How to get rid of your baby’s flaky scalp

Quick notes:

  • Cradle cap is a common condition that affects almost 70% of babies by three months of age.

  • While this harmless condition can be a pest to get rid of, know that it’s completely normal and your baby will never remember they even had it.

  • Washing, brushing, and time are all you typically need to treat cradle cap.

Cradle cap is a common condition that affects almost 70% of babies by three months of age. This condition is known for leaving a newborn baby with scaly, dry patches on their scalp.

Think of a cradle cap as a baby’s form of dandruff. While this harmless condition can be a pest to get rid of, know that it’s completely normal and your baby will never remember they even had it.

Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about cradle cap and how to help treat it at home.

What causes cradle cap?

While the exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known yet, doctors think that it has something to do with your baby’s oil production.  When the glands on a baby’s skin produce more oil than they need to, it can cause rough patches on the scalp and forehead to appear.

You’ll see these patches in a newborn baby under the age of one because the glands are working on overdrive because of the influx of hormones left in the body from the mother at birth.

wsucht / Pixabay

How do you know if your baby has it?

Your doctor will typically diagnose cradle cap at one of your baby’s first few check-ups. While you may see it in the first few days or weeks after birth, the condition peaks at three months of age.

Cradle cap symptoms include a greasy scalp and yellow, white, or dark patches of scales on their head. The color will vary depending on your baby’s skin tone and hair color. The skin surrounding the patches may also appear to be red.

Your baby won’t feel the cradle cap and despite how it may look, it won’t even feel itchy to them. Sometimes your baby may lose a little hair in the areas around the scales. As the cradle cap gets better, the scales will begin to flake off.

How to treat cradle cap

Cradle cap may appear in more places than just the scalp. You may find it behind your baby’s ears, on their face, in their armpits, or in their diaper area.

One of the easiest ways to treat your baby’s cradle cap is to wash the area frequently. Washing will help remove the extra oils on their skin. Your doctor may suggest doing so more often than you normally would during its peak.

You typically won’t need any special shampoos or products to treat cradle cap. Regular infant shampoo will do the trick.

Brushing is also really helpful in getting rid of loose scales. You can use a baby brush to gently remove dead skin and flakey scales.

While some parents have success using olive oil or coconut oil to remove dry skin, this might just add more oil to their scalp so it isn’t always successful. Talk to your doctor before doing so and let them know if their scalp looks red or inflamed.

Products aimed at curing cradle cap, are really just a waste of money. Washing, brushing, and time is all you typically need to treat it. Regular washes and a nice baby brush will do the trick just fine. Cradle cap will typically resolve itself within a couple of months.

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