Treatment Ideas for Cradle Cap??

Updated on December 17, 2008
T.H. asks from Portland, OR
40 answers

Hello Moms,
My 5 month old baby boy has terrible cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) on his head. It is now spreading to his forehead and I'm worried it will continue to spread down his face. I've tried almond oil on his head and then have used a fine toothed comb to remove the scales. This works, but then the cradle cap is back the next morning. He is exclusively breast fed and I'm taking biotin and omega-3's (both helpful for cradle cap). Today I have started a dairy free diet to see if this helps. I feel terrible for him because it really itches and he has cut his forehead with his nails sratching after waking from naps. I would love any other treatment ideas out there. Thank you!
T.

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C.F.

answers from Yakima on

T., I feel for you. My son had cradle cap too for almost a month. I used dandruff shampoo but found the using Johnson's baby powder soap worked better. It wasn't as harsh if I got it in his eyes either. My son's was so sever his doctor was considering sending us to a dermatologist. Once I used the baby powder soap it only took a week of washing his head twice a day with it and a baby tooth brush (the extra soft kind). Then it was gone. *Angel's singing here*

I wish you luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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T.J.

answers from Seattle on

Sounds funny but breast milk on the affected areas then comb or gently rub the areas. Have to do it a few times a day but after the first day it was gone! I've heard of using olive oil too. Good luck!

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

Try olive oil or grapeseed oil. There's a chance that it's actually the almond oil that is itchy for him. Cradle cap doesn't normally itch for most kids. There's always a chance that he's allergic to nuts and the oil on his skin might be causing a reaction.

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M.G.

answers from Seattle on

I would suggest that you talk to your pediatrician or a dermatologist.
T-Gel and similar shampoos are supposed to help, but I would not try it, before talking to your baby's doctor.

In severe cases it is always a good idea to get a second opinion from a dermatologist. My niece was thought to have severe cradle cap, also constantly itching herself - eventually, after about 3 months of the usual treatments (from oil and comb to dandruff shampoo) she was finally diagnosed with eczema. By this time her scratching had caused an infection of her scalp, she was miserable and it took weeks for everything to be treated and healed.

Good luck.

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S.S.

answers from Seattle on

I know exactly what you are going through. My daughter is 5 1/2 months old and she has the same thing. My mom was watching her for me while I was a work one day. She put baby oil on her scalp and then used her comb to comb away all the scales. The about an hour later she did the same thing. She let it sit on her head for about another hour and the I got home and I gave her a bath and just washed her hair really good with less shampoo than I was using. I haven't had a problem with it since. Try using not so much shampoo thats what I did and I haven't had a problem with it since. If that fails there are shampoos for baby that are specifically for cradle cap. You could try that.

Hope that helps.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful
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C.M.

answers from Bellingham on

have your doctor or midwife check it out to make sure it's not eczema. Cradle cap doesn't usually bother the baby and is confined to the scalp, so it sounds a bit suspicious that it is spreading to the forehead and really bothering your little guy.

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V.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.!

What a frustrating problem!

I sell a soy-based soap that has been reported to help by some other moms. Here's a website with more information and a list of the ingredients:
http://www.bellamiacandle.scent-team.com/bellabars.php

Feel free to contact me if you would like a small free sample to see if it might help.

V.

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L.N.

answers from Portland on

Hey T.,

My mom actually got it as an adult, and she used tea tree oil, and it helped a lot. She put a couple drops in with her shampoo and washed her hair with that. Then she got a prescription shampoo from our hairdresser, and that did a lot. (Contact me if you want me to tell you more about the shampoo).

:)

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B.A.

answers from Anchorage on

My two year old daughter had the same problem and the pediatricians that we were seeing had recommended scrubbing her head with a soft brush. They had provided a brush that is used to scrub before surgeries. I have used the same brush on my two month old's scalp with every bathing and her cradle cap has disappeared. I hope this helps.

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J.W.

answers from Seattle on

It takes persistence to conquer cradle cap. Once you get done saturating the scalp with an oil and loosening the scales with the fine toothed comb, wash the scalp with a baby shampoo, dry the head and use a light oil rub afterwards. Repeat daily, don't skip a day. It's not contagious, but chronic until it's controlled and gone. Does he have any other skin issues? If it itches? how do you know? many babies rub their heads and scratch themselves just being babies. Keep his nails short, that will help a lot. Talk with your pediatrician at his next well baby visit about hydrocortisone cream if you believe it's itching. If it's really persistent, ask your dr. about possible treatments. Removing certain foods from your diet and adding supplements may or may not be in his best interests, so do talk with his pediatrician. Too much of a good thing can end up doing more harm than good.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Query MedLine Plus Medical Encyclopedia - seborrheic dermatititis on the Internet. It has a very good description, treatment, and when to get medical advice.

