Newborn babies are the most sensitive and prone to many illnesses and conditions. Usually babies have a smooth and soft skin, but at least once in a while you might have noticed a few rough patches on the scalp or the upper body. You may be wondering if it is a serious matter for your baby and what it might be.
These scaly patches can be due to a condition called cradle cap. Cradle cap is very common among newborns and there is no need to worry about it. Generally cradle caps do not require much treatments and go away on their own after a week or two. But if it does not, then you may try consulting a doctor. So, now, are you thinking of how to prevent cradle cap? We have this covered for you in the post below along with a few home remedies for cradle cap.
What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is the layman term for seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp in babies. It causes inflammation of skin or thick crusting on the skin. It often affects the face, scalp and upper parts of the body to form red, scaly patches. Cradle cap can affect all age groups but babies between the ages of 3 weeks to 12 months are most prone to cradle cap. It is a very common condition and is not contagious. But in a few rare cases the babies might get rashes all over the body causing inflammation.
Cradle cap is, generally, not harmful and can be treated at home. It usually goes away within a few months on its own if at all left untreated too. There are a few home remedies for cradle cap in babies you can try. However, the specific treatment for children below certain ages should be consulted prior to application in case of any allergies or side effects.
Cradle Cap Symptoms and Causes
Cradle cap can be easy to identify since the crusts or patches are the most obvious physical symptoms. The other symptoms of cradle cap may vary from children to children. We have a list of all the symptoms for you to ensure if your baby has a cradle cap or not.
- Thick crusts or patchy scaling
- Skin flakes
- Oily or dry skin covered with white or yellow scales
- Mild redness
There might be similar patches around ears, eyelids, nose or groin. It usually isn’t itchy and this is what makes cradle cap different from other skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
The cause for cradle cap hasn’t been discovered yet, however, there are several theories. Researchers believe that one of the contributing factors for cradle cap can be hormones that are passed on from mother to baby. These hormones can lead to production of too much oil and hair follicles. This excess oil might be causing the dead skin cells to stick to the scalp.
Another theory is that it might be because of the yeast or fungus called malassezia. This fungus grows in the sebum along with the bacteria and results in the scales. Anti-fungal treatments have been proven effective, therein, confirming that fungi might possibly be a contributing factor for occurrence of cradle cap.
Home Remedies for Cradle Cap
Coconut oil for cradle cap can be one of the best options to treat at home. Coconut oil is well-known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Not only, it is easily available, but it is also a natural element with no side effects. Coconut oil is a moisturizer and good for skin too. You can take a few drops of coconut oil on your palm and rub it so that it gets a little warm. Massage this oil on the scalp and the affected area for about fifteen to twenty minutes and after that you can wash it with some lukewarm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider can be one of the best remedies for cradle cap. Apple cider vinegar works by drying the scalp of the excess oil.
You can dilute the apple cider vinegar by adding two portions of water to it. Apply this mixture onto the scalp and keep it on for a quarter of an hour. Later, you can wash it off with some lukewarm water. Using this method twice a week would be an ideal remedy to cure cradle cap.
Some people also prefer to use vaseline for cradle cap and it seems to be effective too. Petroleum jelly helps to maintain moisture and remove dead skin cells too.
You can apply a spoonful of vaseline or any other purified petroleum jelly onto the scalp and keep it on overnight. The following day you can rinse the gel with a mild shampoo.
Olive oil can also be used as home remedies for cradle cap in babies since it is rich in Vitamin E. Olive oil has many skin and hair benefits and can work wonderfully for cradle caps too.
You can take a few spoonfuls of olive oil and massage gently over the scalp on the affected area. You can leave it for a few hours or even overnight and rinse it off the following day with a mild baby shampoo.
Baking soda can also be used as home remedies for cradle cap although it can seem too rough for a baby’s skin. Baking soda absorbs the excess oil from the scalp that clogs the pores in the scalp.
