby shampoo. I did this (some days were missed) for a month and it seemed to get worse. When he was 3 months old he was put on a prescription cream that I put on after doing the oil treatment. The prescription helped some. At his 4 month check up the doctor said to try dandruff shampoo as well as all of the other stuff and if that doesn't work he may just have to outgrow it. We still put baby oil on his head almost daily. My question is have other mom's dealt with this? Do you know of any other treatments to try? How long does it take to outgrow cradle cap? He has a nice amount of hair on his head. The scales and flakes are only around the top of his head not down the sides or in the back. Any help would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the suggestions and helpful ideas. I stopped using the baby oil and went to washing it a few days a week. I found a soap that works and put lotion on his head after washing. It makes his hair a little spikey, but it's cute. It seems to be clearing up. It is now where near what it was. Hopefully, we are coming to an end of dealing with this problem.

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H.R.

answers from Columbus on

I used johnson and johnson creamy baby oil on all 3 of my boys' head. But I did not wash it out until night time. I would massage it in in the morning and bath them at night or late afternoon. I would then put more on. My oldest son is 13 now and has dry skin. He keeps his hair cut very short and you can see the dryness,(not dandruff) so he puts the same stuff in his hair now and loves it. It smells good and doesn't clog his pores which is good since he's now a teenager.

Good Luck and hope this helps.
H.

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D.S.

answers from Columbus on

My daughter still deals with this at 4 1/2! But now we use dandruff shampoo and that works well.

When she (and my son) were babies we used the Gerber cradle cap kit and within two or three applications it cleared right up!

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

my ped. said that nothing really works and it's something they have to grow out of. I don't remember how long it took though. I think by a year it was gone :( She said the more I messed with it the more it would come back. (She made that comment when she saw I had attempted to clean off part of his head so there were blouches of it all over his head.) I let it go and a few months later it was gone.

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H.F.

answers from Cincinnati on

Use baby oil. Comb out with fine toothed comb. Shampoo with Selson Blue.

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K.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

My son had the same problem. My doctor gave me all kinds of stuff to try and nothing worked! What did work, was my mom telling me to put desitin on his head before bed. It cleared up in two weeks and hasn't been back!

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V.S.

answers from Lima on

K.,

I have a 9 week old daughter who currently has cradle cap, but it is getting better.

Here is what I did. I scraped as much of the cradle cap off as I could with my nails. I applied the shampoo 2 times a day on her head and really scrubbed her head where the cradle cap was to try to get all the flakes out of her hair. After I did this, I applied baby lotion on her head into her hair. When you put the lotion in, put it where the cradle cap is. I know this may make a mess of the baby's hair, but who cares if it helps. I wouldn't recommend baby oil.

Good luck!

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C.B.

answers from Cleveland on

I had found that baby oil only made my son's worse, so we used Aveeno Baby wash in unscented and I would scrub his head area with my fingernails (not really hard - just enough to exfoliate a little). After I dried him off, I would put the Aveeno Baby Cream on his head, not the lotion, the cream is thicker. This seemed to clear it up much faster than the baby oil or the head and shoulders shampoo.

Good luck!

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C.J.

answers from Youngstown on

My 6 month old has it, and my ped suggested using a dandruff shampoo on her but said make sure u dont get it in her eyes it wil burn. I thought hmm.. no thanks. But I use caress body soap, and it has a mositurizer in it. I thought it cant hurt to try it, so I did every other day and after her bath i would put baby lotion on her, and alittle on he top of her head and its almost gone now. And my daughters was bad.

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L.B.

answers from Fort Wayne on

We faced this with my 5 month old boy about a month ago. Our pediatrician said that the baby oil actually clogs the pores and is only a temporary fix. We've been using hydrocortizone cream at her suggestion and it's working great!
Hope you figure it out!

