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My son was born with a full head of hair, thus I never paid much attention when he got
''cradle cap'' and just left it alone, assuming it would disappear on its own. Well, it
hasn't and he's almost 4 years old. He's still got thick hair, and it seems that every
time I run my fingers through his hair I get snagged on his scaley scalp. I've tried
gently scraping and picking pieces off, but he doesn't like it and I end up pulling out
lots of hair that's stuck to the skin. Has anyone successfully found a way to treat
Feeling like a nit-picker
Use the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner. You have to make
sure it doesn't go in his eyes because it isn't a ''baby shampoo'' but
it worked for my son. He uses it every so often to keep it from coming
Hi there - Olive oil was excellent for softening my son's cradle cap -
just rubbed some oil in and then took a comb and gently scraped the
scales away, then shampooed as normal - took about 2 or 3 times for the
scales to be completely gone, but the olive oil really softens up the
skin so its easy and painless.
only thing that worked for our baby with severe cradle cap was olive
oil. Trick was putting a bit on and leaving it on for a few hours.
Then we gently scraped it off with a soft brush in the bathtub and it
came right off. We'd tried everything else but this did the trick and
it didn't come back.
Here is what worked for my 6 month old:
At bath time rub scalp with oil. Then use a soft brush to brush the
scalp in circular motion (this seems to loosen the scales). Finally use
a comb to comb out the little flakes. My friend suggested this and it
worked beautifully for my baby (took about 3 treatments for the cradle
cap to completely disapear). I used baby oil but I think olive oil would
work well too. I did not shampoo afterward -- I think it is more
effective to let the oil soak in and moisturize the scalp. good luck!
My son had cradle cap until he was six years old. I didn't worry about
it. The barber took off the last of it while he was combing his hair.
If it doesn't bother your son physically or emotionally, then I would
just let it fall off with time Best of luck.
Hi, my son was born with a full head of hair also, and had pretty awful
cradle cap. Believe it or not, after many months of trying to deal with
it various ways, a friend who is a nurse told me to just try a little
Head and Shoulders shampoo. It worked like a charm.
My hairdresser told me to rub baby oil, or better yet, jojoba oil, on
his scalp to loosen it and then wash it away. Worked perfectly and it
never came back. Washing out the oil was the hardest part, and my son
wasn't crazy about the process, but it was a one-time-only deal.
My three month old son has a really bad case of what looks like
baby acne. His cheeks and forehead have been bumpy and red since
he was three weeks old. Two weeks ago, he went for his wellness
checkup and the pediatrician said it was cradle cap - on his
face! He said it happens sometimes when cradle cap will descend
to the face and that there really wasn't any way to treat
it. He also mentioned (to my horror!) that cradle cap could go
away by itself or sometimes, it never does!
I was wondering if there was anyone out there with experience
like this who have found something that helped? If there is no
solution, maybe there's at least something that can be done to
lessen the effect?
My baby had pretty bad cradle cap and baby acne for several
weeks. We tried traditional baby (mineral) oil, brushing her
scalp often, shampooing often, etc. - all recommendations of our
pediatrician - and nothing worked. Finally, I bought a natural
baby oil at the vitamin store in Montclair. After only a couple
of liberal applications, the cradle cap disappeared. I'm not
claiming that it's a miracle product, but it's worth a shot. The
product is called Country Comfort's Baby Oil and it is inexpensive.
I think you need to get another opinion and a different doctor maybe.
What you are describing is baby acne. My kids had it for about a month
about two weeks after they were born. It goes away. As for cradle cap, it
is very different. There is no redness, it is almost like a crust. There are
things that you can do for this as well. I put a bit of olive oil, or baby oil
on it and rub it very softly with a washcloth and then combed it out of the
hair. It is a mess, but got rid of it quickly. Don't do this on acne though,
oil is not good for acne. I would again say go find another doctor.
We had a similar experience, though my son's baby acne
was never diagnosed as cradle cap. It began at 4 weeks
and continued through about 6 months. I posted here and
got a variety of responses. We tried them all including not
bathing him for 2 months.
What finally worked on his face was MIL's suggestion to to
dust him with corn starch and then liberally apply Bag Balm
every time we changed him. We got the Bag Balm online. It
has an active ingredient of hydroxy quinoline in a petroleum
jelly and lanolin base. Once things were under control we
switched to vaseline (bag balm is a little stinky).
He's two now and has had a beautiful complexion for the
last 18 months. He still has cradle cap though (we never
tried it on his head). Thankfully he has a full head of hair.
