Crusty Scalp in 5 Yr. Old?

Updated on September 04, 2012
L.G. asks from Clinton Township, MI
14 answers

My 5 yr old daughter keeps getting what looks like cradle cap. I tried using head and shoulders and it seemed to work, then this morning i found a big, very crusty patch. could this be the shampoo we are using? I think i will try going back to Johnson's and using H & Shoulders occasionally, but does anyone have a good remedy for this? Or did you have the same problem and figure out the reason?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. I am going to continue with the head and shoulders. I have not been using Johnson's, but another kid's shampoo. perhaps I will try something different. I do agree that it probably doesn't get rinsed super well, nor does her hair/scalp get a great brushing to loosen up regular dead skin. I bought a new soft brush, and have been using the shower sprayer to rinse it well after her bath/shower. i can already see an improvement with the H&S.

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answers from Detroit on

What is her diet like? Is she getting fresh fruits and veggies, drinking water (half her weight in ounce), and lean meats? If she is getting in too many carbs and processed sugars this could create the dry scalp.

Also, an organic shampoo with teatree oil would work best. Massage her scalp versus using nails when shampooing her head.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Sounds like seborrheic dermatitis to me
Our pediatrician says to use a gentle, fragrance free sensitive shampoo. You can also try dandruff shampoos but I hate Head and Shoulders. I like the selsun blue products better. If it gets really bad they do have RX steroid shampoos. There is no cure just controlling the symptoms. Flare ups are worse in the fall and winter. I also found that using a clear shampoo works best. Meaning it should not look opaque like lotion. That means they put moisturizers in it and it makes the symptoms worse.
My DD and I suffer from this and this is what works best for us. Try different things to see how they work for you.

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answers from Lexington on

I would take her to the pediatrician or a dermatologist.

It could very well be eczema. Our pediatrician told us to use Selsun Blue (and not H&S) on "cradle cap" and that did help a lot.

Supposedly kids who were C-Section, or on antibiotics, are more likely to get eczema, asthma, allergies and other food-related immune issues if they do not get their intestinal flora to "normal" with probiotics by the age of 5... or so I have read and been told.

My younger daughter had many immune-related issues (she's the one we had to use Selsun Blue on). Turned out that among the many things she is sensitive to, she reacts to propylene glycol which is in many shampoos, body washes, lotions, and ointments!

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answers from Boston on

My kids had cradle cap well beyond the cradle. There are all these grandma remedies of rubbing vaseline or olive oil or baby oil on it and then having the hassle of washing that our of their hair. Our very no-nonsense pediatrician said to just use dandruff shampoo and to wash every other day for a while. It worked like a charm. We would use the dandruff shampoo occasionally, but switched to a gentle shampoo.
One note from my hairdresser about baby shampoo: the pH of baby shampoo is made to match the pH of tears, that why it does not sting when it gets in your eyes. However, this is not a great pH for your hair. So while it is good to use when kids are very little and their hair quality is less important than to make sure that baths and hair washing do not become feared, when older it is not a good shampoo to use if you want the actual hair to be moist and lush.

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answers from Chicago on

I agree with one of the other responders, some kids who have ezcema have cradle cap or crustiness on their scalp (school-aged kids, not just babies).


answers from Norfolk on

Sounds like Seborrhoeic dermatitis but it could be ringworm (which is fungal).
It wouldn't hurt to rub in a little Lotrimin into her scalp after toweling her hair dry (from washing).
Which ever shampoos you use, Selsun Blue, Head and Shoulders, etc - rotate them every few weeks.
You can also dissolve an uncoated aspirin in the little bit of shampoo of your hand you use to wash her hair - the little extra salicylic acid on the scalp seems to help.
You can also add 1 cup of plain yogurt into her bath water (make sure she rinses her head in it) - skin and scalp loves it.



answers from Detroit on

What I did when my kids had this was I slathered their hair and scalp with conditioner and that loosened the crustiness. Then I combed it away with a small tooth comb. Child size or a flea comb would work well.

Then I used that Neutrogena brand T shampoo. Voila! Scalp is clear, hair is clean.



answers from Las Vegas on

My 5yo ds has a seriously crusty scalp and I'm not sure what to do about it. There are large patches in various spots that resemble cradle cap but extra extra crusty and thick. I also noticed a crusty scap at the base of his neck at just in the hairline. I think this might be a mosquito bite that he has been overly scratching.

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answers from San Antonio on

My son had some crustiness when he was 3 yrs old- it was more of a yellow color than a white. So NOT dandruff. I used tea tree oil shampoo for about a week and it cleared up just fine. I still use the tea tree oil shampoo on him about once or twice a month. He's 4 btw. And you can find the tea tree oil shampoo for your dd in the health food section of your grocery store. I think I paid $6 or $7 for the bottle.

@TeenMom - YES about the J&J shampoo. I heard the same thing. I havent used that stuff since my kiddo was one year old!

@Melissa - I clicked on Melissa's link. I think that this yellowish crustiness IS what my son likely had. Thanks! My son had it just in one little spot on his scalp. Haven't seen it pop back up in the past year.

@B's answer - if you click on her wikepedia link, scroll down, Tea Tree Oil is a natural remedy! Yay - I guess that's why it worked for me.



answers from Columbus on

My son had this and I tried just about every shampoo and nothing seemed to work until we got one containing ZINC. It has done wonders for his scalp!!! My son is now a teenager and he's been using "AXE 2-in one with Active Zinc" for several years now. His scalp looks great, no flaking and it smells good too!!

I don't know if there is a difference but the label says "active zinc," not just "zinc."

Good luck!! I know this can be a pain in the butt!!!



answers from Detroit on

My 5 yo has this too. It looks just like cradle cap! I just make sure to massage her scalp with my fingers to loosen any dead skin and oil that gets matted in her hair. It seems to make a big difference. If I let her wash, she doesn't really clean her scalp at all.

She loves the "baby-free" shampoo (tear-free) still, but we have used other shampoos as well and it didn't make a difference.



answers from Minneapolis on

If you want to get rid of it STOP using Johnson shampoo . That is what caused it in my son. Head/Shoulders is not the answer either. Buy some shampoo at a salon. The one that got rid of that crusty stuff on my son's scalp was one by Paul Mitchell called "Baby Don't Cry". Cleared the scalp problems up very quickly.



answers from Grand Rapids on

You know what I found the problem to be with my son? The shampoo was not rinsed well enough from his hair. He hates getting his head wet as many children do, so I was having trouble getting it all out. For him, it was a build up from any shampoo we used. That I basically have to force CLEAN water over his head to rinse it all out. He may get upset still, but I am trying to teach him to tip his head back to keep the water out of his eyes.



answers from Chicago on

My son just had that at 5 yrs of age and the doc said to use Head and Shoulders. Worked like a charm. We were using a baby shampoo but have switched to an organic shampoo for between occasional Head and Shoulders treatment.

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