Cradle Cap

Cradle Cap Treatment

Until your baby's cradle cap goes away, there are some simple ways to manage the condition from the comfort of your own home.

The simplest way to control cradle cap is to wash his or her hair more often. Before shampooing your baby's hair, you may want to gently rub mineral oil, baby oil or petroleum jelly on the scalp to loosen and lift the crusts and flakes. The oil will help loosen the scales so they wash off more easily. Then, wet your baby's scalp and use a small, soft brush to gently remove the patches of scales. Finally, shampoo your baby's hair with a gentle shampoo and carefully dry the head with a towel. These steps help wash off the dry scales and keep the production of scalp oil down. Don't shampoo too often, though -- too much shampooing can dry your baby's head out and cause more oil production.

If a home routine doesn't seem to control the cradle cap, ask your doctor for advice. He or she could prescribe a specially medicated baby shampoo. These products contain ingredients (like ketoconazole and selenium) that treat cradle cap and can help dissolve the scales. Unfortunately, these ingredients can irritate a baby's skin, so discuss their usage with your doctor. He or she might need to prescribe a hydrocortisone cream to ease any redness and dryness that may occur.

In rare cases, your baby may develop a yeast infection if the area becomes severely agitated. If your baby appears uncomfortable and the skin is red and itchy, contact your pediatrician or dermatologist. He or she may prescribe an anti-fungal cream to the area to treat the infection.

Even though there's a chance you and your baby will have to go to the doctor, it's unlikely that you will. Cradle cap is an easy disorder to treat. When you're a parent, cradle cap should be the last thing on your mind. And with these simple tips, cradle cap it can be. Remember not to panic; simply put a lid on that cradle cap.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


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  • BabyCenter. "Cradle Cap." (Accessed 8/20/09).
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  • ParentTime. "Cradle Cap Skin Rash Causes, Treatments, Home Remedies for Babies." (Accessed 8/20/09).
  • Web MD. "Cradle Cap." (Accessed 8/20/09).