Try Shampoo with a Kick to It
Soapy baby in bath

If your baby's cradle cap is bad enough for you to try a medicated shampoo, be sure you don't use an adult-strength formula.

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So what to do when cradle cap has already started to plague that tender baby skin? If baby shampoo doesn't do the trick, you may want to move on to the medicated kind. Even though cradle cap is basically the dandruff, it's not the best idea to buy an adult anti-dandruff shampoo to use on a baby -- it will be too harsh on an infant's sensitive skin. The good news is that shampoos for cradle cap do exist, although you should probably consult a doctor before using one. If you can't find any in your local drugstore, you can order them online.

These shampoos are effective against cradle cap because they use one or more of these active ingredients [source: National Institutes of Health]:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Coal tar
  • Zinc
  • Resocin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Selenium
  • Corticosteroids

Those last three ingredients pack a powerful punch, and you might need a prescription to get them. (We'll talk more about them later.)