The most common skin problem in toddlers is cradle cap, which usually occurs in newborn babies in their first three months. This problem not just happens only to small babies but also to grown-up adults as well. People who are less than 40 years of age also suffer from this problem, which is known as adult cradle cap. In this case, it appears as a skin inflammation.
What is Cradle Cap?
It looks like dry patchy flakes similar to dandruff, which is greasy, yellowish and scaly on a newborn baby’s scalp. Sometimes, it can appear in eyelids and eyebrows, which is known as ‘infantile seborrheic dermatitis.’
Cradle cap in adults occurs due to a fungal infection in which the greasy area produces sebum, and can happen anywhere on the scalp, face, neck or armpits. It is medically known as ‘seborrhoeic eczema’ or ‘seborrhoeic dermatitis’.
What are the Causes of Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is a fungal infection, which is caused due to fungus. The causes of cradle cap in newborn babies and adults are not the same, so look into each section below.
Cradle cap Causes in Babies/Toddlers
- Hormones, which is transferred by a mother to a baby
- Oily skin and irregular skin cleaning of the babies
- Antibiotics that was taken during pregnancy
- Growth of yeast in the digestive tract
Cradle Cap Causes in Adults
- Weather changes
- Puberty and hormonal changes
- Fungal infection
- Diseases like Parkinson’s disease and other immune-deficient diseases.
Home Remedies for Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is not a permanent skin problem in babies and usually gets resolved on its own as soon the baby passes its first 3 months of age. For mild condition, gentle care is sufficient for the babies, such as washing their scalp regularly with a mild shampoo, applying a mild lotion, brushing the scalp to loosen the flakes, etc, which can help them to get rid of a cradle cap.
Here are some natural remedies, which are very effective and safe for toddlers and adults in treating cradle cap.
1. Organic Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is mostly chosen as a natural home remedy by many mothers for treating cradle cap. It is loaded with Vitamin E and other fatty acids that act as a moisturizer and treats dryness. It nourishes the baby’s scalp and removes flakes. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help to fight the infection of the skin.
Coconut oil is used for treating many skin conditions, such as itches, rashes, ringworm, dermatitis etc. As cradle cap is also a type of dermatitis, it is very effective in curing this problem.
Method 1: Direct Application of Coconut oil
- Organic coconut oil- 1 tbsp
- Take few drops of organic coconut oil.
- With the help of your fingers, apply this oil to your baby’s scalp gently.
- Rub all the areas of cradle cap, which has dead flaky skin.
- Do a gentle rubbing for 20 minutes, and let the oil immersed deeply into the skin.
- Then, take a baby comb to comb the hair, which will help the cradle cap to become loose and fall easily.
- After this, rinse your baby’s hair with warm water by using a mild shampoo.
- Doing this process regularly will help in clearing the cradle cap problem soon.
Method 2: Mild Baby Scrub
- Coconut oil- 1 cup
- Sugar- 1 cup
- Vitamin E- few drops
- Take 1 cup of coconut oil, 1 cup of organic sugar and few drops of Vitamin E oil.
- For mixing smoothly, you can heat the coconut oil and mix.
- Mix all these ingredients together in a container.
- You can store this scrub in a container for a month.
- For applying, take 1 tsp of this mixture, and rub gently on the affected area for 3-5 minutes.
- This is gentle on your baby’s skin and will help the dead flakes to fall easily from the scalp.
- After this, you can put a mild shampoo on your baby or toddler’s
- This can be followed on a daily basis, or till you find relief from the problem of cradle cap.
2. Shea Butter
Shea butter is a natural moisturizer with wonderful medicinal properties, which is very useful in treating cradle cap. It is also very beneficial in treating some other skin ailments like baby eczema, psoriasis, etc.
Shea butter does not contain any chemical or preservatives, therefore it is very good on your baby’s scalp. It also gets easily absorbed into the skin and is non-greasy, unlike other oil.
- Shea butter- 1 tsp
- Take 1 tsp of shea butter and rub directly on your baby’s scalp.
- Massage it gently on your baby’s scalp and leave it for 10-20 minutes.
- Now, take a soft brush and brush the scalp gently to loosen up the dry flakes.
- Then, give a head bath to your baby with warm water and a mild shampoo.
- After the hair wash, wipe gently your baby’s scalp with a soft towel, and allow it to dry naturally.
- This remedy if followed regularly helps in getting rid of cradle cap.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is special, recommended by AAFP ‘the American academy of family physicians’ to treat the problem of cradle cap.
