The scaly dry skin that often appears on a baby’s head is officially called infantile seborrheic dermatitis but most people call it cradle cap. Cradle cap is usually not uncomfortable for your baby and probably bothers you more than him. The crusty dandruff-like flakes may peel off and land in your baby’s hair or face, which many parents dislike. Today we’re sharing ways to get rid of cradle cap to help ban those unsightly bits once and for all.
Cradle cap is caused by overactive oil glands on your baby’s scalp. Natural sebum oil builds up and creates these dry, scaly patches. If your baby is under a month, give cradle cap a chance to clear up on its own. Often it does within just a few short weeks. If it persists for several months and still bothers you, you may want to take action. Otherwise, most cradle cap completely disappears by one year of age.
The best way to get rid of cradle cap immediately is to apply oil or similar substances directly to the scalp. Natural plant-based oils such as olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil work well, as do mineral-based oils or petroleum jelly. Before bath time, smooth the oil or jelly over the affected area on the scalp. Let it set for 30-60 minutes. Then gently massage and loosen the crusty spots with a soft bristled baby brush or comb, or simply use your fingers to peel off the dead skin. Continue to work the area until all of the flakes are gone. Finally wash and rinse your baby’s hair to get rid of all of the oil and remaining dry skin.
Using oil to get rid of cradle cap usually does the trick in the short term. However, if your baby has chronic dry skin, cradle cap may reappear. In this case, you’ll need to help your baby promote hydration in his skin with a few other methods. Start by moisturizing your baby’s skin every day. After your baby’s bath, pat his skin but don’t let it get completely dry. Then apply a baby-safe lotion all over his body. This will help lock in moisture.
Next, consider the air condition in your home. Especially in winter months, the air may be very dry and your home’s heating system may perpetuate the problem. Use a humidifier throughout your house and run a warm-mist vaporizer in your baby’s room at night. This will help your baby’s skin retain much-needed moisture to prevent dry skin conditions such as cradle cap.
Dry skin is also an inflammatory reaction. Anti-inflammatory foods can help alleviate inflamed skin. Your baby will certainly need your help here. Try to consume lots of wholesome anti-inflammatory foods in your diet like fruits, vegetables and whole grains to pass along the nutrients through your breast milk. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an excellent anti-inflammatory. Nuts, beans and certain fish like salmon are good sources of omega-3s. If your baby’s skin is extremely dry, ask your doctor about using prescription fish oil in your baby’s breast milk bottle. You can easily slice open the capsule and pour it into your breast milk until dry skin issues resolve.
If none of these measures work for your baby’s cradle cap, consult your pediatrician. There may be other issues at play that are causing skin dryness. Eczema often looks like cradle cap but is a more serious condition and can become painful. Prescription ointments or oral medications can help with this and other dry skin concerns.
We hope you find these tips to get ride of cradle cap helpful. Remember, a baby’s new skin is sensitive and delicate so keep your treatments gentle and know that most issues can be resolved with minor natural methods over time.