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A.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

use baby oil. I am sure everyone has said so, but it is what worked for my daughter's stubborn case. Just rub in a good amount, leave on for 20 minutes and massage from time to time...(plan on an extra long bath if you want), then after about 20, use a very fine tooth baby comb, and comb out the yuck. Then wash with the usual baby shampoo a couple of times if needed. You may have to do it all again the next day. It ought to be done after a couple of treatments.

Good luck!

A.

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J.C.

answers from Cleveland on

Both my kids had cradle cap as infants. I washed their hair with Selson Blue. It kept in under control pretty well. I never put anything else on their heads, just that. They did eventually outgrow it, but as long as I used Selson Blue, I never had any major problems! Good Luck! :-)

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S.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Children tend to outgrow cradle cap. I used baby shampoo on my son, and it helped more than the other oils and such that doctors suggested. the oils and over-the-counter cradle cap shampoos tend to moisturize and loosen the scales instead of actually treating the dry scalp. Dandruff shampoo seemed the best solution for my son. I also used a light layer of conditioner on the scalp as well.

-S.

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E.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

I would suggest that you stop using baby oil on your baby. Baby oil has mineral oil in it and it is not good for our bodies-google it to find out more. Use a natural oil like Arbonne baby oil or another one you find that does not have mineral oil in it.

K.K.

answers from Cleveland on

Hey K.! I have totally been where you are! This is what worked for me - I personally hated the baby oil, but thats just me. I used a johnsons baby shampoo (not the hair and body wash, straight shampoo), and massaged his head lightly with my fingernails, the same way they do us at the salon! Then I massaged Johnsons conditioner in, and let sit until the very end of his bath, then rinsed it out. I dried his hair with a towel and combed it with a fine toothed comb that would reach to his scalp. I combed his hair on average 10 times a day. I would comb it in all directions, especially from front to back, which made it stand up all crazy, but it works! Your goal is to get the scalp to naturally produce oil, which will take care of the cradle cap. Most times, the baby oil actually clogs the pores, preventing the natural oil from coming through. Though it sounds worse than it is, sometimes I'd use a brush with regular bristles rather than a baby brush to stimulate blood flow to the scalp. If you are super gentle, his head will be fine. Using the above treatment, my sons cradle cap cleared up in about 2 weeks. And it was pretty bad to start with. Good luck, and I hope this helps!!!

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H.K.

answers from Lafayette on

Hi K.. I know you have lots of responses, but I didn't see the one that worked for my 3rd son (who has always had a ton of hair). California Baby (brand) is great. Their products are natural and gentle, yet super effective. Target sells a lot of them now. Anyways, use their Tea Tree Oil Shampoo/body wash. Do, scrub a little to loosen flakes. It takes care of it in no time. You can also use a cream of theirs (sorry can't remember the name) but it is the only one of theirs that I have seen that comes in a jar instead of bottle. It states on the package to use for cradle cap. Good luck!

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C.S.

answers from Dayton on

Hello. My name is C. S. You need to stop using baby oil on your child's head. It clogs the pores and makes cradle cap worse. I learned this in cosmetology school. Using a mild shampoo and a nail or other soft tooth brush to wash his hair should clear it up soon. I hope this works for you. It did for my children. They never had cradle cap. Please let me know if it does.

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N.L.

answers from Columbus on

My son had cradle cap for a very long time also. When I took him to a children's hair cutting place, "Cookie Cutters", they told me to stop using baby shampoo. I started using the shampoo & conditioner they sell and it has really helped. Plus it's "no tears". I was previously told the baby oil stuff - yuck; and dandruff shampoo, but I didn't like trying to keep that out of his eyes. And it didn't really work.

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V.O.

answers from Kokomo on

You need to wash his hair every day with baby shampoo, take the baby brush and brush the scalp, while it;s wet then rinse, real well do this every day until the cradle cap is gone.

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M.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

my sisters little one had cradle cap. I have never tried it but she swears head and shoulders got rid of it. He is 6 months old now.