There are various reasons for olive oil to be recommended. It has many antioxidants, which help in sanitizing, moisturizing and shielding the skin of humans. Moreover, it contains Vitamin A and E, which partakes in restoring the skin elasticity. Apart from natural antioxidants, olive oil has one more antioxidant called ‘hydroxytyrosol’, which infiltrate deeply into the skin without any barriers, thus moisturizes the skin from within.
Method 1: Direct Application of Olive Oil
- Extra virgin olive oil- 1 tsp
- Take few drops of extra virgin olive oil and apply it gently to your baby’s scalp.
- Spread the oil covering all the affected area by rubbing it gently, till the oil gets absorbed into the scalp.
- Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then with the help of a fine comb or toothbrush, comb your baby’s hair to loosen the cradle cap till the flakes start to shed.
- Then, wash your baby’s hair with a gentle shampoo, and allow it dry naturally.
- Repeat this process daily to remove the dead and dry flakes completely from the scalp.
Method 2: Warm Olive Oil
- Olive oil- 1-2 tsp
- Take 1-2 tsp of olive oil in a bowl and warm it for 2 minutes.
- Now, apply this warm oil on your baby’s scalp at night and massage gently.
- Leave the oil overnight and in the next day morning, take a soft cloth or brush to scrub the affected area of the scalp.
- This will help to get rid of cradle cap.
- Now, wash your child’s head with a baby shampoo.
- Repeat this process on a regular basis to treat cradle cap.
4. Calendula (Marigold)
Calendula or marigold has antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, as it contains flavonoids, which assist in providing great relief from the problem of cradle cap. It eases the irritated tissue and reduces the skin inflammation.
This herb contains some chemical, which helps to increase the blood circulation to the affected area, thus speeds up the healing process. Calendula not just only treats cradle cap, but also heals other skin ailments, such as ringworm, athlete’s foot etc. This remedy is very effective for treating cradle cap problem in adults as well.
- Calendula/marigold flowers- ½ cup (dried)
- Virgin olive oil- ¼ cup
- Take some fresh or dried calendula/ marigold flowers.
- Remove the petals and place it in a jar.
- Now, take some virgin olive oil and pour it on the petals.
- Keep aside this jar for at least 2 weeks.
- Then after the stipulated time, strain the oil and store it in another jar.
- This oil is ready to apply on your baby’s scalp.
- Take some oil from the jar and rub it gently on the affected area of your baby’s skin.
- Let it settle for 30-40 minutes.
- Take a soft-toothed comb or brush to comb to remove the loose dead skin cells of the area, which causes cradle cap.
- You can also use your fingers instead of a comb to remove the dead flakes.
- Finally, rinse your baby’s head with warm water.
- Repeat this application regularly to clear every dead skin or flakes from the baby’s scalp.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known as a ‘powerhouse’ as it contains many useful properties. Anti-microbial and antioxidant properties present in ACV helps to fight the fungal infection in both the adults and toddlers.
- Apple cider vinegar- 1 tbsp
- Water- 2 tbsp
- Dilute the apple cider vinegar with 1tbsp of vinegar and 2 tbsp of water, since ACV is acidic in nature.
- Mix it properly in a bowl, and use this mixture to apply on your baby’s scalp by massaging it gently.
- Let it settle for 10 minutes and then wash off your baby’s scalp with a mild shampoo.
- Adults can apply this solution to their affected area and massage it to remove the cradle cap.
- Repetition of this process helps to prevent the problem of cradle cap.
Note: be careful while applying it to your baby’s scalp as it may enter into your baby’s eyes. Also, it can be sensitive for some babies. In such a case you can dilute it with more water to avoid sensitivity or else avoid this remedy.
6. Breast Milk
Breast milk is one of the safest, effective and best remedies for your child. Nothing can be as safe and pure than mother’s milk.
This milk has various medicinal properties and benefits when given to a newborn child, but apart from this, it has the power to heal the problem of cradle cap if applied directly on the affected area.
- Breast milk- 2 tbsp
- Try to squeeze some milk from your breast in a small bowl.
- Apply this milk to your baby’s scalp by giving a gentle massage on the scalp at night.
- Leave it overnight, so that the thick crusts become soft.
- And next day morning, with the help of a soft brush, remove the dead flakes from the skin.
- Then wash your baby’s head with warm water or else can use a mild shampoo for washing.
- By repeating this process daily in the night will help to remove cradle cap completely.
Chamomile is a herb, which is safe and gentle for your child. It contains some astringent properties, which helps in curing the problem of cradle cap by inhibiting the overactive glands.
