Dry Itchy Scalp on 20 Month Old

Updated on January 08, 2009
R.K. asks from El Cerrito, CA
23 answers

hi moms,
my daughter had cradle cap when she was younger. it returned several months ago, and my husband scraped it off gently. however, since then she has been itching incessantly, and her scalp flakes terribly. we oil her scalp with olive oil after her bath and in the morning, which seems to be helping the flaking to heal. however, she is still itching and sometimes draws blood with her fingernails! also, around the hairline is looking red and irritated (but no flaking right at that spot, just itching.) the doctor said it didn't look fungal, but also said she had never seen cradle cap in a girl so old. any input, moms? thanks so much.

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E.M.

answers from San Francisco on

USE A TOOTHBRUSH! I used a toothbrush with the oil. I sat in the bath with my daughter when I could not take it any more anddid slow circles with the toothbrush and oil until all the flaky stuff was off, then it went away.

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C.P.

answers from Sacramento on

We've had the same or similar issue with 3 of my boys. My very experience ped recommended slathering and massaging their heads in baby oil, letting it soak in for several minutes and then washing their hair (again massaging the scalp) with selsun blue shampoo. (Yes, be careful with the eyes.) I do the whole process in the tub and let them play while the oil soaks in. It has worked every time. Sometimes we need to do it a couple nights in a row to get it all out. Sometimes it will slowly come back after weeks or months and we just do it again. Good luck.

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D.T.

answers from San Francisco on

get her to take some fish oils. Try Nordic Naturals liquid strawberry flavor from Whole Foods. Get a Motrin syringe dropper and give her 1.25ml (or 1 teaspoon) daily. This may be a problem from the inside-out. They usually are unless it's fungus.

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N.P.

answers from Modesto on

Hi R.!

She must have thick hair. Make sure her hair is rinsed completely. Any leftover shampoo can cause itching. Keep her fingernails cut, poor thing!

Just so you know....my son was diagnosed with cradle cap at 6 years old! His hair was so thick, and he was always so sweaty that it resulted in cradle cap.

Good Luck, R. :o)

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L.N.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't have much helpful to say, but I'll say that our daughter, who is almost 3, still has bits of cradle cap here and there that crop up. My daughter's isn't itchy, but it's definitely there. We just keep removing it when it shows up. Good luck. I know this is a pain.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear R.,
It could be eczema.
I started getting crusty stuff in my ears of all things and thought that I wasn't rinsing the shampoo or conditioner out well enough during a shower. I rinsed very carefully and used Q-tips, but the next morning, I was crusted up again. It drove me crazy! Plus, I like wearing my hair up and I was afraid people would think I never cleaned my ears. The doctor gave me some drops and it went away. Then I got a patch of it on my arm. Some cream took care of it. Have the doctor take another look or get her to a dermatologist.

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A.C.

answers from Sacramento on

My kids both have very sensitive, dry skin. I always bathed them with baby oil every other night - don't wash hair on those nights, just let her get good and greasy. On the opposite nights I used Cetaphil soap. It's a very gentle hair/body wash.

Good luck.

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D.V.

answers from San Francisco on

You might try to see a pediatric dermatologist. They is one in the South bay. Dr. Lillian Soohoo is great. I think she is now at the Standford Medical Group (I think). Maybe it is an allergy to the shampoo you are using or even not the olive oil? Make sure the shampoo does not have any perfumes or special scents. I had a horrible rash at the base of my hairline and my neck. It was the pine extract in my new Avenda shampoo. Just some thoughts.

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N.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi R.,

You can go to the health food store and purchase some tea tree oil and put a little drop in some water in a squirt bottle and spray it on your babies head. It is great for itching and fungas if there is any present.

I have seen cradle cap in young teenage boys before.

I am a hairstylist and a wellness consultant.

She may also need more nutrients along with water to keep her body clean and healthy.

Wish you a happy New Year.

N. Marie

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J.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Could it be she's allergic / sensitive to the shampoo or soap you're using?

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A.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I have to say that i stopped letting my husband use head and shoulders. read the label it can be cancerous for an adult to use. Try products without drying agents such as sodium laureth sulfate free from trader joes there is nourish spa.I am an esthetician and sufferer of skin probs. go natural not all these chemicals. dr. sears has fish oil chews that are great for skin and brain. jojoba oil is also good

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J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

Could it be something else, like psoriasis? I would investigate.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Try a medicated shampoo like head n shoulders or selsun blue.

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G.B.

answers from Boise on

I had these issues when I was a younger child, back then my my mom never did anything about it, so it went on for quite a time, but eventually went away. I'm pretty sure it was due to my diet. I would get crusting behind my ears, and an itchy, very flakey scalp, especially above the forehead at the hairline and the hairline around the ears. Now that I am older and have a better diet, it has disappeared. Back then I ate a LOT of dairy and carbs. I do not do so much dairy and carbs now. However, certain things can trigger my head to feel itchy. SUGAR- when I eat a lot of sugar it causes my skin to get itchy, particularly the back of my head, and on my back. Not washing my hair daily usually causes the back of my head to itch intensly. So I disagree with the woman who said not to wash her hair. I think it might be something in our own sweat that triggers the allergic response. Putting oil on the head, like coconut oil or tea tree oil would probably not trigger the same response. In fact tea tree is soothing because it has an analgesic in it. I use it for every kind of skin ailment. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and it will smother microscopic skin mites if put on consistently and liberally. There is a mite called a demodex mite that can infect humans in our hair and on our skin. look it up online. But I don't think that's what it is. I think it is a vit B deficiency.