My daughter's cradle cap began as a strip of yellowish scales
across her eyebrows when she was about 6 weeks old. I gently
picked it off and it did not return to her eyebrows. After that,
she got it along her hairline and it would creep down her
forehead, appear occasionally around her nostrils, in and behind
her ears, and sometimes in the corner of her eyes. Sometimes it
was clearly cradle cap (scaly), but sometimes it seems like just
really dry skin, and other times it was dry skin or cradle cap
that had been irritated by her scratching and turned into
I followed the advice found in the archives (oil it, scrape off
with comb, wash frequently) and also began taking a tablespoon
of flax seed oil a day. Two weeks after beginning the flax seed
regimen, her cradle cap is pretty much gone and her skin is
glowing. I have no idea if it's the flax seed or just
coincidence. She's now just over four months old.
My daughter also had ''baby acne'' and terrible cradle cap for seemingly
ages. I didn't take a lot of photos of her then... pity. In any case, it did go
away by the time she was 4 or 5 months old, though she does have
sensitive skin and even at age 2 is prone to cradle cap and rashes.
No biggie though - Aquaphor does wonders!
Your child is still nursing, so try taking a couple of tablets
daily of Brewers Yeast, for the extra vitamin B. This is an old
remedy for cradle cap. I found that it also stimulates milk
production, which is helpful if you go back to work and have to
express milk all week.
My daughter had pretty bad baby acne on her face. I put breast
milk on it a few times a day and it went away in a couple days.
Breast milk has antibodies in so it will help. Plus it's natural
and from your own body. If your feeling a little hesitant, know
that breast milk can't hurt your baby anyway. Good luck.
I have a 9 month old daughter who still has quite a bit of cradle
cap on her scalp. It is all around the frontal lobe of her scalp.
I've tried all kinds of oils, I've tried just leaving it (definitely
doesn't work) and recently I started using an oil and shampoo made
by Little Forest. The last thing has proven the best though her
cradle cap is still there in full force unless I wash her hair
everyday which I won't do. Has anyone had ecperience with this?
Do you know where it comes from? Help!
A friend of mine recommended using a very soft toothbrush
while washing your child's hair. I used mineral oil and a
comb, but my son still has a bit left and I'm going to try
the toothbrush trick next.
You didn't mention this and perhaps you don't know, but it
isn't enough to just put oil on the baby's head, you also
have to comb the head the next day. You put the oil on the
head before bed time and then the next day you do the combing.
This always removed cradle cap for us.
Have you tried extra virgin olive oil?
My son had a really bad case of it, it spread to his
forehead and eyebrows. I stopped getting compliments on
his cuteness. The doctor prescribed hydrocortisone..it just
got it looking worse.
I heated some olive oil in a vial in boiling water. When
the oil was just warm, I put it on his head, let it soak in
and loosen the stuff, then I picked it off. He smelled like
a salad for awhile, but the compliments came back.
I had cradle cap as a child and my two children have all
had cradle cap. I tried putting oils on their scalp, but
found that it didn't really help. Selsun Blue or any other
dandruff shampoo works the best in loosening cradle cap. After
washing, take a fine-toothed comb (I used a newborn's comb)
to remove the "gunk" from the scalp. It may take a couple of
washings. This is the exact same remedy my mother used on me,
Have you tried a soft tooth brush in combination with oil?
I used to spread oil (calendula) on my baby's head about one
hour before his bath and then brush it gently with a very soft
tooth brush. It really helped. Good luck!
My daughter's pediatrician told me that cradle cap is actually
caused by not washing a baby's hair enough, and that frequent
washings is the only way to rid of it. I too was concerned
about drying out her hair and scalp, especially since I was
using Little Forest when she was first born which seemed to
give her the frizzies. On the advice of a friend, I started
using Johnson's Baby Shampoo With Moisturizing Lotion every other
day, and that keeps her hair shiny and soft. Good luck.
Putting oil is not enough ... What I did with both my children
(and was told to do by my pediatrician) is to leave on the
oil for a little while (1 or 2 hours before bathtime), then
brush gently the scalp with a soft brush (like a tooth brush)
and /or comb the hair with a very fine comb (then of course
wash the hair). You will probably have to do it 2 or 3 times
within a week or 10 days and it should be enough to get rid
of the craddle cap.
Where does it come from ? I've heard in France (where I'm from)
that only the breastfed babies have what they call there
"milk crust"...I'm not sure though that it comes from the
Good luck !
I'm wondering why you won't wash your daughter's hair every day,
since that's the one thing that seems to help her cradle cap
(i.e., does she have other skin sensitivities that worsen with
frequent bathing, etc.). Frequent shampooing is what ultimately
ended our bout with cradle cap. Also, after each washing we
applied (and swear by) Country Comfort baby cream, in the pink
and white jar. It's an herbal baby cream that seemed to work
miracles on her head, and diaper irritation too.
My daughter also had cradle cap pretty badly. Our day care
provider suggested the following method, which worked very well
rub olive oil or vegetable oil into the baby's scalp (great
opportunity to call the baby your "little Greek salad"). Let it
sit on the scalp for a while, even as long as 30 or 45 minutes
(I know you tried oil, but did you let it soak in?). Then wash
the baby's hair normally. After, comb the hair AND the scalp.