Cradle cap is a combination of the overproduction of skin cells (and may include a mild fungal infection) that results in an oily skin and scaly patches. It is possible that it is also aggravated by the mother's hormones which they baby acquired before being born. The hormones leave the baby's body slowly.

I looked at a couple of other sites too and they all suggested that if the common measures, that you've used and others have discussed here, to consult a doctor. Consult a doctor also if scratching has broken the skin because this leaves the skin open to increased irriatation, bleeding, and possible infection

Be sure that it's not eczema which can look similar. My granddaughter has eczema. It looked like cradle cap in the beginning but became more dry, instead of more oily, over time. It also eventually appeared on her extremities. Cradle cap is confined to the head, ears, neck area.

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K.C.

answers from Portland on

My son had terrible cradle cap and we used borage oil (suggested by our pediatrician). It comes in capsuls like vitamin E (we bought it at Whole Foods). Its been a while but it seems like we used it about once a week. Once we put it on we would put a hat (just a little cotton baby-style cap) on him so it wouldn't get on everyone's clothing and everything else. We had to pull the scales out but they were hardly attached to his head any more. We washed his hair after using it but we were also careful about not washing him with soap/soap like products more than once a week because it dries their skin out so much. After using the borage oil for a few weeks the cradle cap really cleared up. Good luck.

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P.B.

answers from Portland on

I have been using olive oil for cradle cap and it seems to be working somewhat. I guess there are special cradle cap shampoos for it too. Riley's head doesn't itch so, he rarely scratches and it is only contained to the front part of his head. My pediatrician told me yesterday that I could use some dandruff shampoo but, I haven't gone that route yet. I don't want to put harsh chemicals on his head.

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R.C.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,

My son's wasn't as persistent as this, but what we used was diluted Head & Shoulders. I let it sit on his scalp for a couple of minutes, and did it a few days in a row, then once a week. You just have to be careful not to let it get into his eyes, because it will sting badly.

Good luck!
Colleen

K.R.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T., my daughter had really bad cradle cap when she was younger and I couldn't find anything that would help, but finally I found a shampoo that did the trick.

You are looking for Little Sprout Moisturizing Baby Shampoo.

This shampoo is especially made for getting rid of cradle cap.

Here is their website.

http://www.originalsprout.com/

I'm pretty sure that you can buy it at amazon as well.

The one downfall is that it isn't tear free so you have to be really careful. It will also take several weeks/months for it all to go away, but it worked for my daughter and it hasn't come back at all. It is also a little spendy but well worth it, especially if you view it like a medicine and not like a shampoo.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

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C.P.

answers from Seattle on

We had terrible cradle cap with my first. I didn't realize what it was until his face was covered with a rash. (He had lots of hair and I actually didn't see the scales.) Our pediatrician had us put vegetable or olive oil on his hair every night and leave it for 5 minutes. Scrub with a toothbrush. Then wash with dandruff shampoo. I'm have a blank on the name right now. Not Head and Shoulders. The other one in the blue bottle. Then cover his head with hydrocortisone cream and put him to bed. It took a few days and consistent attention, but it worked.

Good luck!
C.

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S.S.

answers from Portland on

I've recently tried several essential oil formulas that are supposed to heal many different specific issues. I know they have a formula for craddle cap. I haven't tried that one myself but I have tried several of their other formulas and have been super impressed with the wonderful results! The cool thing is they offer a 60 day money back guarantee so if it doesn't work for you, you can get your money back. The company is called healing natural oils. If you go to this website: www.hazelaid.com and then click on the "essential oil" tab it will give you a link to the website. Hope you find something that helps!

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,
Sounds like you are trying to help this naturally, I did the same aswell but ultimatly had to get a perscrip from Dr and it cleared right up in a few weeks.
Good luck!

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Z.A.

answers from Seattle on

The oil and fine tooth comb (like a lice comb) are a great start...because it helps loosen and dissolve the oil. THEN I agree with the other poster who says to use an adult shampoo, specifically a dandruff shampoo. Selson Blue is great, so is a tea tree or eucalyptus shampoo. Baby shampoo is sooooo mild that it doesn't break up and wash away thick oils.

On not getting that stinging stuff in his eyes, something that we used with our son was the smallest pair of swimming goggles we could find.

good luck

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J.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hi,

My son had really really bad cradle cap. I used everything then finally got a therapeutic shampoo (T/Gel from neutrogena) you just need a drop each washing. Then out of the bath put mineral oil on it. It took about a week or so and poof it was gone. Good luck!