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R.K.

answers from Dayton on

I tried a more natural approach which was recommended by a friend, and very effective:

Mix a tiny bit of eucalyptus oil and lavender oil in your hand. Add a few drops of almond oil to that. Blend it all well in your palm and then rub it on the scaly areas on his scalp. (I usually do this about 15 minutes before a bath.) Then, in the tub, comb scalp with a baby comb, then lather with shampoo (I use Burt's Bees shampoo bar--LOVE IT!) and then with a soft bristled toothbrush, sort of brush the hair/scalp area with the shampoo on it. Rinse.

For my baby, this worked really well. (She also has a good amount of hair.) I tried it without the eucalyptus oil but it didn't work as well. Plus is smells really good too. (Be careful to only use a couple drops though, because it's strong stuff.) If you're anywhere near Yellow Springs, you can get the oils at No Common Scents on Xenia Avenue. They have a website too at https://www.nocommonscents.com/viewcat.cfm?id=8.

By the way, I've only used very gentle/natural stuff on my baby, wouldn't want to use traditional baby oil. We instead use almond oil, for instance, and I think that's made her skin really lovely and she hasn't had any weird reactions. There's also an awesome natural soap a friend of a friend makes that was created for a baby who was very sensitive to lots of stuff, and this soap is wonderful. You can buy it on etsy at http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=11324321-... have a vegan one and one made from goat's milk. It lasts a long time, too.

Good luck!
--R.

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R.W.

answers from Cleveland on

I had twins and one of my girls had cradle cap pretty bad and we bought some stuff that is for cradle cap, I am sorry I do not remember the brand name but I know they also put put cream for ezama it is in a green small bottle with winnie the pooh on it. It work very well for my daughter I also gave the rest to a lady from my church whos newborn had it very bad and after about a week it started to clear up. With it I would not scratch his head you should get a fine tooth comb and use it but don't do it for too long because it could irratate this scalp even more. Do it in small sections at a time and after you comb it I always washed her hair with baby wash. I hope this helps you out and your sons cradle cap goes away

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E.E.

answers from Indianapolis on

lay off the baby oil!!!!! you are clogging his folicles! Once a week would be fine. cradle cap is like dandruf so washing his hair maybe 2x a week w/ dandruf shampoo would be fine with the baby oil (or preferably mineral oil w/ no frangrance) once a week would be preferable. don't wash his hair more than 2 times a week. his scalp is being over stimulated and that is exaserbating (sp?) the problem. let his little scalp dry out a bit and the cradle cap will not return. I dealt with this with my son and it took until he was about 15 months to finally get rid of it.

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K.C.

answers from Columbus on

If you are nursing....Try using breast milk. I used it on my son (almost 6mos) and it worked, but he only had a little bit on his head. Good Luck!

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K.F.

answers from Columbus on

I used Head and Shoulders twice a week for two to three weeks and it went away. I made it thick enough to not run. I let it sit on his scalp for a couple of minutes, and used a wash cloth to keep it from running into his eyes. I didn't use anything else on his head in the meantime.

Good luck!

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C.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

our pediatrician had us use selsum blue on it & that seemed to work better than anything else - i did still take time to get rid of it.

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D.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

All my kids had cradle cap. We found with our first that it got worse and lasted longer the more often we washed his 'hair' (he was pretty bald for the first year). We ended up not doing anything special for it, just normal baby shampoo with his bath 3 or 4 days a week. We did this with all our kids and they all cleared up by the time baby was about 8-9 months old.

In most cases, it just goes away on it's own and the more stuff you put on it and the more often you wash the hair, the longer it sticks around.

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

Natually Healthy Babies & Children by ROMM and THE ENCYCLOPEDIA of Natural Health & Healing for Children by Weber. You'll want to HAVE THESE ON HAD FOR LOTS OF RESOURCES. Another one that's a MUST have for mom's is WHAT ARE WE FEEDING OUR KIDS by Jacobson......oh, and since you've got one so young......FEED ME I'M YOURS is a must have to.