The cradle cap should be softened and start to come off. Repeat
daily until it's gone. We had to do it for several days. And
it worked. Good luck.
I have a 3 year old who's only recently outgrown cradle cap/
really dry peeling skin on her scalp. To get rid of it
temporarily I would oil her head and scrub it with a
scratchy brush before she took a bath. I don't think there
is any way to "cure" it, and after a while I really started
to just ignore it because her hair grew over it and it got
Each of my children had cradle cap. My doctor recommended
shampooing with Selsun Blue which I did two times a week.
Within a few months, it had cleared up, but I continued using
it for several weeks afterward (just to be sure it wasn't coming
back.) With your 9 month old, you'll have to be careful with
the shampooing because I doubt it is friendly to kid eyes.
Several parents wrote in with various advice re removing
cradle cap. I would like to suggest that it just be left
alone! It is harmless, and as long as it doesn't seem to
make the child uncomfortable, why mess with it? My son has
had cradle cap since he was a couple of months old, and
still has it at age 2 1/4. He never notices it himself.
Every time I tried the various methods of getting if off,
I ended up with hair coming out, a bleedling scalp and a
very annoyed little boy who couldn't understand why I cared
so much about what was under his hair! So I decided I don't
care, and we're both much happier. I wash his hair every few
days and massage his scalp carefully when I do so, that does
seem to keep down a large buildup. (I don't wash his hair
every day because he has eczema and frequent bathing
Whether or not to aggressively attack cradle cap is probably
more of an issue of what the parent is comfortable with than
anything else. If it is left alone it will gradually go away
by the age of 5 or 6. If you want to get rid of it, the
following suggestions may help:
1) a short (buzz) haircut. It is really hard to remove cradle
cap on a child with long hair without creating "a very annoyed
little boy who couldn't understand why I cared so much about
what was under his hair."
2) baby oil massaged into the scalp at the beginning of the
bath or shower, given time to work in before the shampoo.
3) a very soft bristle scrub brush this will gently remove
the (hopefully) softened cradle cap.
4) probably most important of all, start early. Cradle cap won't
get very far if it is caught and controlled at the outset,
That being said, I will confess to being one of the parents
like Kathy who don't think it is worth a big fight. Both of
my kids had it and outgrew it pretty much on their own. We
could never completely get rid of it until they were 5 or 6,
mostly because of their reluctance to have their hair washed
daily, and their howling resistance to torture when we worked
on scraping it off. Much depends on the child's level of
patience with such things (see the discussion about combing
out tangled hair).
I see that there has been a lot of discussion about cradle
cap lately. My daughter had it when she was an infant, and
probably had it until she was about six or seven. When she
was a toddler, she hated having her hair washed, so I only
washed her hair every three days or so. I never tried to
comb out the cradle cap, treat her scalp with oil, etc. because
I felt that would be akin to torture for her. (She seemed
to have an extra sensitive scalp, so that even combing or brushing
her hair was painful.)
My pediatrician said that she would eventually grow out of it,
which she did. Now she washes, combs and brushes her own hair,
and as far as I can tell it is completely gone. Though this
is purely speculation, my daughter never got head lice, though
there have been outbreaks of it in her class and among her
friends, over the last several years. I have wondered whether
having a predisposition to a waxy scalp might have been a
deterrent to the head lice, but it is probably just wishful
thinking on my part. (I also dab a little tea tree oil on the
hair behind her ears during lice season.)
i missed the original post but thought our experience might be helpful. our
daughter had a horrendous case of cradle cap for about three months as an
infant. i tried all the tricks -- various oils, gently massaging the scales
out, special cradle cap shampoos, etc. -- all to no avail. then we went away
to the holidays, and b/c of both family craziness and cold weather her hair
didn't get washed for a whole week (i had been washing it daily or every
other day). voila -- no cradle cap.
My son just turned three years old but he still has "cradle cap." Is this
something I should be concerned about? How can we get rid of it?
I had good luck getting rid of my daughter's cradle cap by shampooing her hair well and
then combing it "backwards"--against the hair growth, with the comb flat against the scalp,
using one of the very fine-toothed combs I got at the hospital when she was born. It took
about a week, since I didn't want to irritate her scalp by combing too much on any one
occasion, and I had to be gentle to avoid pulling out her hair as I combed, but now the
cradle cap is completely gone.
When my son was three and I took him in for his 3-year-old check-up, the
doctor told me that he had cradle cap. I'd always wondered what that brown stuff was! She
told me to put baby oil on his head for a few minutes, then wash it and all the brown stuff
out, using a comb if necessary to get it all. It was messy and took about 10 minutes, but it
worked and he's never had it since.
I just dealt with that. I rubbed olive oil on my baby's head, waited 15
minutes and scraped off the scaly skin with a fine-toothed baby comb (one I got at the
hospital). My baby's head looks much better.
this page was last updated: Oct 15, 2006
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