In between all the cuddles and nose rubs with your new bundle of joy, suddenly you discover your little peach shedding big yellow crusts of nastiness from their cute little head, and you have no idea why!

Welcome to motherhood!


Those yellow scales on your baby’s head are nothing but cradle cap, something that is often ignored and no one ever tells you about. In medical terms, the condition is called infantileseborrheic dermatitis.

Cradle cap is a greasy, patchy, yellow scaling that usually forms on the scalp of babies. It is not harmful and does not imply that a baby is not being well cared for. It is the normal buildup of sticky skin oils and sloughed skin cells on a baby’s scalp and is characterized by dandruff-like flakes.

Despite the name, it can also appear on a baby’s eyelids, eyebrows, crease of the nose, ears, armpits, back of the neck or diaper area. It typically appears in a newborn’s first three months and usually disappears by a baby’s first birthday.

The exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known, although researchers believe that the transfer of hormones from the mother to the child, antibiotics consumed by the mother during pregnancy, growth of yeast in the digestive tract, overstimulation of the baby’s oil glands, food allergies, irregular skin cleaning and extreme weather may be the causes behind formation of cradle cap.


Although cradle cap does not pose any threat to your baby’s health, it might look unpleasant and cause irritation to your child.

So, here are five easy and effective ways to treat cradle cap on small babies, without harming their soft and tender skin:

Method 1: Using Olive Oil

use olive oil

Olive oil acts as a moisturizing and healing agent on your baby’s skin. It will soften and loosen the flaky crust on the scalp.

  • Gently massage a small amount of olive oil on your baby’s scalp at bedtime.
  • Leave it on overnight.
  • The next morning, use a soft baby brush to remove any loose particles.
  • Wash your baby’s hair with baby shampoo and warm water.

Repeat daily or every other day, depending upon the severity of the condition.

If necessary, allowing the oil to sit for 15 to 20 minutes will suffice.


Method 2: Using Baby Oil

use baby oil

Massaging your baby’s head with a mild baby oil can help get rid of cradle cap. Baby oil acts as a moisturizing agent and helps loosen the flakes without irritating your baby’s skin.

  • Gently massage a small amount of baby oil on your baby’s scalp.
  • Allow the oil to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. You may also allow it to sit overnight.
  • Use a soft baby brush to comb out the loose flakes from the scalp.
  • Finish with washing your baby’s scalp with a mild baby shampoo and lukewarm water.

Follow this remedy everyday until you are satisfied with the result.

Method 3: Using Baking Soda

Things you’ll need:



  • Water– 2 tablespoons
  • Baking soda – 2 tablespoons

Mix baking soda and water to form a paste

mix baking soda and water

  • Mix equal amounts of baking soda and water to form a thick paste.
  • Apply this directly on your baby’s scalp.
  • Let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Gently massage and brush off the loosened flakes using a soft brush.
  • Rinse off the baby’s scalp using warm water.

Use this treatment once everyday until there are no traces of cradle cap on your baby’s scalp.

The alkaline nature and oil-absorbing quality of baking soda helps balance the pH level on your baby’s scalp and thus helps get rid of cradle cap.


Method 4: Using Coconut Oil

use coconut oil


Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that not only nourishes your baby’s scalp but helps loosen the cradle cap flakes. Also, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help fight the infection.

  • Gently massage a small amount of coconut oil on your baby’s scalp.
  • Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to get rid of loosened flakes.
  • Finish with washing your baby’s scalp with a mild baby shampoo and warm water.

Do this once daily until the flakes are completely gone.

Method 5: Using Petroleum Jelly

use petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is an excellent moisturizing agent and helps lift cradle cap crusts and loosen the oily skin.

  • Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly on the affected area.
  • Leave it overnight.
  • Remove the loose flakes using a soft-toothed comb.
  • Shampoo the scalp to remove any traces of residue.
  • Pat the skin dry with a soft towel.

Repeat once daily until you get the desired results.

Alternatively, you can use this method before your baby’s bath time, allowing the petroleum jelly to sit for 1 hour before the bath.

Additional Tips:

  • Though cradle cap is not dangerous, it can be distressing for the child and parent. So, it is best to undertake preventive measures. Avoid frequent shampooing and use a good quality, mild baby shampoo. Rinse thoroughly to remove any traces of shampoo.
  • Always moisturize your baby’s scalp after shampooing.
  • Do not comb scaly skin with force. Plus, use a gentle comb or brush with soft bristles.
  • Moisturize the skin properly. Massage and then brush your baby’s scalp on a daily basis.

Summary of How to Get Rid of Cradle Cap

get rid of cradle cap

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