Join Us

Subscribe to YourBabyLibrary and receive your FREE eBook (Pregnancy Philosophy)

Please note: YourBabyLibrary doesn't share emails with any third party. Please refer to our privacy policy.

Follow Us

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on tumblr
Share on pinterest

Cradle Cap: What is it and how does it affect your baby

You may think that your new little baby is absolutely perfect and then you notice that she has a crusty, scaly rash on her head. This is known as cradle cap, or “seborrheic” dermatitis, to doctors.

It isn’t just confined to the head. It can appear anywhere on your baby’s skin, such as her chest, under her arms, or in the folds of her neck.

What is Cradle Cap?

As unpleasant as it may seem to be it’s completely harmless and is only temporary.

It’s not quite certain what causes cradle cap but one theory is that your baby might have a sensitivity to yeast-like organisms that naturally live on the skin.

Another theory is that your baby’s skin produces excess oil which is then trapped in the tiny hair follicles of the skin.

No matter the cause, it will eventually disappear whether you just leave it alone or whether you decide to try and treat it.

Following are some of the things that you can do if you want to battle cradle cap.

Shampoo Your Baby’s Scalp to Prevent Cradle Cap

One way to fight the first appearance of it is by regularly shampooing your baby’s scalp. This will effectively remove those crusty scales.

Make sure that you use a very mild and gentle baby shampoo. Shampooing a couple of times a week can help to prevent cradle cap by regulating the amount of oil on your baby’s skin.

Don’t be tempted to shampoo her scalp every day as this can have an adverse effect. Over-washing can cause her skin to produce more oil and this can increase the chance of it occurring.

Rub Down Your Baby’s Cradle Cap

If your baby already has it then shampooing alone isn’t going to get rid of the flakes. Rubbing her head can help to exfoliate the skin.

Make sure that you use a soft brush that has natural bristles. You can use an adult brush for this or you can purchase a baby brush that is marketed specifically for cradle cap.

There really is no difference between the two. You can gently brush her head once a day. Make sure that you don’t irritate the skin as this can lead to an infection.

Some babies aren’t fond of having their head brushed so instead of a brush, you can also just use a towel.

Oil Your Baby’s Scalp

Putting some oil on your baby’s scalp can help to get rid of cradle cap or at least, make it less severe. Using oil is a good alternative from using any type of medicated shampoo or cradle cap treatment.

Olive oil and mineral oil are good choices. Other options are almond oil or cocoa butter. Just apply a bit of the oil to your baby’s scalp or skin where there is cradle cap.

Leave it on for about 30 minutes to allow it to soak into the flaky scales. Make sure that you don’t leave the oil on for too long.

Then wipe the oil off with a wet washcloth and gently brush or rub the scales. You can shampoo her scalp after an oil treatment or you can just leave it at that.

Primrose Oil for Cradle Cap

A natural remedy for dealing with cradle cap is evening primrose oil. Primrose oil is often used in the treatment of eczema.

You can use the oil on your baby’s scalp or on any area of skin that is affected by cradle cap. Unlike other oils which should be wiped off your baby’s skin after about 30 minutes, you can leave primrose oil on overnight.

Just a little bit of oil goes a long way. Make sure to massage it into your baby’s skin very carefully to avoid any irritation.

In the morning, just use a warm washcloth to wipe off any of the excess oil that hasn’t been absorbed into the skin.

Primrose oil is a natural method of treating it and it’s good for the overall condition of your baby’s sensitive skin.

Give Cradle Cap Time

Perhaps the best thing that you can do when it comes to cradle cap is to just leave it alone. This skin condition is something that most babies will have at some time in their first three years.

As perfect as you want your baby to be, her skin isn’t always going to be flawless. Many babies have skin conditions such as cradle cap, eczema, pimples, and baby acne.

Cradle cap will eventually go away whether you do something about it or not. Some babies will get very frustrated if you fuss over them and brush their scalp on a regular basis.

This can just lead to your baby starting to cry whenever you come near her to try and brush off some of the flakes and scales. Sometimes trying to fight it just isn’t going to be worth it.

Related articles