- Chamomile herb- 1 tsp
- Hot water- 1 cup
- Take 1 tsp of chamomile herb or a tea bag, and place it in an empty cup.
- Pour hot water over it and allow it to settle for 5-8 minutes by covering it.
- Then, remove the cover and allow it to cool naturally.
- Apply this tea on your baby’s scalp, and leave it for 10-20 minutes.
- This will provide a soothing effect to your baby’s skin and will also reduce itching.
- Finally, you can wash your baby’s head with plain warm water.
- Continue this process to get rid of the problem of cradle cap.
- You can also give this tea for your toddler to drink when it is lukewarm as it helps to treat the problem of cradle cap
8. Tea tree Oil to Treat Cradle Cap
The best-known home remedies for cradle cap are coconut oil, vaseline, olive oil or a certain baby shampoo. So, what else you think would be the best natural solution to your baby’s problem? Yes! It is tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is a wonderful home remedy idea to cure cradle cap. Here is how you can make the best use of tea tree oil in combination with almond oil to treat cradle cap.
Method 1: Tea Tree Oil with Almond Oil
- Tea tree oil- 1 part
- Almond oil- 10 parts
- Fine-toothed comb- 1
- Mix both the oils together and apply it over the affected part of the baby’s head.
- Let it stay on for about 15 minutes.
- Later, try to scrape away the flakes using a fine toothed sensitive comb.
Method 2: Tea Tree Oil with Olive Oil
- Tea tree oil- 4-5 tbsp
- Olive oil- 1 tbsp
- Mild baby shampoo- 1
- Mix both the tea tree oil and the olive oil.
- Apply it onto the baby’s head and massage it gently.
- Rinse it off after about 15 minutes using a mild baby shampoo to make your baby lose cradle cap.
Note:Tea tree Oil is basically a very much volatile one. So make sure that you are avoiding any kind of contact with the baby’s eyes, nose, and the mouth.
9. Jojoba Oil to Treat Cradle Cap
Jojoba Oil is the best remedy to be used to treat cradle cap because it provides a soothing effect. It gets absorbed and reaches the lower layers of the baby’s skin and makes it easy to remove the flakes of cradle cap.
It also produces a tremendous moisturizing effect.
- Jojoba oil- 6-7 drops
- Soft-toothed brush- 1
- Mild baby shampoo- 1
- Firstly, apply the jojoba oil to the baby’s scalp and massage it gently over.
- Allow it to stay on for about 2 hours of time so that it gets thoroughly absorbed.
- Now, take the soft-toothed brush and try removing the flakes of cradle cap. They tend to come out quickly as they are now softened.
- After repeating this for one time to twice, wash the baby’s head with the mild baby shampoo.
- This is a patience- requiring task. Repeat this process for about one time in every 2-3 days to find results against cradle cap.
10. Almond Oil to Cure Cradle Cap
Almond oil is generally considered to be the secure most oil to top a baby’s head. This is another very good home remedy to cure cradle cap.
- Almond oil – 8-10 drops
- Soft-toothed comb or soft washcloth- 1
- Damp your baby’s scalp with the almond oil.
- Massage it around for some time.
- Allow the flakes to get softened for a few minutes.
- Now, using the soft-toothed comb or a soft washcloth, try scraping out the softened flakes of cradle cap from your baby’s head.
11.Mineral Oil to Gently Reduce Cradle Cap
This is a very much natural and the best-known home remedy for cradle cap.
- Mineral oil- 8-10 drops
- Washcloth or soft-toothed brush-1
- Mild baby shampoo- 1
- Apply the mineral oil over to the baby’s head and let it stay for some time.
- Later, using the soft-toothed brush, scrape out the flakes.
- Another option is to use a soft washcloth.
- When you use a washcloth, make circular movements over the baby’s scalp. This would ease the process.
- Eventually, give your baby a nice bath using a mild baby shampoo.
12. Olive Oil as a Home Remedy to Treat Cradle Cap
Olive oil is also another wonderful home remedy to treat Cradle Cap. This too follows the similar procedure like the above ones.
- Olive oil- 8-10 drops
- Washcloth or soft-toothed brush-1
- Massage your infant’s scalp with the olive oil and let it stay on the scalp.
- After the softening of the scales, use the soft-toothed brush or the washcloth to wipe away the flakes of the cradle cap off your baby’s head.
13. Borage Oil to Get Rid of Cradle Cap
This is natural seed oil, which is majorly known to help in regaining the lost moisture. This helps in the softening of the crusts as well. It contains a fatty acid called gamma linolic acid, which is the prominent ingredient.
