You might be brushing through your baby’s hair and notice a yellowish, flaky crust resembling dandruff accumulating on your baby’s scalp. Sometimes, it can be found on your baby’s eyebrows, ears, and nose. Chances are your baby has infantile seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly known as Cradle Cap. But don’t panic! It’s not contagious or painful for your baby!
While there is no consensus among doctors on the cause of Cradle Cap, the most common belief is that the baby’s oil glands may be overstimulated and the yeast that’s found in your child’s sebum (the oily substance produced in the seborrheic glands) may be causing some irritation and presenting itself as this oily, flaky residue. What doctors do know is that is not cause by poor hygiene, allergies, or any bacterial infection.
Usually it affects children under a year and resolves itself, but if you would like to get rid of it here are some remedies I’ve found helpful below (starting with the most effective products).
- California Baby Calendula Cream – This is my number one recommendation to families when dealing with Cradle Cap. Be sure to buy the CREAM not the lotion as it is thicker, has a soothing effect, and has worked for the majority of infants I’ve used it on! I also believe they sell the product at Whole Foods.
- Pure Olive Oil / Coconut Oil
- Aquaphor / Vaseline
Steps to removing the Cradle Cap:
- fine-toothed comb and a baby hair brush- (use whatever fine-toothed comb you have on hand, but if you want a tool specifically made for the job Safety 1st makes a great one that combines both)
- baby shampoo
- cream/oil/balm of choice
- If you’re using Calendula Cream or Aquaphor feel free to leave it on all day or overnight as it is soothing to the scalp and works best the longer it sits on the area. The smell of Calendula is not the best, but it does the job. If you’re using Olive oil, apply it 15min before you give your baby a bath but don’t leave it on for extended periods of time as it may worsen the condition.
- After applying your baby’s shampoo, gently scrub your baby’s scalp in a circular motion with the brush. Rinse out the flakes on the brush and repeat. Rinse your baby’s scalp. Only do this process once daily.
- After you have washed your baby’s scalp, gently pass the comb through the areas with the cradle cap and remove it. It should be soft and come off easily. Do not try to scrape off the Cradle Cap from you child’s head. Do not be alarmed if a bit of you baby’s hair falls out with the flakes! This is normal.
- After drying your child’s scalp, massage a thin layer of Calendula/Aquaphor/Vaseline on the affected area(s) and feel free to leave it overnight or all day. This is moisturizing and will help heal the area affected.
All of the flakes may not come off on the first try depending on the severity of the case. You may find that some flakes or fallen in your baby’s crib after their nap or overnight and that’s completely normal. With consistent removal and conditioning with the creams or balms, it should be gone within 3-7 days. If you find that your child’s condition is worsening, seek the advice of your doctor.
Was this helpful? Do you know of any other effective products that may help little ones with cradle cap? Share with us in the comments below!