Cradle cap, which is medically known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is characterized by rough, scaly yellow or brown patches on the scalps of infants. Cradle cap usually lasts for a few months. For some kids, the condition could last until they are about 2 or 3 years old.
The exact cause of cradle cap is unknown. However, doctors think it is triggered due to the over-secretion of oil from the oil glands on a baby’s scalp. As such, cradle cap is not contagious, it is not caused due to poor hygiene, and it is not an allergy.
Cradle cap may not only affect the scalp, it could also affect the ears, eyelids, eyebrows, armpits, diaper areas, and the neck region.
Symptoms of cradle cap include; crusty scaly patches on the kid’s scalp, scratching of the affected area (which may lead to inflammation, infection, irritation, and redness), and hair loss.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with cradle cap;
- You could massage your child’s scalp with your hands or with a brush to remove loose scales and to improve circulation on the scalp.
- You could use a gentle but rich non-medicated shampoo.
- Endeavor to moisturize your baby’s scalp after washing it so that it doesn’t become too dry.
- You could also apply essential oils such as lavender oil or chamomile oil.
- Avoid using excess pressure to brush off scales from the scalp.
- Do not use sharp objects, such as tweezers, to remove the scales.
- You could use a humidifier to humidify your home so that your kid’s skin is not too dry.
- You would be doing a lot of hair brushing for your kid.
- You could also comb in carrier oils such as olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil before you shampoo the hair.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for cradle cap;
1. Olive Oil
Olive is a good home remedy for cradle cap since it can moisturize the skin and can alleviate hard and tight flaky scales. For this remedy, you need to warm a small amount of olive oil and then massage it on the scalp of your baby before bedtime. Leave it overnight and gently remove any particles or flakes, in the morning, using a clean and soft brush. Do this procedure every day.
2. Almond Oil
Almond oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling caused by allergies and other skin infections. Also, almond oil has moisturizing properties that can help keep the skin soft. Almond oil can also be used to treat skin irritation as well as provide relief from psoriasis. To treat cradle cap, you can massage some almond oil on the scalp and leave it for about 20 minutes. Remove the loose particles after the 20 minutes.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a potent treatment for the skin due to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It can be used to treat various fungal skin infections and dandruff among others. Tea tree oil should always be diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, before using it to treat cradle cap. You can add one teaspoon of tea tree oil to 10 teaspoons of carrier oil and stir thoroughly to mix. Use the diluted oil to massage the scalp of your baby and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Then, wash off the loose particles with some shampoo.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an antibacterial agent that can help soften dry skin effectively. It works by exfoliating the skin such that it alleviates the flaky skin leaving a soft skin on your baby’s scalp. Baking soda can also prevent skin infections.
For this remedy, you can mix one teaspoon of soda with water and apply the mixture to the scalp. Leave for a few minutes and use a soft brush to brush off the skin. After brushing off, you can wash off the loose particles with a mild shampoo. Alternatively, you can combine baking soda with some apple cider vinegar and apply the mixture to the scalp for better results.
5. Viola Herb
Viola herb contains has antioxidant properties and salicylic acid which is a disinfectant and a solvent agent that can effectively treat cradle scalp by softening the hard skin and warts. Viola herb is also an antifungal with a lot of minerals and vitamins A and C which are good for the skin. You can apply 3-5 drops of viola herb extract to your baby’s scalp. Continue doing that for about 2 weeks.
6. Shea Butter
Shea butter is known to be a natural moisturizer and can heal the skin from various infections. Shea butter contains vitamin A and E which are essential in improving the condition of the skin by eliminating wrinkles and dermatitis. For this remedy, you can apply some shea butter on the baby’s scalp and gently massage it for several minutes. Then, wash off the loose particles with a mild shampoo and comb the hair gently.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains fatty acids and vitamin E that can keep the skin moisturized. The fatty acids help stimulate the anti-fungal and antimicrobial activities, of coconut oil, which ensures the protection of the skin as well as treat skin conditions such as rashes, ringworm, and dermatitis including cradle cap. It is safe to use coconut oil on a baby’s skin.
You can rub a few drops of coconut oil on the scalp of your baby and leave it on for a few minutes. Then, comb the hair of your kid with a soft brush to remove any loose particles of flaky skin. Wash the hair with mild shampoo thereafter.
Chamomile has astringent properties that make it a potent remedy for cradle cap. Chamomile can constrict the abnormally active oil glands so that they can secrete less oil and avoid the production of more skin cells in defense. For this remedy, steep one teaspoon of chamomile in a glass of boiled water to make some tea. Let it cool at room temperature and apply the solution on the affected areas. Alternatively, you can let your child drink a little of the chamomile after diluting it properly.
Vaseline is made of petroleum jelly that softens and locks in moisture in the skin. You should apply it on the cradle cap and leave overnight. Brush off the loose particles with a soft brush in the morning.
10. Baby Shampoo
Baby shampoos often have anti-inflammatory properties that make them able to effectively remove the hard flakes on your baby’s scalp. You need to wash your baby’s head with warm water and apply the baby shampoo. This shampoo will soften the flakes such that they will become loose and can be removed, easily, with a soft brush.
11. Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is often used as an ingredient in various baby products such as in baby oils, lotions and creams. Mineral oil has healing and moisturizing properties that help keep the skin soft. You can use mineral oil to treat cradle cap by applying it directly on the affected areas and leaving it on for about 2 hours. The mineral oil will loosen the flakes and you can rub the scalp thoroughly with a wet cloth. Repeat this procedure twice, daily, for two weeks.