Borage oil works excellently in both the internal and external kinds of usages. It is also used to treat other skin diseases like those of eczema, atopic dermatitis, etc.
- Juice of borage leaves- 1 part
- Water- 1 part
- Mix both of the ingredients together in a single bowl.
- Stir them thoroughly till you attain a dilute solution.
- Now, apply this onto the affected part of the cradle cap with attention.
- Leave it on for some time and later, rinse it off with water.
- You can do this 2 times in a day till the cradle cap over the baby’s head is lost forever.
14. Baking Soda to Make Peace with Cradle Cap
Baking Soda is used to treat dry skin because of the intense chemical-less and natural anti-bacterial properties of it. The pH level of the scalp is also greatly maintained by its alkaline properties.
It gradually replaces the dry, scaly skin of the affected baby with a soft scaleless skin.
Method 1: Using Only Baking Soda
- Baking soda- 1 tsp
- Water- 1 tsp
- Mild baby shampoo-1
- Soft-toothed comb-1
- Mix the baking soda and the water in equal quantities as to form a nice, thick paste.
- Spread this paste over the affected scalp region thoroughly.
- Let it stay on for 2-5 minutes or till it dries.
- Later, using the soft-toothed comb, scrape away the flakes.
- In the end, use the mild baby shampoo and rinse everything off.
- Repeat doing this regularly until you completely get rid of the cradle cap problem.
Method 2: Using with Oil or Coconut Oil
- Baking soda- 1 tsp
- Olive or coconut oil- 2 tsp
- Mild baby shampoo-1
- Bring both the baking soda and the coconut or olive oil together.
- Make a fine rich paste of it.
- Apply this over the affected regions.
- Rinse it off using the mild baby shampoo.
- Do this regularly, to eventually get rid of the problem entirely.
Note: You should be careful while applying the mixture. Never ever apply only the baking soda to the kid’s scalp or skin as it may cause harm.
Method 3: Using Apple Cider Vinegar
- Baking soda- 1 tsp
- Apple cider vinegar- 2 tsp
- Mild baby shampoo-1
- Make a nice mixture of the apple cider vinegar and baking soda.
- Apply this mixture gently over the cradle cap-affected region of the scalp.
- Leave it on for a few minutes of time.
- Wash this with a mild baby shampoo.
- Regularly do this to attain effective results against cradle cap.
15. Petroleum Jelly to Reduce Cradle Cap
This is another easy form to lose those flaky things from your baby’s scalp. There have been ample opinions of people regarding this remedy to be the best and the easiest way to treat cradle cap since it is highly convenient and very much effective. This is one of the best and safest home remedies for cradle cap.
- Petroleum jelly- 1 pack
- Warm water- 1 cup
- Soft brush-1
- Soft towel-1
- Take a considerable quantity of the petroleum jelly onto your fingers and rub it on the affected part of the scalp of your kid.
- Now, gently massage it over the head and let it stay on for a couple of minutes.
- After it gets dry, wet the hair over the scalp using warm water.
- Now, take the soft brush to exfoliate your little one’s flakes off the scalp.
- Take the soft towel and pat the scalp all dry.
- Continue doing this for about 3-5 times in a week till you experience a relief from the problem as a whole.
16. Burdock Root to Cure Cradle Cap
The root of burdock is basically of the same nature as that of chamomile since this also contains astringent properties. It restricts the glandular secretions of the glands and hence the sebum production gets controlled.
Method 1: Using Burdock Root only
- Fresh chopped burdock root- 2 tbsp
- Water- 3 cups
- Take a fresh burdock root and clean it thoroughly.
- If you find the root to be an older one, use a knife and scrape out its edges.
- You can just use a cloth to clean if the root is a younger one.
- Now chop this root into 2 tbsp of the quantity.
- Take a pot, fill it with water and drop these pieces into it.
- Maintain it over a heat source to bring it to a boil.
- Simmer it for about 30 minutes by placing it over a low flame.
- Later, put the heat off and allow it to steep slowly, as it gets cooled down.
- Eventually, use this tea as a medicine for the cradle cap over your baby’s head.
- After the completion of the usual bathing process, wash your kid’s head with this tea to find astounding results against cradle cap.
Method 2: Using Dried Burdock Root
- Dried burdock root- 1 tbsp
- Hot water- 1 cup
- Take a cup of hot water and drop the dried burdock root into it.
- Let it stay to get cooled down. It will steep together as well.
- Make use of this tea to wash your baby’s head.
- Repeat this process properly regularized to find best results against cradle cap.
