How to get rid of cradle cap

How to get rid of cradle cap

Cradle cap is an extremely common condition in babies. However, that doesn’t stop parents from worrying when it appears on their little one’s skin. 

This article will teach you everything you need to know about cradle cap. It will also show you various methods of how to get rid of cradle cap and what you can do to prevent it. 

What is cradle cap? 

Cradle cap is a common skin condition that affects newborns and babies. 

Much like dandruff, which affects around half of all adults, cradle cap often appears on the scalp of infants. Luckily, it is completely harmless. Plus, there are lots of simple cradle cap treatment interventions that you can explore. Even if you choose not to do anything, the condition should clear away on its own. 

cradle cap

When does cradle cap occur? 

Cradle cap usually appears within the first 3 months of life. By the time the baby turns one, it will usually have gone away completely. 

In very rare cases, children over the age of one may get cradle cap. This becomes less and less likely as they grow older. There have been no recorded cases of cradle cap in children over the age of 4. 

It is more common in summer when the baby’s sebaceous glands are more active. It can also be a recurrent problem, occurring repeatedly over multiple weeks. 

How do you know you are dealing with cradle cap? 

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of cradle cap: 

  • The appearance of yellow or white flakes or scales on the skin
  • A yellow crust on the surface of the scales
  • Mild redness that is not itchy
  • Scales that may look greasy

Keep in mind that cradle cap does not only occur on the head. It can also spread to other areas of the baby’s body, including the eyebrows, nose, and neck, and other areas with folds of skin like the armpits and the diaper area. 

What causes cradle cap?

No one is completely sure about what causes cradle cap. Several studies have shown that multiple factors may be in play, including weather conditions, nutrition, hormone levels, and fungal infections. 

Some experts also believe that the rough patches show up when your baby’s oil glands produce more oil than they need to. This extra oil causes dead skin cells to stick to the scalp, causing cradle cap. 

Cradle cap is, however, not a sign of an allergic reaction. 

Is cradle cap itchy? 

Cradle cap does not hurt, burn, or itch. It also doesn’t pose any serious danger to your little one’s health. The biggest issue with it is that it does not look good on your baby’s skin. 

Should you wait for cradle cap to disappear by itself? 

Sometimes, cradle cap can go away on its own without needing any special intervention from you. Cradle cap that is left to disappear on its own will usually not come back again. It may take a few days or a few weeks for it to disappear completely. 

However, a lot of times, when you do not intervene, the cradle cap becomes harder and heavier with time, forming a thick shell on your baby’s head. Therefore, if you have been looking for a cradle cap cure, early intervention is the key. 

How to get rid of cradle cap

Here are a few things you can do to get rid of cradle cap: 

  • Wash your baby’s hair regularly. You can loosen some of the flakes gently with a soft brush
  • Rub baby oil or olive oil on the affected areas to soften the crusts before washing them away
  • You can also use baby oil or petroleum jelly overnight to soften the crusts and wash the baby’s hair with shampoo in the morning
  • Dry their hair and skin thoroughly after every wash with a dry towel

Here are a few things you should not do: 

  • Do not pick at the crusts with your hands as this can break the skin and lead to infections
  • While most vegetable oils are OK to use on cradle cap, you should avoid using peanut oil because of the potential allergy risks
  • Do not use strong adult shampoos on your baby’s hair

cradle cap treatment

As you can see, most of these treatments involve adding a few extra steps to your baby’s bath time routine. For the sake of consistency, invest in a comfortable, durable, baby travel bathtub that you can always take with you no matter where you go. It’ll make those baths fun for both of you. You might also want to add a bit of luxury to your bath sessions with this soft and fluffy baby wash mitt

cradle cap brush

When should you see a GP for cradle cap? 

If after a few weeks of consistent home remedies the cradle cap still shows no signs of disappearing, consider consulting your GP. They will prescribe a stronger cream for it. 

Here are a few more reasons to see a doctor: 

  • If the cradle cap spreads all over your baby’s body
  • If the crusts start to bleed or leak fluid
  • If the affected areas start to look swollen
  • If the affected areas feel warm to the touch
  • If the affected areas smell unpleasant
  • If the cradle cap is making your baby uncomfortable or causing pain

These could be signs of infection or a more serious condition.  

Final Thoughts

Cradle cap is a very common condition that affects babies. Luckily, it does not itch or bother the baby in any way. However, it can spread to other areas of the body beyond the scalp. 

While it does not usually require treatment, there are several home remedies you can use to make it go away faster. If these home cradle cap treatments prove ineffective, or if you think your little one has an infection, consult your GP about it. 

Finally, keep in mind that the information in this text is not intended to be medical advice. Therefore, do not treat it as such. Be sure to consult your doctor as needed. 


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