You can make a paste of water and baking soda and massage it on the scalp and let it dry. Later you can rinse it off under lukewarm water after fifteen minutes. Baking soda neutralizes the pH of the scalp making it remove the crusts. This may not be the ideal remedy for infants but can be used for toddlers instead.
Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E and is, therefore, used as a remedy for several hair and skin problems. Almond oil can be a considerable home remedies for cradle cap since they do not have any side effects.
You can apply the almond oil to the affected area and let it stay for a few minutes. Later on, you can wipe it off with a wet cloth. This not only removes the thick crust but also keeps the skin healthy.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can be the best oil for cradle cap as they have anti-acne properties. It works on the same principle as apple cider vinegar and dries the scalp of the excess oil. It controls oil glands and can further prevent cradle cap from occurring.
You need to mix dilute tea tree oil by using a carrier oil such as almond oil. Gently massage this mixture on the scalp and keep it on to get absorbed. After fifteen to twenty minutes, you can rinse off the oil with a gentle baby shampoo.
Using shea butter as home remedies for cradle cap in infants can be a good option too. Shea butter is known to be a great moisturizer and soothes the infected skin.
You can apply the shea butter on the infected skin or scalp and let it take effect. After that you can brush it off gently with the baby brush and remove the crust. Later, after all the flakes are scrubbed off, wipe the cream off with a wet cloth or rinse it with water.
Baby brushes can also be affordable home remedies for cradle cap in babies. These soft brushes have flexible bristles that do not hurt the baby but remove the dead skin cells on the scalp.
Baby brushes are affordable and easily available in the market. It is best to use baby brushes at regular intervals since they not only keep the scalp hygienic but also prevent the blocking of the pores in the scalp any further.
This exotic fruit is not only filled with nutrients but also the oil extracted from it is composed of chemicals that can fight fungal infections.This can be your natural home remedies for cradle cap since it does not contain any artificial ingredients.
You need to prepare a mixture of dilute avocado oil with ten portions of tea tree oil and apply it on the affected area. Let this mixture stay for almost fifteen minutes and then rinse it off with a baby shampoo carefully.
Aloe vera is used as a medicine for many skin and hair issues and can be said as the best remedy for cradle cap if you want an all-natural solution. Aloe vera has a cooling effect that can ease the inflammation.
Aloe vera can be freshly obtained by cutting a plant and processing it. The gel can be applied on the scalp or the affected area for a few minutes. Although aloe vera has a cooling effect, it should not be used more than needed or it might cause irritation.
Calendula is a herb well known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. In areas of severe rashes, you can apply calendula cream. This is one of the safest ways to cure cradle cap without the fear of side effects. A downside to this solution can, although, be the expensive price.
Cradle cap usually can go by itself if you do not treat it and is not at all dangerous. But it would be a better choice to treat and prevent it from occurring. You can note the above ways to cure cradle cap and use the most suitable remedy.
It is advisable to consult a doctor or health care giver before using a treatment or coming to a conclusion. Also, if the home remedies for cradle cap do not work or take effect after a certain time, it would be better to visit your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few home remedies that you can utilize to treat or prevent cradle cap in babies.
1.Washing hair with shampoo regularly
2.Brushing hair with a gentle baby brush
3.Rubbing petroleum jelly or oil on the scalp
Oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil or tea tree oil can be used to get rid of the cradle cap. Another good ingredient is aloe vera or shea butter that can help remove the cradle cap.
Coconut is used for certain hair and skin issues. You can assuredly use coconut oil for cradle cap since it can loosen the dry flakes and remove them. Alongside it also moisturizes the skin without having any side effects.
Coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil or tea tree oil can be used as treatments for cradle cap since they are all natural and have a nourishing effect on the skin. However, it is necessary to check a small portion on the hand of the baby to see which one suits better.
Not all babies get cradle cap but most babies between the ages of 2 weeks and 12 months can get cradle cap. Cradle cap is a very common condition but it is hard to prevent since the exact cause is not yet discovered.