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E.J.

answers from Seattle on

Our pediatrician recommended regular Selsun Blue shampoo once a week. Lather, leave on for two minutes, and rinse. It cleared cradle cap up after just a couple of washes.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,
I've found that Medela cream for cradle cap with some persitence works really well. It's a little pricey, but it did the trick. Good Luck!

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K.R.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,

The almond oil / olive oil is definately the mostnatural way to combate cradle cap. I'm sorry to say that for my little girl this didn't work. I lost sleep over it, but in the end I used the commercially available "Disney" cradle cap remedy available near the diaper ointments and baby shampoos at the grocery store. (I think it had Pooh Bear on it.) I didn't want to use it because I didn't know what was in the stuff, but I talked to a mama who said it did wonders for her. And in one use my baby's cradle cap was gone. It came back one time, but only in one little spot. The lotion is a little tricky to get out, and I don't know how safe it is compared to my all natural regime we normally use...but it works. I think it just depends on how important getting the cradle capis to you.

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K.O.

answers from Portland on

Cradle cap is caused by excessive amounts of oil on the scalp. The best treatment is dandruff shampoo; just be sure to keep it out of his eyes. My son had cradle cap too, and I used selsun blue on him. It worked great.

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J.V.

answers from Seattle on

Have you thought about what kind of shampoo you use on your son. My oldest got really bad cradle cap when he was a baby. I changed his shampoo and it went away. the shampoo was johnson and johnson baby shampoo. It has caused cradle cap on my friends kids as well. It the gold colored one. good luck.

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S.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,

The only thing I know for sure works is using a Johnson's shampoo and getting a nail brush and scrubbing. People say they are scared they will hurt the baby...it does not hurt them. Their skin may get red but allowing that cradle cap to stay could lead to infection. Bathe your baby everyday and use a gentle baby shampoo and a nail brush or a textured wash cloth. Like one you would use not one made for a baby.

Good luck!

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M.S.

answers from Portland on

My pediatrician told me that the best remedy for cradle cap is adult dandruff shampoo. There are two difference kinds, so you may have to try both to see which works best, but you can get travel size bottles. He reassured me that the chemicals in the adult shampoos were just fine to use on babies, just keep it out of his eyes.

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M.H.

answers from Seattle on

My son had cradle cap too. It was a nightmare to get rid of. What worked for me was, I got baby oil and a really soft brislted brush. It was for babies, but i don't recall where I got it. I had to scrub his head with the oil and brush every day for many, many days. After scrubbing with the oil, I would shampoo his head. My son is now 13 years old and the only one of my three to have excema and asthma. So there may be something to that. He barely had any hair at all, so it was seen so easily and always made me think that people would think I was a bad mom. Don't think that way at all, because there is nothing much you can do, but what you are doing. It never really went away. It got better, so that there wasn't as much, but there was always little flakes there. Now he needs dandruff shampoo and it still is scaly on his head! But I guess that is the excema...
M. Holm

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B.H.

answers from Seattle on

My son had the worst cradle cap imaginable, i tried everything.
Then one day, i wasin getting my older sons hair cut and the beauitician (grandma lady) asked if id like her opionion. I was like sure Ill try anything! She said to take a cotton ball, and use the original listerine(yellow) and dab on his head, and comb out.
I thought, weird but tried it.
after 3 times his cradle cap was compelty gone, No joke!
and consulted dermatoligist at his next skin visit (bad exezema) and she said theres actually studys about it, and said she herself has recommended to some patients!

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C.H.

answers from Portland on

I see that you already have a lot of advice, but I tried a lot of these suggestions and they didn't work for me. I am just throwing mine out there too in hopes that you find what works for you & your son. I tried the adult dandruff shampoo's, oil & combs, brushing etc. but it was torture - my son wriggled and cried and it didn't even work. I ended up using a product from Gentle Naturals by Disney Baby for Cradle Cap Care - it's a green bottle from Target, Walmart etc. and it has the consistency of lotion rather than shampoo or oil and I combed through his hair with that it worked like a miracle. I also switched my sons shampoo - I had heard (and it ended up being true for him) that Johnson's was the hardest for cradle cap and/or sensitive skin. I switched to Aveeno Baby and after these two things his cradle cap is completely gone! I have a almost full bottle of this Cradle Cap Care that I will give you for FREE if you want to try it. I live in the Albany area you can contact me by e-mail [email protected]____.com if you want it. It is opened, and partially used (it's the bottle I used for my son) but I don't need it for him anymore so if you would like it you can have it, it's FREE :) I just hope that you find what works for you and I hope it's not one of those "just keep at it EVERYDAY" suggestions - because you are a busy Mom, and who wants to spend their time dealing with this everyday? Anyway, good luck! :)

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C.S.

answers from Seattle on

Our little one had that same thing going on.. I found "Stelaker" by Mustela. I put it on her head before bed (lotion-not messy) and then in the morning I would put her in the bath and use a fine tooth comb and tons of flakes would come up and then I would use Foam shampoo by Mustela that is also for craddle cap.. It only took a few times and now it is all gone. I would do this every few days. Good luck!

