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Effective natural treatments and home remedies for cradle cap

The medical term for cradle cap is infantile seborrheic dermatitis. This is a very common skin problem among babies. A cradle cap is characterized by scaly and rough patches on the scalp.

It is a very common condition among newborns as well as children up to 3 years old.

Symptoms of cradle cap are hair loss, red and irritated skin, thick crusty flakes, yellow or white scales, and greasy patches of skin.

This condition is not associated with illness and doesn’t indicate that a baby is not well cared for.

The exact cause of the cradle cap is unknown.

There are some studies in which are believed that it is caused by hormones that are passed from the mother to baby, growth of yeast infection in the digestive tractfood allergies, irregular skin cleaning, extreme weather, overstimulation of the baby’s oil glands and antibiotics taken by the mother during pregnancy.

Cradle caps can also appear on armpitseyebrowsdiaper areaseyelids, the back of the necknose crease, and ears.

If you have noticed that the cradle cap is spreading from your baby’s scalp to other parts of his body, then you should talk with a doctor. This condition is unsightly, but it is generally considered temporary and harmless unless caused by infection or other underlying causes. This condition usually clears up on its own in a few weeks or months, but many parents have a hard time just waiting for it to self–heal.

Some home remedies can effectively treat cradle caps on small babies without harming their tender and soft skin. [1]

11 Home Remedies for Cradle Cap

Almond oil

Almond oil is a safe home remedy for treating cradle caps. It has a light texture so that the almond oil can penetrate the skin very quickly. Massaging this home remedy directly on the scalp can help soften the scales and make it easier for you to rinse them out after shampooing.

You should combine almond oil and tea tree oil in a ratio of 10:1 and stir it well. You should apply this home remedy to your baby’s head. You should let it stay there for fifteen minutes. You should remove the oily flakes gently with a soft baby brush. You should use baby shampoo to wash your baby’s hair. You should repeat this natural treatment daily or every other day to rid of the cradle cap. [2]

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has an acidic property that can help to treat cradle caps in babies.

You should mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water. You should massage this home remedy gently on the affected area. Let it stay there for a few minutes. You should rinse the area with warm water. You should follow this home remedy two times per week for a period of 2 – 3 weeks.

Effective natural treatments and home remedies for cradle cap

Shea butter

This is a very popular home remedy for cradle caps because it has natural moisturizing properties. Also, it is easily absorbed by the skin without leaving a greasy residue.

You should rub some Shea butter onto the affected area. Let it stay there for twenty minutes. You should use a soft–toothed comb to remove the loosened flakes. You should wash your baby’s head with warm water and shampoo. Gently pat it dry. You should follow this home remedy once per day until the cradle cap disappears. [2]

Petroleum jelly

This is a very effective natural cure for treating cradle caps. It has moisturizing properties, which can help lift the crusts and loosen the oily scales.

Many parents have said this is the simplest and cheaper home remedy for cradle caps.

You should massage your baby’s head with a liberal amount of petroleum jelly before you bathe them. After one hour, you should wet his hair with warm water. You should use a soft brush to gently scrub your baby’s head. You should rinse the hair and scalp thoroughly with warm water. You should gently pat the head dry with a soft towel. You should repeat this natural treatment several times per week until your baby gets rid of the cradle cap.

Coconut oil

This oil works as a very effective natural treatment for cradle caps. It acts as a natural moisturizer that can help loosen the cradle cap flakes while nourishing the scalp.

Also, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help to fight infections.

You should put a small amount of organic, solid coconut oil in the palm of your hand. You should rub this oil in your palm until it becomes liquid form. You should gently massage this oil onto the affected areas or the scalp. Let it stay there for 20 minutes, then rinse it with warm water. You should use a soft brush to gently remove the loose flakes. You should do this natural treatment once per day until you are satisfied with the results. [2,3]

Olive oil

Olive oil is recommended as a natural treatment for cradle caps by the American Academy of Family Physicians. It has healing and moisturizing properties, which can soften and loosen flaky scales.