12. Breast Milk
Being a great feed for an infant, breast milk can also be used to treat cradle cap since it has a lot of medicinal properties. You can gently rub your breast milk on your baby’s scalp during bedtime. Leave it on overnight in order to make the flakes soft and removable by brushing the flakes off with a soft brush. Follow this remedy daily until the cradle cap is completely alleviated.
13. Apple Cider Vinegar And Water
Apple cider vinegar contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that help cure skin fungal infections. When using ACV, make sure you dilute it properly. To dilute it, you can add one tablespoon of vinegar in 2 tablespoons of water and stir to mix properly. Then, massage the mixture gently on your baby’s scalp for a few minutes. Leave it for about 15 minutes and wash it off with warm water and mild shampoo. Follow this remedy regularly for improved results.
The burdock root has astringent properties that regulate or constrict the oil glands to prevent excessive secretion. You can add two tablespoons of burdock root in clean water and boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about half an hour. Then, turn off the heat and let it cool at room temperature. Rinse your baby’s scalp with the tea to prevent and treat cradle cap. You can leave the tea on for a few minutes for better results. Follow this procedure regularly till the cradle cap alleviates.
15. Herbal Scalp Rinse
This process involves using 3 natural herbs including burdock, viola, and red clover. All these herbs are effective in treating cradle cap. The red clover contains anti-inflammatory properties and salicylic acid that help reduce inflammation.
For this remedy, put some dried clover herb in a quart jar and fill it with hot water. Leave it for about 5 hours and the strain to get the red clover infusion. Then, add some viola leaves and burdock seeds or roots into the red clover infusion and stir thoroughly. Steep it for about 30 minutes and then strain. You can rinse your baby’s scalp with the mixture and leave it on. Follow this process daily until the cradle cap is completely gone.
16. Borage Leaf Juice/Oil
Borage is rich in Gamma-linolenic acid which is a fatty acid that can retain moisture of the skin. For this remedy, you can add water to borage leaf juice in a ratio of 1:1 and stir the mixture. Then, apply the mixture on your baby’s scalp and leave it without washing it off for a few minutes. Wash off the baby’s scalp with clean water thereafter. Follow this process twice daily until the cradle cap has vanished. You could also use borage oil for this remedy.
Calendula is actually an anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic herb that can help cure cradle cap. It also has a soothing effect on the affected tissue and can reduce inflammation. It accelerates healing time of the wounded tissue and improves the blood circulation in the affected areas.
To make a calendula remedy, put some fresh or dried calendula flower petals into a jar and add some olive oil to it and keep the jar with the contents for about 2 weeks. Then, strain the oil and apply it on your baby’s affected areas. Leave it for about 30-40 minutes. Then, use a soft brush to remove the loose dead skin cells. Wash off your baby’s scalp with warm water thereafter. Follow this procedure every day until the cradle cap has cleared out.
18. Homemade Scalp Oil
Homemade scalp oil contains olive oil and basil oil which have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. The oil also has soothing effects and can relieve irritating tissues. To make this homemade scalp oil, mix olive oil and basil oil together and put the mixture in a bottle. Apply some this oil to your baby’s scalp at bedtime and wash it off the following morning with mild shampoo. Also, remove the loose particles with a soft brush in the morning. Follow this procedure regularly for better results.
19. Hydrocortisone Cream
Hydrocortisone is very effective at eliminating cradle cap within a day. Apply the cream on the affected area at bedtime to get rid of the flakes. Rinse your baby’s scalp the following morning with clean water.
20. A Fine Brush Or Fine-Toothed Comb
A fine brush or a fine-toothed comb can be effective at eliminating the flakes and scales faster. This requires one to be gentle and this should be done several times every week until all the flakes and scales are removed.
You can use a humidifier in your baby’s bedroom in order to keep your baby’s skin moisturized. A humidifier helps soften dry skin and keep the air moisturized.
22. Evaluate Your Baby’s Formula Diet
Your baby may be affected by the formula that you feed him/her with. Talking to a doctor about switching to a better and healthier formula is advised.
23. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera provides a soothing effect to the skin and can help treat cradle cap. You can use aloe vera by applying the gel on the affected areas.
24. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is an effective remedy for treating cradle cap. You can use this remedy by diluting the witch hazel with warm water. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and gently massage it on your baby’s scalp at least three times daily until the cradle cap condition is dissipated.
25. Avoid Overly Washing Your Baby’s Skin
Overly washing your baby’s skin can increase oil production which can increase the possibility of cradle cap. By avoiding excess washing of your baby’s skin, you could prevent or reduce the possibility of cradle cap manifesting.
26. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties that can help treat cradle cap. However, you should avoid using jojoba oil on children with sensitive skin. You can also dilute jojoba oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, and apply it on the affected area.
27. Apple Cider Vinegar And Baking Soda
Both apple cider vinegar and baking soda can work effectively to treat cradle cap. You can make this remedy by mixing baking soda with apple cider vinegar to make a paste. Apply the paste on your baby’s scalp and leave it on for a few minutes until it dries completely. Then, wash your baby’s scalp with clean water and mild shampoo. Follow this procedure daily until the cradle cap clears out.
28. Tea Tree Oil With Almond Oil
Almond oil and tea tree oil have potent therapeutic bioactive constituents and vitamins that can help treat cradle cap. These two oils can reduce inflammation and moisturize the skin.
You can mix ten teaspoons of almond oil with 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil and apply the mixture on your baby’s scalp. Massage gently and leave it for about 15 minutes. Then, use a soft brush to remove the loose particles and rinse your baby’s scalp with clean water and mild shampoo. Follow this procedure, once daily, until the condition is completely healed.
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