Cradle cap is kind of like baby dandruff but with a medical name “seborrheic dermatitis”. If your baby has crusty patches on her scalp, she probably has a case of cradle cap. This is a common condition in newborns and up to 3 years old so there is no cause for worry. Furthermore, it isn’t painful or itchy, just kind of icky.

What Causes Cradle Cap?

The causes of cradle cap is actually not known. Some say that hormones from the mother are responsible for the baby’s over-production of oil in the oil glands of a baby’s hair follicles. Other say it is a kind of yeast infection.


  • Patchy and crusty scales on scalp
  • Oily or dry skin covered with yellowish or brownish scales on scalp
  • Mild redness on affected area
  • Similar scales on ears, eyelids, nose, or groin

How To Treat Cradle Cap

Cradle cap isn’t a serious concern; it is more of an aesthetic issue. So, there is usually no need to go to a doctor. Furthermore, the condition usually clears up on its own in a few months. However, in the meantime, you can do the following:

  • Massage: You can help remove those flaky scales by gently massaging your baby’s scalp until the scales come off the scalp
  • Natural oil: If you apply natural oil during this process of massage and leave it on for 15-20 minutes, the flakes will soften and come off more easily.
  • Shampoo: For the least hassle and mild cases, regular use of shampoo will suffice.
  • Brush: Gently comb your baby’s hair thoroughly to remove the dry skin from her scalp.

However, if you baby has a serious case of this condition, you should contact your baby’s doctor. Your baby’s doctor might recommend dandruff shampoo with 2% anti-fungal ketoconazole. Alternatively, hydrocortisone cream is also helpful to reduce redness and inflammation. However, please consult your doctor first as these substances should be used with care.

How To Prevent Cradle Cap

Although, there is no exact prevention method, some of these might just do the trick. Firstly, wash your baby’s hair with shampoo at least 3 times a week to prevent cradle cap. In this case, use mild baby shampoo, there is no need for dandruff shampoo just yet. Alternatively, you can give your baby a scalp massage with coconut oil once a week. After the massage, leave the oil on for a couple of minutes before you wash it off with shampoo. This will keep your baby’s scalp healthy and nourished.


Since cradle cap is a slippery condition, you might want to notice how long your baby has had cradle cap. Also, take note of what treatments you’ve done and how effective it is. For example, how often do you shampoo your baby’s hair? What products do you use? These questions might be helpful if your baby’s cradle cap comes back, since the treatment is targeted to the symptoms not the causes. Furthermore, if your baby’s condition worsens, you need to be able to answer these questions to her doctor.

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