Are you getting paranoid due to the ugly scales on your baby’s skin? Want to know how to get rid of cradle cap and not sure what to use and what not to? Worry not as in this article you will get to learn a range of remedies from herbal to the use of various oils along with the most natural solution. As it is a natural phenomenon, it will subside in sweet due time. But till then it is important to soothe your baby as a cradle cap might get irritating at times.
What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is also known as Crusta lacteal is yellowish, greasy, scaly rash that appears on the scalps of infants in patches. The condition is widespread, and usually, appears when the infant is less than three months old. It is not painful and is generally safe.
- Dry or oily skin covered with white or yellow flaky scales
- Thick crusts or patchy scaling on the scalp
- Skin flakes
- Mild redness(not always)
Scales might also appear on eyelids, nose, ears, and groin.
The exact cause of cradle cap in babies not apparent, but doesn’t occur as a result of an allergy, lousy hygiene or bacterial infection. Cradle cap(1) might stem from a fungal infection or an overactive sebaceous gland. The probability of the latter is more. Sebaceous glands in the skin produce sebum which is an oil-like substance. When the sebaceous gland becomes overactive, it creates too much sebum which stops the old skin cells from drying and getting removed from the scalp. These cells stick to the scalp instead and give it the scaly, patchy appearance which is the cradle cap rash. It could prevent the old skin cells from drying and falling off the scalp. Instead, they stick to the scalp.
How to Get Rid of Cradle Cap using Natural Remedies?
Below listed are some home remedies that will tell you how to get rid of Cradle cap in babies. All the remedies can be easily prepared at home using some primary ingredient and can get washed with any basic baby shampoo or and special shampoo prescribed by your pediatrician for infant cradle cap.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel is very beneficial for curing cradle cap. It can be left on the affected area for a few minutes to reduce inflammation.
How to use?
- You can prepare Aloe Vera gel at home by cutting open a leaf
- Taking out the gel from it
- It can be applied directly on the scalp
Aloe Vera has cooling properties and thus gets included in many anti-allergins and anti-inflammatory medicines.
Because of its cooling effects, use it cautiously on babies.
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is readily available and moisturizes the scalp thoroughly. Using a cradle cap brush remove all the scalp tissues that got extricated during the massage. After about half an hour
How to use?
- You need to take a few drops of coconut oil
- Warm it by rubbing it between your palms
- Apply this warm oil on the affected areas and massage it gently
- Leave it to rest on the scalp for about twenty minutes
- Wash the oil with shampoo and lukewarm water
Benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties and works best on small bruises. It works best to counter cradle cap in toddlers and infants.
[Read: Coconut Oil for Cradle Cap]
Coconut oil with its versatile nature suits all skin types mostly. But if you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to take a patch test before using it.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is among the best oils as it is rich in Vitamin E and is the best natural remedy to cure baby cradle cap.
How to use?
- Take a teaspoon of olive oil and apply it on the affected area
- Massage the scalp gently with it
- Allow it to rest overnight
- In the morning using a soft cradle cap brush or cloth remove all the loose particles gently
- Wash the scalp with a mild shampoo and warm water to get a supple skin
- Repeat daily or on alternate days depending on the severity of the condition
Vitamin E protects the skin from infections and nurtures it as well. Cradle cap on face and scalp can be reduced using olive oil as it softens and loosens the flaky scales.
[Also Read: Olive Oil For Dry Scalp]
Make sure you take a patch test before if you have sensitive skin. Also, choose the cradle cap brush wisely.
4. Baking Soda
Theoretically, baking soda seems to be a powerful agent for use on babies, but it is instrumental in treating cradle cap. The remedy, however, gets preferred in case of toddlers rather than infants.
How to use
- Mix equal amounts of baking soda and water to form a paste
- Apply the paste directly on the affected area
- Leave it for fifteen to twenty minute
- Rinse it off with water
Baking soda works by absorbing all the excess oil that clogs the pores. Baking soda is alkaline, and its pH neutralizes the pH of the scalp making it easier to free the scalp of flakes.
It is preferred not to use this remedy on infants and newborn as their skin is susceptible. Even when applying on toddlers, make sure you safeguard the eyes adequately.
5. Shea Butter
Shea butter is another popular cure for infant cradle cap and is readily available in the market.
How to use?
- Liberally apply Shea butter on the affected area of your baby
- Leave it for twenty minutes and allow it to on the patchy skin
- Use a soft hair brush or cloth to wipe off the flaky layer from the skin gently
- Wash it and pat it dry
- Follow the remedy at least once every day till the baby gets rid of cradle cap
Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer and helps soothe the infected area. It also gets readily absorbed in the skin without making the area greasy. It also works well in case of cradle cap on ears and face.
Wash it off immediately if it is irritating the skin or the baby. Make sure it doesn’t enter the eyes during application.
6. Baby oil
Baby oil can be used to soothe the baby’s skin and loosen the scales.
How to use?
- Apply baby oil and leave it overnight on the scalp for soaking
- In the morning wash it off with lukewarm water and a mild baby shampoo
- Use a cradle cap brush to brush off the dead flakes and pat the area dry
Baby oil has just the exact amount of moisture that the baby needs. It moisturizes the area very well and works wonders for baby’s skin.
It is also entirely safe to use, just avert it from entering the eyes. Be cautious while purchasing it for the expiry date and ingredients.
7. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly helps to remove the dead cells along with aiding the cure for cradle cap.
How to use?
- Take a spoonful of petroleum jelly and apply it liberally over the scalp
- Leave it overnight to work on the dead cells
- In the morning, brush off the flakes gently with the help of a soft brush
- Wash off the dead flakes with warm water and a mild shampoo
Petroleum jelly aids in maintaining the skin’s moisture and prevents excessive dryness.
Petroleum jelly is another safe compound that can get used on children. However, it is advisable to check that the baby doesn’t eat it while playing.
8. Breast Milk
You must be wondering to get rid of cradle cap using breast milk. Breast milk is an excellent remedy to cure this condition.
How to use?
Apply a small quantity of breast milk on the head or face, to soothe the inflammation
Breast milk is loaded with all kinds of antibodies and nutrients and is critical for the growth and development of a newborn.
Do you know how to get rid of cradle cap with supplements? Well, nursing mothers should include the following in their diet.
- Vitamin B biotin is an essential nutrient for the betterment of the skin. Nursing mothers should include food that is rich in biotin in the regular diet.
- Include supplements like fish oil, folic acid, zinc, vitamin b12, etc.
- Take protein rich diet including fish, eggs, pulses, beans, etc.
- Massage the scalp of the baby in a very gentle way to remove flakes and to avoid aggravating the inflammation. Also brushing or massaging vigorously might result in hair loss due to cradle cap·
- You might get tempted to try dandruff shampoos on the cradle cap. Dandruff shampoos have salicylic acid which is a potent ingredient and not recommended for use on children below the age of two years.
- If the cradle cap is severe and is not responding to any home remedies or is spreading to the face and different parts of the body, consult a pediatrician.
- Choose the baby shampoo wisely. Most shampoos that claim to be baby shampoos have loads of chemicals and toxic ingredients that are harmful to the babies and even adults.
Cradle cap is a very commonly occurring condition in children and has no evident after effects. It gets cured with time and as the child grows. To save the baby from the inflammation and itching, we must understand how to get rid of cradle cap using home remedies. These remedies are safe and also prevent the cradle cap from worsening. A humidifier can also be of great help in stopping the cradle cap from occurring. All we need to do is keep the infected area clean and properly moisturized. It can get done with the help of good nourishing oils and a mild baby shampoo that is approved by the doctor.