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S.L.

answers from Columbus on

Dear K.,

Try using coconut oil (organic) on the area once or twice a day. Coconut oil is an extremely gentle yet effective product. I have used it for so many topical purposes,from sunburn, cuts & scrapes, s a cosmetic hair & skin conditioner, to relief of the rash caused by shingles. I have friends who have used it for diaper rash, psoriasis, and other skin disorders, and they have all been thrilled with its efficacy.

You can buy organic coconut oil in most grocery stores in the natural foods section for less than $6 for a 14 oz. jar. You will find it with the other organic cooking oils, and the container resembles a mayonnaise jar. It will be solid when you buy it, but it has a melting point of 76 degrees farenheit, so it melts on contact with the skin.

Acording to the book, The Coconut Oil Miracle, by Brice Fife, coconut oil is the substance found in nature that most closely resembles human sebum (our natural skin oils). It has natural antimicrobial, antibiotic, and exfoliating properties, and is an ideal treatment for almost any skin condition.

Good luck!

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C.B.

answers from Columbus on

Hi K.,

Neither of my children ever had cradle cap, but when I had my daughter my hairdresser gave me an Amino Pon bar and swore that it was the best thing ever for cradle cap. I never had to use it so I don't know if it actually works well, but I thought I'd pass it along anyways! Good luck!

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H.D.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi K.,

Both of my daughters had it, one is now 7, the other is 14 months. My neighbor, who is a nurse, told me to put baby shampoo on my hand (or on the baby's head) then put a drop of baby oil on it, that way you're killing 2 birds with one stone. Not too much baby oil though because it clogs poors. We also didn't wash her hair every day. It eventually went away. Also use a baby comb instead of a brush, it'll help pick off the flakes. We used to brush hair a bunch of different ways, so more flakes would come off. When her hair was close to dry, we'd brush it how we wanted it.

H.

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K.D.

answers from Cleveland on

AHH I hate to hear about baby oil.. mineral oil! My dr said never use something with mineral oil unless you need to seal out stuff and then only for a little bit.. like when my son burn his hands we used a product with mineral oil to seal the skin till the new skin came in some. Then STOPPED!
OK besides that! lol I agree Arbonnes baby oil works GREAT!! My son had cradle cap so bad. We tried a bunch of stuff then Arbonne. I used theirs and did a little brushing and it was gone.. I have a sample if you want to try it.. email me at [email protected]____.com
I figure worth a free try. www.arbonne.com is their site and you can see if there is anything else you might want to try.. I can get other samples too!
Just a thought. I have used the products for 17 yrs and love them!
Hope that helps!
K. www.passion4more.myarbonne.com

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C.A.

answers from Cincinnati on

It's kinda funny to me that your pediatrican would tell you to scrape at it. In all of my experiences, that makes it 10X worse than it was when you started. I treated it by applying lotion to the affected area in the morning and at night. It takes some time to go away, sometimes even months. I would just keep it moisturized and not pick at it. Just let it go away on it's own, it's not hurting him any.

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R.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

Dear K.,

Our son was quite the same way - I thought it was because he had a fairly good amount of hair and he was a sweaty kid but, anyhow, ... I used "Corn Huskers" on his head and then combed the opposite way of his hair growth with a very fine comb. His head will still get like this off and on and I just rub this in and he sometimes will sleep with it in his hair and the next day, it looks terrific. He is 10 years old now. Good luck

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M.M.

answers from Columbus on

K., I had cradle cap like your 5 month old as a child. My mother took me to dermatologist to get the prescription shampoo. I finally outgrew cradle cap about the age of 11. However, I wasn't diagnosed as young as your child. Don't give up, keep doing what you are told. They explained to me that cradle cap is like a seed. You have to get seed out before it will quit growing. My mother always used a fine comb to use on my cradle cap. It is more common than what you think. I am sure your doctor is right that your child will grow out of it. I know it's hard with a child that young. My oldest son had cradle cap for awhile when he was an infant. I think hardest thing is to get the baby to sit still. Keep your head up, it might take awhile but your child should grow out of it.

