Baby Cradle Cap – Causes and How to Get Rid of Themby Elizabeth MacDonald
Cradle cap is typically no big deal. I’ll give you plenty of natural ways to treat and eliminate it with your newborn. My beef comes in because my EIGHT YEAR OLD still has it! Granted, it’s not horrible, but it is still present. As a baby, it would come and go, but we just dealt with it and moved on. More recently though, I realized, when braiding her hair, that she will deal with “dandruff” forever unless I start my research. So a digging I have gone. I’m going to start with infant cradle cap – because, honestly, most of you are here to read about that. I’ll follow with childhood “cradle crap”, just in case, I’m not the only one still dealing with it!
Cradle Cap in InfancyLet’s talk about what causes cradle cap first. Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap likely caused by the overproduction of the oil glands in the skin of the scalp. It mostly appears in first three months of new born baby. It not only attacks sensitive scalp of the baby, but also eyebrows, eyelids, and area around ears. The glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which cakes on the skin. The good news is that while it may be unsightly, it's usually not irritating or bothersome to babies. This is the most common form of cradle cap. Symptoms Include:
- Greasy patches
- Yellowish or whitish scales
- Thick and crusty flakes
- Red and irritating skin
- Patchy skin flakes (dandruff)
- Infants may undergo hair loss
- Hormones passed from mother to baby
- Antibiotics given to mother before the birth of the baby.
- Antifungal treatments
- Overstimulation of oil glands of baby
- Extreme weather
- Certain baby lotions, which include alcohol or other chemicals
- Irregular skin cleaning
- Oily skin
- Skin disorders
- Food allergies
- Growth of yeast in the digestive tract
Natural OilsMany natural, plant-based oils can work wonders on your baby’s cradle cap. Try massaging coconut, olive, almond, or grapeseed oil onto your child’s scalp, then gently scrape away the flakes. The oils will help loosen the flakes so that they are easily removed, as well as moisturize your baby’s skin. Almond oil is safe for treating cradle cap. Due to its light texture, almond oil penetrates into the skin quickly. When massaged directly into the scalp, it can help soften the scales and make it easier to rinse them out after shampooing.
- Combine almond oil and tea tree oil in a ratio of 10:1 and stir it well.
- Apply it on your baby’s head.
- Leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Remove the oily flakes gently with a soft baby brush.
- Use a baby shampoo to wash your baby’s hair.
- Repeat daily or every other day to get rid of cradle cap.
- Put a small amount of organic, solid coconut oil in the palm of your hand.
- Rub the oil in your palm until it becomes liquid form.
- Gently massage this liquid oil into the scalp or affected areas.
- Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
- Use a soft brush to gently remove the loose flakes.
- Do this once daily until you are satisfied with the result.
- Slightly warm a small amount of olive oil.
- Gently massage the oil into your baby’s scalp at bedtime.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, use a soft baby brush or cloth to gently remove any loose particles.
- Wash your baby’s hair with baby shampoo and warm water.
- Repeat daily or every other day, depending upon the severity of the condition.
CalendulaCalendula is a plant that has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, both of which will help ease your child’s cradle cap symptoms. Look for calendula cream – it will contain the healing properties of the calendula, in an easy-to-apply, moisturizing cream.
Vinegar BlendBlend one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water, and gently massage it onto your baby’s problem areas, prior to bath time. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse off in the bath. The vinegar will help prevent buildup of dead skin, which is what makes up the flakes/scales on your baby’s scalp.
Cradle Cap in ChildhoodPiggy-backing off of the above, children with dandruff or cradle cap that continues to be a bother typically have a food sensitivity that has yet to be uncovered. You can apply oil and scrap the head to help, but it will continue to come back until you have eliminated the underlying cause of the problem. You may notice tiny bumps on the back of the bicep area, dry patches of skin randomly on the body, or nothing other than the flaky dried skin on the scalp. All are signs that something in the body is off. Symptoms that can last into adulthood if not treated:
- Formation of dandruff
- Mild patches start developing on the scalp and face
- Itchy scales or patches
- Rashes start developing in oval or round patches
- Yellow or brown thick crust on patches
- Red rashes or sores on neck, face, groins, and armpits
- Avoid frequent shampooing
- Use a good natural shampoo with no chemicals
- Use a gentle exfoliator, i.e., baby combs with soft bristles
- Apply oil before shampooing
- Do not comb scaly skin with force
- Stick to breastfeeding if the child is still wanting to nurse
- Use a humidifier in the baby (or child’s) room to maintain a moist environment
- Rinse properly to remove traces of soap
- Use your fingers or clean washcloth on baby’s scalp while shampooing
- Use natural oils for massage