17. Homemade Scalp Oil to Heal Cradle Cap
This oil is to be prepared at home by taking the base to be olive oil. The properties of olive oil in being a great treatment to cradle cap have already been discussed.
On the other hand, you can choose any mineral oil from rosemary, lavender, basil, etc., which predominantly possess anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial properties, etc.
- Olive oil- 2 cups
- Any essential/ mineral oil- 5 drops
- Mild baby shampoo (preferably the one containing calendula)-1
- Soft washcloth-1
- Mix the olive oil and the essential oil that you have chosen together.
- Store this oil in a container or a bottle.
- Before going to bed, apply this oil over to your baby’s scalp.
- Let it stay on overnight.
- Rinse it off the next morning using the mild baby shampoo containing calendula.
- Keep repeating this process every night till you find a great lot of difference in the condition of your kid’s scalp.
18. The Herb of Viola to Cure Cradle Cap:
This herb is a tonic herb belonging to the family of the violets. This possesses a nature of anti-oxidant and anti-microbial ones. Also, every part of this herb ranging from its root, leaf, flower, etc is used for medicinal purposes.
- Viola tricolor’s tincture of the whole plant- 2-5 drops
- Take the whole plant tincture of the viola tricolor or pansy and let your child have it for about 2 weeks.
- It is important to consult the medical herbalist to know the exact dosage of this to be given to your child.
- Just go on with this till you find that the cradle cap of gone from your child’s head.
Note: It is very much required to make sure that this herb is taken under the supervision of an expert since some are allergic to it. In such cases, it may cause the problems of nervousness, high blood pressure, irregularities in breathing, etc.
Remember to Do these:
Here are some points which you should always remember while dealing with cradle cap
- Do make sure that the soft-toothed comb that you will be using in all of these remedies has soft bristles. If not, it can hurt the delicate scalp of the baby.
- If you find a few red patches on the baby’s scalp or diarrhea-related problems after the usage of any remedy, consult a doctor immediately.
- Wash the hair and the scalp regularly and thoroughly to ensure that any traces of the soap are completely gone.
- It is advised to have a humidifier in the room of the baby to have a moist environment all around.
- To wash the skin and remove the irritation from their eyes, use a mild baby shampoo.
- Before using anti-dandruff shampoos or medicated shampoos, consult a doctor.
Remember NOT to DO these:
Avoid the following given points to treat the cradle cap instantly
- NEVER rinse the scalp with a too much of frequency as it can lead to itchiness.
- Also, NEVER use tweezers or any other sharp objects to scrape out the flakes.
Tips for Preventing and Treating the Problem of Cradle Cap
These tips will help you further to treat and prevent your baby’s cradle cap naturally.
- Regularly massaging your baby’s hair while shampooing will help to remove cradle cap.
- Always use a soft or fine toothbrush, or comb while combing your baby’s hair, as hard tools can damage your baby’s skin.
- Use an anti-dandruff shampoo, which is mild on your baby’s scalp. It also contains less sulfur, which helps to get rid of the dead flakes.
- Always put baby oil or almond oil on your baby’s head regularly to avoid dryness of the skin.
- Regularly apply petroleum jelly on your child’s scalp as it helps in moisturizing the skin which prevents cradle cap.
- Before shampooing your baby’s hair, always apply mineral oil, which helps to get rid of the problem.
- Use Mustela shampoo for washing your child’s hair as it helps in curing cradle cap.
- Humidifying your homes helps your baby’s skin to become moist and soft.
- Always remember to exert very little pressure while you are scraping out the crusts.
- Make sure that you are moistening you baby’s head after every bath.
- Do not use fabrics with any traces of polyester, which can increase the itchiness and irritation to the baby.
- Make use of very soft fabrics to prepare the bedding of your little one.
- Consult a doctor if you baby’s age is more than 3 months.
- Make sure you are not letting the oil stay on the baby’s head for too many days as well.
- Once your baby is away from the cradle cap problem, give special focus to moisturizing the head frequently after baths and also brush it. This can avoid any other crust formation and their hardening beforehand.
- If the cradle cap is severe, then use hydrocortisone cream on your baby’s scalp once in a while, which helps to treat the problem of cradle cap. It is very effective, but also contains a steroid, so before using it consult a pediatrician.
These are the best and safest home remedies for cradle cap. Further, tips are also very efficient in treating your child’s cradle cap problem. Sometimes, it takes the time to heal, so don’t hurry or get tensed as cradle cap problem is not harmful to your child. It is a matter of concern only when it shows the sign of infection or seems severe. In this case, consult a pediatrician immediately as it may lead to some serious health conditions.