These two things you should try. I think they will give you DRAMATIC improvement:

*vitamin A (cod liver oil)
*vitamin B complex. 1 tab, twice a day
(Zinc might be an issue, check her fingernails for white lines across them, which would indicate she needs more zinc.)

Deficiencies in vitamins are very common in children because they typically consume more carbs, sugar, and dairy and less vegetables and meat than adults do. B vits must be consumed daily because we don't store them in our body, but are also are destroyed by a higher carb or sugar diet. In addition dairy, carbs and sugar feeds yeast, which many claim is the culprit for skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis.

Eczema, mouth and tounge sores- B6

crusting around forhead, nose, ears,eyelids or scrotum - B2

dermatitis - b1

red pimples and acne on back of arms, front of legs, psoriasis, - Vit A

boils, psoriasis, cracks behind ears, - zinc.

dandruff - b12

Cracks at sides of mouth - b12, yeast overgrowth

Walmart carries bottles of cod liver oil that are orange flavored. If you try to chase it with water, the fish taste comes up, so try not to drink water after if you use it. Also, cod liver oil does have a shelf life and can go rancid, (like olive oil)after a time.

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T.K.

answers from Chico on

Hi R., if you brush her hair/scalp with a bore bristle brush (the kind your momma/gma used) anyway it will stimulate the natural oils also alot of water intake & maybe you can try paul mitchel teatree shampoo just a spit mixed in with her normal shampoo its invigorating so she might not like it or be able to tolerate for long so i spit of shampoo to start & if she can handle it you can gradualy add a lil more. you need to remove all the dead skin so it doesn't itch her anymore then it can start to heal i feel for her it can't be comfortable. good luck & i'll be curious to see what finaly works for her. mother of 3 wonderful boys 25,22, & 2 T. k

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S.R.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello R.,

It may be Seborrheic dermatitis, called cradle cap in babies. I have the same thing and my youngest daughter did as well at 18 months, we used an over the counter shampoo called Nizoral, it can be used on your 20 month old. Our Dr. recommended that, if it doesn't clear it up in a couple of weeks they can prescribe a shampoo with higher levels of ketoconazale. It is very similar to eczema, so you want to wash her hair every other day, but only use the "special shampoo" once or twice a week, however, if you do get a prescription some call for every other day.

It could also be an allergic reaction to her shampoo, have you tried switching to a "green" shampoo. California Baby makes some great products, that's what I use on my girls, alternating w/ the Nizoral for my youngest as this is most likely lifelong for her, as it was for me.

Good luck, if you have any other questions let me know.

S.

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Olive oil is priamrily for cooking. Maybe she is having an irritation from it. Try Baby oil. They do make unscented baby oils if that is why you opted for cooking oil in the first place. Also, a gentle dandruf shampoo made for kids. If it is cradle cap (sorta doubtful) that is just severe dandruf.

K.O.

answers from San Francisco on

My sons had the same thing (really bad)about a year ago, they were 4 and 2, and every once in a while my older son gets cradle cap again.

We wash with a moisturizing shampoo & conditioner which every other day which helps keep it away. When they do get it we use baby oil (w/out mineral oil in it) and soak their head and use a fine comb to comb through their head we'll rinse and repeat if we need to, then wash their hair, and repeat every day until it is all gone.

For me, I did notice that the boys were getting cradle cap more often when we were not using conditioner or a mosturizing shampoo. That is why we switched to using both.

Good Luck!

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N.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi R.- my son was the same, our pediatrician recommended head and shoulders dry scalp care. We got the one with the shampoo and conditioner together. We used it every other bath and he has no more dry scalp/cradle cap. My eight month old daughter has bad cradle cap also. When she is old enough we are going to use this on her too. Only draw back is it stings the eyes a little. He's over it quick and I keep a towel handy so he can wipe is eyes when he wants too. Letting him have a little control makes it much easier. Try it, we love it.

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J.Y.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter currently has the same thing - it's like a form of eczema. You need to use a selenium based shampoo (like head and shoulders or selsun blue) but be sure to keep it out of her eyes!! Use it about 2-3 times a week. Then also use a 1% hydrocortisone as needed on the itchy areas (Aveeno makes one). It should heal up QUICK. It sounds like a strong solution but it works and it needed. May daughter is still itching but it has reduced drastically.

Also, after the first few weeks of age it isn't cradle cap - it is a form of eczema. Cradle cap is not itchy.

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H.L.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi R.,
Sounds like a form of excema on your baby girl.
We know how itchy and uncomfortable that can be.
My daughter had that behind her ears
and we have some great,natural products that
have helped her and me! (I had terrible excema on my
hands that caused my hands to crack & bleed for many years and now it is completely gone without using a prescription cream or cortisone cream)
please call or email me for more info.
I think we can help your baby girl.
:) H. ###-###-#### [email protected]____.com

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P.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

hi, my 7 year old has been complaining of itchy head and has broken out in a rash that is splotchy around his face and body! Benedryl helps it and aloe cream and thenit is gone by morning-i wonder if it is allergies or nerves? hope she feels better too

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M.S.

answers from Modesto on

Try mixing a little white vinegar with the rinse water after shampoo. White vinegar neutralizes and will soothe most any itchies.

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