Cradle cap is a common condition of the skin that occurs in babies. It appears as snowy flakes of skin on the scalp of the head, very similar to the dandruff adults. It can be associated in some children with patchy hair loss, itching, inflammation, redness and even some infections. Medically termed as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, the condition is primarily caused due to the over secretion of oil glands in the skin that facilitates the clogging of the pores in the skin with dead cells. This can occur due to reasons like the passing on of the mother’s hormones to the baby, Malassezia yeast infection, improper hygiene, and some nutritional deficiencies.
15 Must Try Cradle Cap Home Remedies for Babies
Below listed are some of the effective home remedies that you can try at home to counter cradle cap in small babies. All these home remedies can be applied and washed off with some mild baby shampoo or with special shampoos prescribed by the paediatrician for cradle cap.
- Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil has always been used as an antifungal and antibacterial agent for small bruises. It is very effective in countering the infections occurring in babies with cradle cap. It is very easily available and also functions as a good moisturizer to the scalp. Take a couple of drops of coconut oil in hand and warm it by rubbing between your palms. Now, apply the oil on the areas of the baby that are affected and massage gently. Let it rest for about twenty minutes and brush off any flakes of scalp tissue that may have got dislodged during the massage. After twenty minutes, wash off the oil with lukewarm water and shampoo.
- Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar works by reducing the dryness of the scalp. Mix two portions of apple cider vinegar with one portion of water to dilute it. Apply this mixture on the scalp and leave it for about fifteen minutes. Wash off the liquid from the hair with warm water and repeat it twice in a week. Make sure it does not get into the baby’s eyes.
Vaseline or any purified petroleum jelly helps in maintaining the moisture of the skin and prevents it from becoming dry. It also helps in removing the dead skin from the head. You can take a spoonful of Vaseline and apply it over the scalp and leave it overnight. The next day, wash it with water and apply some mild shampoo to rinse off the jelly.
- Olive Oil:
Olive oil is one of the best oils especially for the skin as it contains a vitamin E. The vitamin E in olive oil nurtures the skin and protects it from infections. Apply a few teaspoons of olive oil and gently massage the scalp with it. Let it rest for a few hours or even overnight and rinse off with a mild shampoo to get a nourished scalp. It is one of the best natural remedies for cradle cap in infants.
- Baking Soda:
Although baking soda sounds like a very strong substance for babies, it helps in treating cradle cap by absorbing the excess oil that is responsible for clogging the pores. Apply a diluted mixture of baking soda in water over the scalp and wash it off after fifteen minutes. The alkaline pH of the soda neutralizes the pH on the scalp and makes it easy to remove the flakes from the scalp. This remedy, however, is preferred more for toddlers as opposed to infants.
- Tea Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil available in select drug stores is a popular anti-acne medicine used by adults. Using the same principle, it works for cradle cap in babies also, by controlling the excess secretion of oil glands. To use tea tree oil, mix it in the ratio of 1:10 with almond oil and use the diluted tea tree oil on the scalp by gently massaging it. Leave it for absorption for about twenty minutes and wash it off with baby shampoo.
- Vegetable Oil:
Any vegetable or mineral oil available in the market is also a good remedy for cradle cap. It can be used to soothe the skin of the baby and loosen the scale formation. It can be applied and left for about two hours for soaking, before washing with safe baby shampoo.
- Shea Butter:
Shea butter available in the market is a great moisturizer and also soothes the infected skin. Apply a generous portion of shea butter on the scalp of the baby. Allow it to act on the scalp and slowly scrub off the flaky layer from the skin using a soft brush. You can mildly wipe off the cream with a soft cloth or wash it off with water.
- Baby Brush:
Many baby brushes are available in the market that has soft and flexible bristles. Comb the scalp with a baby brush at regular intervals to even out the skin and remove the dead skin. This not only helps in maintaining hygiene but also prevents further blocking of pores in the scalp.
- Avocado Oil:
Avocado is known for its nutritional value, and the oil extracted from the fruit is loaded with essential chemicals that effectively fight fungal infections. Dilute avocado oil in ten portions of tea tree oil and prepare a mixture to apply to the scalp. Let it rest for roughly fifteen minutes and rinse it off with a safe shampoo. Care should be taken to avoid any contact with eyes.
- Breast Milk:
Breast milk is the magic potion that is filled with all kinds of nutrients and antibodies. It is well known that it is critical for the growth and immunity of a newborn baby. However, it has been used for a long time as a home remedy for cradle cap also. A small amount of breast milk can be applied to the head to soothe and calm the sensitive skin. It is harmless to the baby’s skin and can stay for even longer periods of time.
- Medicated Baby Shampoo:
Some mild baby shampoos that have anti-fungal action are available over the counter in several drug stores. You can dilute it and use it to wash your baby’s scalp every day or once in two days to clean the surface. Shampooing removes the dead cells and also prepares the surface to remove any fungal infections.
- Almond Oil:
Almond oil is another important oil that is rich in vitamin E. It is generally suggested as a home remedy for healthy skin, and it works very well for cradle cap too. Almond oil should be applied to the infected sections of the scalp and massaged. After allowing it to act for some time, you can wipe it off with a wet cotton cloth.
Calendula is a herb that is known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Calendula cream can be applied in areas of severe infection. It is a completely safe and herbal solution to cradle cap and is available in the market as well. Although it works wonders on cradle cap, the only downside of this remedy is that these creams are slightly expensive.
- Aloe Vera:
Aloe Vera has a cooling effect on the body and is incorporated in many medicinal preparations used for skin infections. Aloe vera gel can be freshly prepared from the cuttings of a plant and processed to apply on the head. Due to its cooling effect, it must be used with caution on babies. The gel can be left on for a few minutes to ease the inflammation.
Cradle cap is a common condition among infants and can be easily cured with natural home remedies. You can consult your paediatrician if the condition does not subside. Maintaining a good level of hygiene and using a humidifier can greatly help in preventing the occurrence of cradle cap.