Cradle Cap

At first I thought that Frances had gotten makeup foundation on her forehead from rubbing back-and-forth on my cheek, but it wouldn’t wipe off.  Then I tried scraping it lightly with my fingernail, and the skin flaked off.  I looked a little closer and her whole scalp looked a little yellow.  I hadn’t really noticed before, because she has so much hair, but there is definitely something going on.  My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed her trying to scratch her head when she wakes up (which is adorable and a little sad at the same time).

I have read about cradle cap, so I figure that’s what it is.  I looked up images online and if it is cradle cap, it’s a mild case.  Nothing worth seeing a doctor over.  A lot of websites say to use a brush or washcloth to scrape off the scales.  Is it really necessary to remove the scales in order for it to go away?

Joy posted back in 2008 about using baking soda to treat it and I’m going to give that a try.  I’d like to avoid using dandruff shampoo, and there are a bunch of products out there, but I don’t know which one to try.  If you have any other tips for treating and preventing cradle cap, I’d love to hear it!


  1. Both my kids had/have cradle cap. With my son I bought some of the mustela cradle cap cream- it never really worked that well and he had minor cradle cap til about 2 I’d say- I just brushed the flakes out when needed and ignore it otherwise as it didn’t seem to bother him. My 10 month old girl has it worse than he does- I’ve been using Burt’s Bees baby oil on a cotton swab to put on her head- let it sit for a while then brush or comb until most of the flakes are gone. Only problem now is that she won’t sit still long enough for me to brush/comb for that long! I think as long as it’s really not bugging them too much it’s no big deal!

  2. I’d forgotten- Liam had it bad! He didn’t have much hair though. I used olive oil- rubbed it in and let it sit, then used a fine tooth comb to kind of gently scrape and lift the scales. He never seemed to mind and it was almost therapeutic for me!

  3. Olive oil works like a charm! Just rub it on and let it soak in for about 10 minutes or so before bath time. Then during the bath, gently scrub with a washcloth. If you can use a comb to come it backwards (from the forehead toward the back of the head), this gets a lot of it off too. Do it every day or every few days until it’s gone. (And you could do it not around bath time too.) I did this several times with my baby boy and it worked wonderfully. He even loved the gentle scalp massage!

  4. The baking soda made all the bits of loose skin really noticeable and easy to scrape out. I like the idea of using oil to keep the skin healthy now that the cradle cap seems more under control. In stead of using a comb, I used a nail scrubber and scrubbed in all directions. She seems to enjoy it.

    Thanks for all the good advice!

  5. I enjoy your blog very much and the personable way you write. When i read your cradle cap post, I remembered my tot had it too – it was all over her head and we went to the doctor (being first time parents 🙂

    He suggested olive oil (like all the other tips). But we found olive oil absorbed too fast into her skin for us to work it off.

    Finally the best respite? Shave the darlings head. Then coat with baby oil (mineral based) and after a few minutes, give her scalp a finger massage, then bath. Its better to work all dead skin off gently for faster healing. That worked really well. And her hair grew back thicker and even after the shave, which was great!

  6. Shao, the thought crossed my mind that shaving Franci’s head would make it easier to see the cradle cap. It got better before it came to that, thank goodness, but I’m glad to know that’s a viable option for a bad case of it!

  7. I used olive oil and it worked.

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