Conquering Cradle Cap, the Natural Way
Cradle Cap is something most moms encounter with at least one of their babies. It is also known as Infant Seborrhoea Dermatitis, "Milk Crust", Honeycomb Disease or Baby Dandruff. Whatever the name, moms just want it off their baby's head and will try various remedies for cradle cap. Symptoms are yellow, crusty, patchy scales that devople on the scalp and even behind the ears and on the eyebrows. It most commonly develops in the 3rd month and can continue well into their 9th month or even past 1 year old. It generally isn't uncomfortable for babies, but can sure detract from their good looks!
I too have dealt with (and conquered) Cradle Cap with my youngest. When my little one first showed signs of these scales, I wondered what caused this to happen....
It can be caused two different ways.
- Overactive Sebaceous Glands (Small glands in the skin that secrete oils)
- A Fungal Infection from antibiotics given to mom prior to birth or to baby shortly after birth
Cradle Cap Remedy
Many moms who seek treatment for these offensive little scales are given a prescription from their doctor for a chemical filled anti-fungal cream or shampoo, which often causes reddened areas on babies' tender scalp. Baby's scalps are "thin skinned" and full of capillaries so it readily absorbs what we put on it. Avoiding chemical filled concoctions is the healthier route to keeping baby's scalp clean and intact. Some doctors recommend using a small amount of adult dandruff shampoos like Nizoral. As it is formulated for adults, not infants, it can be a health risk for baby's sensitive scalp.
There are much better remedies that are natural and gentle for your little one's skin.
If left alone, these scales often disappear by 8-9 months after birth. As long as baby's skin isn't getting really red, showing signs of infection or spreading to other areas of the body, like the tongue (thrush) or the diaper area, simple and gentle washing will do until baby out grows it Understandably, many moms don't like the sight of these scales on their beautiful baby's head. I chose to treat my baby's scales as well. We followed a simple and natural solution that got rid of our daughter's cradle cap in less that a month with twice a week treatments.
- Massage a pure and gentle oil into their scalp, letting it sit for 30 minutes. We used Olive Oil, but you can also try almond oil. Olive Oil has natural anti-fungal properties in it, but the trade off is that baby will smell a little like a greek salad during application! If baby has flakes beind ears, you can rub a little oil there too. Using a baby comb/soft bristled brush, GENTLY comb through the hair, lifting off any loose scales
- Follow up oil treatment with washing baby's hair with a gentle zinc based shampoo. We used John Master's Zinc Shampoo with great success Do this treatment up to twice a week until scales are all shed.
(check out more info on this
zinc based shampoo safe for cradle cap.)
Minimize "over-washing" babies hair as it can further dry out the scalp. Washing hair 2-3 times per week is usually sufficient. Check out my
baby shampoo page
for other great, natural shampoos that are safe for baby between or after treatments.
Using a natural remedy is not only a safe way to treat cradle cap, but often the most effective way. Try this treatment plan with baby and leave me a comment about how it worked!!