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K.B.

answers from Elkhart on

Hi, I have three children whom had it and was told never use any baby oil on it. My youngest, 22m, has it and we've been using a clairifing shampoo. Let it sit while he is playing in the tub, brush it with the baby hair brush sometime in the middle and be VERY CAREFUL not to get it in his eyes. Brush or comb his hair multiple times a day. It will keep coming back. My 11y son is going through it due to puberty. It is an excess of oil.

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E.B.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My son had cradle cap around that time as well. I bought Cradle Cap care lotion/oil made by (I think) Johnson & Johnson. (it is a small greenish bottle) Anyway, you put this on and scrape off the dry skin by brushing it with a baby comb several times. Then give your baby a bath. Repeat this everyday until it gets better.
Also, I've heard Mustela makes a shampoo for cradle cap that works good.

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K.L.

answers from Columbus on

Hi, K..

SKIP the baby oil! It holds all that "mess" in. Not to mention scratching their head will only irritate it further!! That was lousy advice they gave you. My daughter has eczema, so I went through this. Her ped suggested dandruff shampoo twice a week, use ONLY Dove for sensitive skin liquid soap, and Eucerin cream. He also said that at that age, fully bathing her every three days was best so her skin would not further dry out and to skip EVERYTHING that has fragrance. That was HARD, since everyone wants their baby to smell like Johnson and Johnson's products!! Well, his advice was right on. In one week she was cleared up. I spread the word to my other friends with little ones that age, and it helped them, too. I also ceased using the dandruff shampoo once it cleared up, and starting using the Dove to wash her head.

Good luck!!

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S.B.

answers from South Bend on

Hi K.! My name is S. and I am hairstylist and have a 6 week old son so I think I can help you. When my nephew was born 18 months ago he was about 8 weeks old when he got craddle cap. I bought him Paul Mitchell Baby Dont Cry shampoo and with in 2 uses it was completely gone! Ive used it on my son since birth and we havent had an outbreak yet. I would try that for sure but give it a few times of using it before you expect results. Good luck hope it works!

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R.M.

answers from Dayton on

HI K.,
Try Burt's Bees Baby Apricot Oil. It is less greasy than baby oil, less toxic than the dandruff shampoo and should clear up the cradle cap in a couple of days. We used it on our son with good results.
Good Luck

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M.H.

answers from Lafayette on

You might try something besides baby oil. If your baby is having a reaction to the baby oil, the cradle cap will just get worse because it is disguising an allergic reaction.

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L.B.

answers from Columbus on

Both of my kids had cradle cap for about 2 years. I didn't do anything to it and it went away naturally. My husband used to pick at my daughter's once in a while, but only until she would get annoyed with him. LOL

Don't worry it will go away on it's own.

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L.G.

answers from Lima on

I bought some special cradle cap shampoo at Wal-Mart and it worked great. It was hard to wash it out though and left the hair oily for about a week, but the cradle cap was gone in two days.

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R.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

K.,
Have you tried to use a lice comb after the baby oil? Its teeth are really close together and work great for removing baby dandruff. Other than that all I can think of is wash/comb,wash/comb,wash/comb :)
R.

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N.V.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I had the same problem. I used baby oil and waited a while and then used her baby brush. The brush gently removed the dry skin and seemed to sooth her. Hope this works!!!

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K.O.

answers from Chicago on

Are you using J&J Head to Toe shampoo & soap for bath time? We found out that with both of our kids, as soon as we stopped using this product for the hair/head, the cradle cap went away immediately. This was more evident with our 2nd child. Her cradle cap was very bad. A nurse had given me that tip. It cleared up within a week or two of now using the product. We used baby shampoo for washing her hair instead.

Hope that helps.
Good Luck
K.

