Does your infant often have greasy or patchy skin on the head with visible thick crusty flakes? Such a condition is called as cradle cap (infantile seborrheic dermatitis), which is often followed by red, itchy and irritating scalp and hair loss in infants. Besides scalp, it can even occur on other parts of the body and can affect infants, toddlers and adults. Adults face a similar kind of condition – formation of dandruff along with scaly and patchy skin on the scalp followed by red sores on the face, neck, groins and armpits. Although it’s neither very critical nor contagious problem in infants and can be healed naturally, yet one can adopt some measures to treat the flaky scalp. Read this article to know some of the effectual home remedies that one can use to get rid of cradle cap.
Home Remedies for Cradle Cap
1. Remove Scaly Skin
Run your hand through the child’s hair and remove the scaly and patchy skin with the help of your fingers. Peel, scrape and discard the dead skin from head gently.
2. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
Apply some Vaseline petroleum jelly over the affected area and leave it overnight. It will soften the flakes while you are asleep. Wash off with a mild shampoo in the morning. Wipe off the baby skin with a soft towel.
3. Shea Butter
Apply some shea butter onto the affected area and leave it for 20 minutes. Wash off the baby’s head with some mild baby shampoo and warm water. Wipe off the area gently with a soft towel afterwards.
4. Mineral Oil
Apply some mineral/vegetable oil over the affected area and leave it there for some time. Wash off the head after 2 hours and wipe it with a soft washcloth in slow circular movements. This remedy will help remove the extra flakes from the head.
5. Coconut Oil
Apply some coconut oil over the affected area and leave it overnight. Wash baby’s head in the morning and brush his/her hair using a small comb. The lubricating properties of coconut oil eradicate flaky dead skin and prevent cradle cap.
6. Olive Oil
Apply some olive oil over the affected area. This oil is rich in vitamin E, and thus, helps treat all kinds of skin infections. Keep it for 15-20 minutes. It will loosen the scales, and enable them to drop off easily while shampooing your baby’s head.
7. Fine Toothed Comb
Massage your toddler’s head with baby oil and use a fine toothed comb to eradicate scales from his/her head quickly. Perform this remedy very gently and repeat a couple of times every week.
8. Tea Tree Oil
Mix some tea tree oil and almond oil in a 1:10 ratio and apply over baby’s head. Leave it for 15-20 minutes and then wash off the scalp with a mild shampoo. Flakes can be removed by using a wide toothed baby comb afterwards.
- Alternatively, mix some tea tree oil with olive oil in 1:10 ratio and apply it onto the affected area. Leave it for an hour and then comb.
9. Hydrocortisone Cream
Apply some hydrocortisone cream over the affected area before the baby sleeps at night and after bath in the morning to eradicate both the flakes and scales in a day.
Note: Excessive usage of hydrocortisone cream may be harmful as it contains steroids.
10. Medicated Shampoo
Shampoo’s containing salicylic acid and sulfur effectually treats dandruff like flakes from the head. Use some anti-dandruff shampoo to wash baby’s head; it will help eliminate scales effectually due to the amount of tar it contains.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix some apple cider vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:2 and apply it over the head. Massage gently on the problematic areas. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water. Perform this remedy two times a week for a few weeks to treat cradle cap.
12. Baking soda
The alkaline nature and oil absorbing properties of baking soda helps treat cradle cap. Mix some water with baking soda and apply it onto the affected areas. Allow it sit for 10-15 minutes and then wash off. Use a wide toothed comb to remove the softened flakes. Do it slowly. This treatment must be repeated once daily until the cradle cap disappears completely.
Note: Do not leave baking soda over baby’s head for long duration as the strong chemicals may have a harsh effect on baby’s skin.
13. Moisturize After Bath
Apply mild oil onto the hair after bath. This will moisturize baby’s scalp and prevent the recurrence of scaly skin.
14. Breast Milk
Gently rub some breast milk onto the scalp and leave it there overnight. Brush hair with a wide toothed comb or soft brush and, as a result, the softened crusty flakes will fall off easily.
Herbal Remedies for Cradle Cap
This herbal plant is packed with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help eradicate the itchy scales. Use cream that contains the extracts of calendula. Apply it on the affected area for the best results.
- Ensure that the comb you use to brush baby’s hair has soft bristles so that it doesn’t hurt while combing.
- Utilize humidifier in baby’s room to maintain the moist environment.
- Hair must be washed properly and regularly to remove traces of soap.
- Take paediatrician’s advice if infection grows.
- Consult a physician to alter baby’s diet if symptoms of diarrhoea or any kind of allergy or red patches appear.
- Make use of baby shampoo to wash off skin and scalp to prevent irritation in their eyes.
- Consult a doctor before applying any medicated or anti-dandruff shampoo.
- Do not shampoo frequently, as this may lead to itchy scalp.
- Never make use of any tweezers or sharp tool to scratch off cradle cap.