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10 Ways to Prevent and Treat Cradle Cap

Bring On the Oil

Although the shampooing covered on the previous few pages has proven effective, there is no perfect or single cure for cradle cap. The good news is that throughout the generations of dealing with this skin condition, parents have discovered several other remedies that appear to work for many babies.

For instance, some oils, such as mineral oil, olive oil, or petroleum jelly, may help get rid of cradle cap. If you're worried about using medicated shampoo on a baby's sensitive skin, this might be a good alternative. And, incidentally, many adults similarly treat their hair with olive oil to make it softer and silkier, so this isn't that out of the ordinary.

However, recommendations for how long to soak the baby's scalp with such oils before washing it out vary widely. The Mayo Clinic, for instance, recommends only a few minutes, and the National Institutes of Health say up to an hour, while the South Australian Children, Youth and Women's Health Service says to leave it on as long as several hours -- even overnight [sources: Mayo Clinic; National Institutes of Health; Children, Youth and Women's Health Service].

However long you choose, wipe the oils off with a washcloth and gently brush the scales. This may be all you need to do, but some sources also recommend shampooing the baby's scalp after treating it with oil.