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A.T.

answers from Cleveland on

My second child went through this when she was a baby. We tried everything yo did, incl. the prescription creams. My grandmother, who'se applachian through and through told me it wouldn't improve till I gave er some strong chamomile water. I soaked a good dose of chamomile tea. A couple weeks of this, nice, warm, on a cotton ball, it soothed her itch and she kept from digging at her scalp. As well, improved GREATLY.. I'll look in my herbal boks and get back to you with a few more remedies.. but the chamomile tea worked wonders for my daughter. Now she's 11 yrs. old, and not a single trace since about 1 yr. old.
Good luck and God bless,
A.

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S.K.

answers from South Bend on

Both my kids had this, it seemed when I used baby oil it got worse. The thing I found that worked the best is to take a baby comb and run it thru his hair while it was dry and also during the bath. I got a ton of it out that way.

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J.M.

answers from Cleveland on

do you wash his head daily? i stopped washing my daughter's hair as frequently and it went away on it's own. also, i would use olive oil or coconut oil instead of baby oil. good luck!

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D.I.

answers from South Bend on

My son had the same problem and he is 4. The best thing I found for him is the selsun salon shampoo. It went away in 3 washes. I would try the selsun salon but be careful not to get it in his eyes.
D.

I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7 and 4.

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S.P.

answers from South Bend on

Get some Paul Mitchell "Baby Don't Cry" Shampoo, it works wonders on both of my boys!

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C.B.

answers from Lafayette on

my daughter had the same problem, my grandmother told me to put olive oil on it & let it set 15-20 min, then comb through her hair with a fine comb then rinse with warm water and don't shampoo it for a day or 2. i did just what she said & it's been 4 months now and she hasn't had the slightest sign of it since. good luck.

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B.M.

answers from Cleveland on

Baby oil is a petroleum product that is not healthy because it is easily absorbed into the system. It also clogs pores. Try using something natural like olive, coconut, jojoba, borage, or other oils. And I agree with the person who said once or twice a week tops. I've only done this 2 or 3 times for cradle cap, but the best thing was letting olive oil soak in, gently massaging with a soft baby brush, then using a really fine-toothed comb to get it out. It really probably is better to just let them outgrow it, but I also understand the feeling that you don't want that to be what people notice about him! I wish doctors would get serious about the danger from chemicals on the skin... anything you put on your skin can be absorbed within 15 seconds, so a good rule of thumb is that "if you shouldn't eat it, you shouldn't touch it."

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D.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

I am no doctor but I can assure you that the baby oil dries the scalp which in turn causes the cradle cap. I was using baby oil on my daughters head and had the same results. You may want to try a mild moisturizer to keep your son's head conditioned. Good Luck!!

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S.K.

answers from South Bend on

My oldest son (now 11) had cradle cap HORRIBLY as an infant. Like yours' it started at about 2 months old. It just so happened, he also had a yeast infection in the diaper area. At the dr. appt, he prescribed me a prescription shampoo and then some yeast infection cream for his diaper area. At the time, he told me that it's an old wives tale that cradle cap is caused by a yeast, so if the shampoo didn't work after a few days, try applying some of the yeast infection cream to his cradle cap. The cream cleared it up in NO TIME FLAT! I don't know if you have any cream with clotrimazole in it (the main ingredient for yeast infection cream) around the house, but that's what I used for all of my kiddos (4) and it worked like a charm!

Good luck!
~S.~

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S.L.

answers from Cincinnati on

Mustela sells a product specifically for cradle cap. It's a foam shampoo (no tears). I have used it on my infant (almost 4 mos) since birth and we have had NO cradle cap. It's called "Foam Shampoo for Newborns". I bought it online at Sephora.com but you may be able to buy it in store if you have one near you. Hope this helps!

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C.B.

answers from Cleveland on

All 3 of my children had it, my Olivia is 6 months and still has it. I just use baby oil and firmly but gently rub her head with a baby brush, let it sit a day (they will look crazy lol) then do it again then wash.

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K.S.

answers from Columbus on

When my daughter had it, all I did was use the baby wash & leave it sit while I washed the rest of her. I then used the small nail brush given at the hospital & most of it came out. It always came back. But, it was gone by about 1 year if not a little before.

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