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C.G.

answers from Portland on

Mustela makes a cradle cap shampoo and a cream. I haven't tried these particular items but I use their baby wipes, diaper rash ointment, and dermo-cleansing soap and love them all. (Side note, my son has only had two full-blown diaper rashes and they have both gone away with one day using these products.) Here's the blurb about their cradle cap cream from their website:

"Cradle cap is not a serious condition, even though the whitish/yellowish flakes on baby's scalp and face can thicken and look unsightly. It is not caused by poor hygiene but simply due to an excessively oily scalp caused by the transfer of hormones from mother to baby at the end of pregnancy.

Properties:

Helps remove cradle cap quickly to restore skin's balance and comfort

Helps limit the proliferation of micro-organisms (malassezia furfur) to maintain a healthy scalp

Soothes and hydrates skin with Aloe vera and Borage oil to relieve sensations of itching and skin discomfort

Tested under dermatological control and in pediatricians' offices

Practical squeezable nozzle tube to target only affected areas

Non-irritating, does not leave an oily film and does not sting the eyes

Fragrance-free, formulated without paraben"

I would give that a try. Good luck!

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A.O.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,

My 6 month old has the same issue. I really have to keep on top of it! (It's almost an obsession really, every time she nurses I pick. :-) ) When it was really bad I rubbed the scales with a little bit of oil then washed her hair afterwards. Her hair stayed a little oily the next day but when we washed her hair again that evening the scales came off really really easily with a comb.

Best of luck!

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A.E.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.-
My little girl had this, too, although not as bad as what your boy has. I would just keep after it, daily, until it goes away. Good luck. A.

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N.M.

answers from Portland on

Mineral oil, massage the thick areas with a soft toothbrush. Wash hair afterward with Selsun Blue shampoo (be really careful of the eyes). hyrdrocortison cream (cream is nice to use than the ointment) with a q-tip onto the worst areas. This works like a dream. My daughter had such thick, awful patches that nearly anything we tried would actually take out her hair. Then we started this routine. We'd do this a few of days in a row until it was pretty cleared up. Then about once a week. Until it was completely gone. And I mean, her's was one of the worst cases of cradle cap that our doctor had ever seen. It was really thick and icky. But this was wonderful. And she really like the massage with the toothbrush. It was very soothing for her.
Good Luck!

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C.H.

answers from Medford on

Hi T....
There are many OTC treatments but Baby Oil and/or Vasalene always seemed to work. I put baby oil on the whole body, including the head after the bath. My friends baby had it bad too...she used vasalene on the head followed by a warm towel wrapped on for 10 to 15 minutes before the bath and baby oil after...she said "Gold Bond" baby powder applied just around the edges helped to keep it from spreading.
You might try www.webmd.com and click on A-Z then go to C and type in "Cradle Cap"...they have a lot of info. you could try.

GOOD LUCK
C. M Hamlin

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M.T.

answers from Portland on

We used Aquaphor and other oils, but it didn't really clear up until our pediatrician recommended and we used Neutrogena's T-gel shampoo (dark brown color)- it's the one that is for seborrheic Dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, dandruff, etc.

By the way, my daughter wasn't but a couple of months old at the time, so it's safe. :)

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S.S.

answers from Richland on

My little nephew had an incredibly severe case of cradle cap when he was about six months old. We researches a bunch of different sources, some said Selsun Blue was a good remedy, others warned against it. We ended up trying it and it totally cured him pretty fast. He has sensitive skin and allergies to things like detergents, but he did great with the Selsun Blue.

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F.S.

answers from Portland on

I just went through this with my 4 month old son. The best solution I have found is olive oil and also aquaphor. It seemed that the combination of them used together has worked great. His had also spread to eyebrows and his head but now I have noticed after using a couple of times they both look so much better.

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R.B.

answers from Portland on

My best friends two kids had cradle cap pretty badly and the only thing that ever worked really well was plain old Vaseline. She said it's kinda gross because it is so goopy and then it doesn't really wash out for a few days or so but it was the only thing that got rid of the cradle cap. And it was also pretty soothing on the skin. Hope that helps.

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