Also, this oil is good for your baby’s skin.

You should slightly warm a small amount of olive oil. You should gently massage this oil onto your baby’s scalp before they sleep. You should let it stay there throughout the night. The next morning, you should use a soft baby brush or cloth to gently remove any loose particles. You should wash your baby’s hair using baby shampoo and warm water. You should repeat this natural treatment daily or every other day, depending on the severity of this condition. [1,2,4]

Baby shampoo

Washing your baby’s head with mild baby shampoo and warm water can help rid the cradle cap. It can loosen the cradle cap flakes without irritating your baby’s soft skin.

You should soak your baby’s scalp in warm water. You should gently rub a small amount of baby shampoo on the head. You should wait 2 minutes and then scrub the scalp with a soft-bristled baby brush. You should rinse the area well with warm water, and then you should gently towel dry. You should follow this home remedy once per day for the first week and then twice weekly until the cradle cap is treated completely. [5]

Breast milk

This is the best way to feed your newborn or infant, and it is good for combating cradle caps because it possesses medicinal properties.

You should squirt some breast milk into a bowl. You should gently rub the breast milk into your baby’s scalp at bedtime. Let it stay there throughout the night so the thick crusty flakes will become soft. The next morning, you should brush your baby’s head with a soft brush to remove the flakes. You should wash your baby’s head and hair using mild shampoo and warm water. You should do this natural treatment until the cradle cap clears up.

Mineral oil

This is a common ingredient that is found in baby creamslotions, and other baby products because it has healing and moisturizing properties

Also, it can be used as a natural treatment for cradle caps.

You should apply some mineral oil to your baby’s head. Let it stay there for 2 – 3 hours. You should rub some baby shampoo on your baby’s head. You should gently rub the scalp with a clean and wet washcloth in a circular motion. You should thoroughly wash your baby’s head with warm water to remove all the traces of the oil. You should follow this home remedy 3 or 4 times a week for a period of 2 weeks. [6]

Baking soda

This is a very effective home remedy that can help relieve the symptoms of cradle cap. It has oil–absorbing quality which, combined with the alkaline nature, can help to balance the pH level of the scalp.

You should mix one part of water and one part of baking soda to make a paste. You should apply this paste directly on your baby’s scalp. You should let it stay there for not more than one minute. You should give your baby a warm bath, and then you should wash the treated area well. You should repeat this natural treatment once per day until the cradle cap disappears. [7]

Tea tree oil

This type of oil is considered a wonder but very toxic. This is a reason why it should never be applied directly on a baby’s skin.

You should dilute tea tree oil for curing cradle caps.

You should mix the tea tree oil and almond oil in a ratio of 1:10. Stir this mixture well and then apply it on your baby’s head. Let it stay there for fifteen minutes. You should use a fine-toothed comb to remove the flakes gently. [8]


[1] Victoire A, Magin P, Coughlan J, van Driel ML. Interventions for infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis (including cradle cap) (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014;11.

[2] Lin T-K, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018;19(1):70.

[3] Evangelista MTP, Abad-Casintahan F, Lopez-Villafuerte L. The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double‐blind, clinical trial. 2013;53(1):100-108.

[4] Siegfried E, Glenn E. Use of olive oil for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis in children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2012;166(10):967.

[5] Nobles T, Krishnamurthy K. Cradle cap. StatPearls [Internet]. 2019. Retrieved from

[6] Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2002;54(2):175-92.

[7] Thacker E. The magic of baking soda. 2010. James Direct, Inc.

[8] Berk T, Scheinfeld N. Seborrheic dermatitis. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2010;35(6):348-52.

Hanan Marshal
Hanan Marshal
Hanan, a medical student (MBBS) having passion for writing and is very much interested in holistic living along with nature. He is very much interested in doing community service and watches anime and play PS4 during his free time. You can reach him through [email protected]


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