*This post may contain affiliate links, please see full disclosure for details.
It was probably a month after my son was born that he started to get these white and flaky patches on the crown of his head. I wasn’t familiar with what cradle cap was and thought it was just dry skin. But, it wasn’t going away when I put lotion on it. So I started to do my research. Another name for Cradle Cap is Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Symptoms of Cradle Cap:
“Common signs of cradle cap include:
- Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
- Oily or dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
- Skin flakes
- Possibly mild redness
Similar scales may also be present on the ears, eyelids, nose, and groin. Cradle cap is common in newborns. It usually isn’t itchy. Cradle cap is the common term for infantile seborrheic dermatitis.”
The cause is unknown, but contributing factors seem to be linked to hormones or yeast that cause too much oil production in the oil glands and hair follicles.
It is a myth that Cradle Cap is caused by poor hygiene. That is NOT the case and don’t feel like you did or did not do something right if it appears! (That’s how I felt when I thought it was dry skin like maybe I wasn’t putting lotion on him after his bath like I was supposed to!)
Treatments for Cradle Cap
1. Wash Baby’s Hair every day:
Mayoclinic.org suggests washing your baby’s hair every day with a mild shampoo until the scales are gone. Once they are gone, wash baby’s hair every two to three days to keep the scales from building back up.
I recommend Aveeno baby shampoo! We use Aveeno products for body wash, shampoo, and lotion. My son has sensitive skin and it is so gentle. I also love ordering this kind with the pump so it’s easier to wrangle baby with one hand and get the shampoo with the other. Ahh, sometimes it’s the small things that make life easier.
Click Here to Buy Aveeno Baby Shampoo
2. Hydrate Baby’s Scalp with Baby Oil
If the Cradle Cap is pretty thick, apply mineral oil/baby oil to the scalp a few hours before baby gets his/her bath. This helps to loosen up the flakes after you wash it, so you are then able to brush it out with a soft brush. Speaking of soft brushes, Frida Baby makes a brush specifically for brushing out cradle cap!
Click Here to Buy Mineral Baby Oil
Click Here to Buy Baby Brush By FridaBaby
3. Hydrate Baby’s Scalp with Vaseline
Another treatment is gently rubbing Vaseline on baby’s scalp with a soft washcloth. This is the treatment I used for a while, I would do it once a week. I would let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, I would take a comb and brush out the flakes.
Afterward, I would bathe him and try to wash the Vaseline out as best I could. But it ended up giving him greasy hair for days. It was awful. The vaseline did get rid of the cradle cap, but only for a week or two. It just kept coming back! However, some cases are more stubborn than others. This may work great for your baby!
Click Here to Buy Vaseline
Click Here to Buy Soft, Baby Washcloths
4. Talk to Your Pediatrician about OTC Treatments
Our pediatrician told us that my son’s cradle cap was harmless but would probably keep coming back until treated. She recommended Selsun Blue or Neutrogena T gel. My son was over a year old at this point, I had been using methods 1-3 listed above, up until this point.
Click Here to Buy Selsun Blue
Click Here to Buy Neutrogena T-Gel
Our pediatrician said to be careful not to get either in his eyes or mouth. I went to Publix and grabbed the T gel because it’s what I found first out of the two. Very strategic, I know.
The T-Gel smell is STRONG. Even after you wash it out. The smell lingers for at least a day when you smell your baby’s head.
Since our pediatrician told me to not let it get in his eyes or mouth, it made me really paranoid about it. I am probably wayyy overly cautious when I use it. I’ve listed what I do for the other over-protective Mama’s!
Washing Baby’s Hair with Neutrogena T-Gel
Put the Neutrogena T-Gel on the crown of your little one’s head or everywhere the cradle cap is.
Next, wash your little one’s body while the gel is on their scalp allowing the gel to sit on their scalp for 5 to 10 minutes.
Drain the bathwater before you rinse the gel out of their hair. This is probably not necessary but my baby has very sensitive skin. I didn’t want to rinse the gel out of his hair and have it mixed in with his bathwater that he was laying in.
I cover him with a warm rag so his body won’t be cold. Then, I rinse his scalp under the sink or tub faucet. You could also just rinse it using cups of water. This way you are rinsing your baby’s head and allowing the water to go down the drain instead of into the bathwater they are sitting in!
It works! I used it once a week and it was cleared up after 2 or 3 uses anddddd it didn’t come back for a long time! The T-Gel kept it away for over a year. I saw a few spots come back and pulled the Gel back out to do a few more treatments. Again, it only took washing his hair with the gel, once a week, for 2 to 3 weeks to get rid of the cradle cap!
Overall thoughts on Treating Cradle Cap
Thankfully, Cradle Cap isn’t a big deal and most cases will eventually go away on their own. It is comforting that it wasn’t painful or itchy for my son. It didn’t seem to phase him. I could have completely left it alone and he would have been fine.
Just to be safe, tell your pediatrician about it to be certain that it is cradle cap and not eczema, which can look very similar. Eczema CAN be itchy, so you want to rule that out!
Also, be sure to get the okay from your doctor before using the Selsun Blue or T-Gel. Baby’s skin is so sensitive that you always want to be careful before using new products.
For other mama tips, check out some of my other blog posts!
Follow Me on Pinterest ♥