Dandruff shampoo gets rid of cradle cap

Shaunta says:

To get rid of cradle cap, wash your baby’s hair with dandruff shampoo.

We used baby oil and a comb, but it took forever to go away. Anyone else have cradle cap cures?

Related: What do you do with baby oil?

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  1. says

    We used the Burt’s Bees baby oil, it smells really good. We’d apply the oil liberally before bath and comb out as much of the cradle crap as we could, then we’d shampoo with baby shampoo (I’d be worried about getting dandruff shampoo in tiny eyes, myself).

    After a few treatments, the cradle cap resolved.

    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  2. says

    I would be concerned that the ingredients in dandruff shampoo would be too harsh for baby. There is a great product from MD Moms/Baby Silk for cradle cap called “Gentle Scalp Rub” that is gentle and effective. I happen to carry it in my store and have seen and heard about great results.

  3. TaraP says

    I would read up on using dandruff shampoo on a baby. There are certain chemicals that they will absorb that their bodies aren’t ready for. No need to expose them just yet.

  4. says

    Oh gosh. I’d NEVER use Dandruff shampoo on a baby or small child. That stuff, even recently reconfigured, is harsh!

    We used baby oil after bath and a soft hairbrush in the morning. We’ve been continuing it even though it’s “gone” so it doesn’t “come back.” This is easier, of course, as he’s completely bald! HA.

  5. shirky says

    dandruff shampoo did help my kid. The oil treatment removed a layer of flakes but did not stop it from coming back. Several doctors told us to try dandruff shampoos and no harm ever came to him from it so I didn’t worry much about it.

  6. Monica says

    Amy, we always called it cradle crap! Or was that a typo on your part? Thanks for the laugh.

  7. Parent Hacks Editor says

    I did read up a little, and BabyCenter says it’s ok a couple days per week — I didn’t see anything that said it was *harmful* when used occasionally. That said, I personally would be reluctant to use it on my baby.

  8. says

    I know more about this than I ever wanted to. Talk to your ped about it, of course, but mine was fine with using adult dandruff shampoo on my toddler. Different shampoos have different active ingredients, if one doesn’t work on your kid, another may. Head & Shoulders Intensive Treatment has selenium sulfide, which is the same ingredient in prescription shampoo.

    If things are really bad (i.e. your child has chunks of hair coming out with the scalp gunk) you can oil their head to loosen up the crud and then gently comb it out. My kids find this process hilarious, thank goodness. IME, treatment will still be necessary, but at least the shampoo can get to the irritated cells that keep producing too much gunk.

  9. Kelly says

    our pediatrician recommended dandruff shampoo as well. we use it once a week, wash it out immediately, and then follow up with the baby shampoo. it’s made a significant impact on the cradle cap.

  10. Jill says

    My daughter had cradle cap for a long time. Finally went away when she was about 3. I never once tried to treat it. It didn’t bother her, and she had a ton of hair, so no one else but me even knew it was there. It covered her head when she was a baby and over time the patches just shrunk until it was all gone. Same with my son.

  11. says

    Our pharmacist and pediatrician recommended to mix it half and half with baby shampoo or baby wash, and rinse it out quickly. I used this a few times a week with our daughter and it worked well and didn’t return.

  12. Ann says

    We haven’t had much luck with the “natural” methods and finally resorted to a prescription shampoo that we use twice a week that sits in his hair for 5 minutes. We’ve been using it for about two months and we’ve seen a significant improvement. It’s still there, but it’s nearly gone. We call it cradle crap too.

  13. Carrie C says

    Ditto on the pediatrician recommending the dandruff shampoo. We chose the mildest formula and diluted it. We only had to use it a couple of times and the cradle cap cleared up. Buy the travel sized bottle of the shampoo though – it will take me years to use up the bottle I have! My husband is follicly challenged, and I don’t use H&S. Newborn + shopping = questionable purchases sometimes!

  14. says

    I found the best method for us for defeating cradle cap was Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and then using the comb “every which way” – coming backwards, forwards, side-to-side, etc.

  15. Malyndia says

    My son didn’t have much hair when he was born. Still doesn’t truth be told. But he had regularly recurring baby dandruff or cradle cap. I just smeared Eucerin cream on his head every morning and night. Sometimes midday too. Any good lotion would have worked but his skin was so dry during the winter I was using the most hydrating, non-irritating lotion I could find.

  16. says

    Our daughter had eczema and cradle cap during the first few months. My husband has tried everything for his own eczema and found relief only with Curel Ultra Healing Intensive lotion. So, after trying every natural remedy to no avail for our daughter, we finally tried the Curel and VOILA! No more eczema, and to our surprise, it cleared up the cradle cap too. We take just a little bit and apply it while she’s still damp from her bath (she gets two baths a week, otherwise her skin goes INSANE). Curel is awesome.

  17. says

    This is timely for me as I’ve been trying to get rid of cradle crap (love that, btw) on my 17mo. The pediatrician recommended T-gel, so we’ve been using that. But he hates it, I’m guessing it tingles and he doesn’t like the feeling. So I’m not going to use it anymore, it’s almost gone now anyway. The ped is the only one that it seems to bother.

  18. says

    I know that a lot of parents will take issue with this, but I’ve heard that cortisone cream will get the job done.

  19. Annette says

    Our son had HORRIBLE cradle cap/eczema until he was about 6 months old. We used Baby Aveeno Soothing Relief wash and cream. We used the wash all over our son in mildly warm water, using a soft baby brush to work the shampoo into his scalp (he has fairly thick hair), and then followed his bath by a gentle pat dry and TONS of the cream, even in his hair. At the suggestion of our pediatrician, we put a tiny bit of cortisone cream on the really bad spots to keep them from getting inflamed and infected (which is much worse than a tiny bit of cortisone, trust me). He is 10 months old now and eczema free, but we still use the same bath routine as a preventative measure (minus the lotion on his scalp).

  20. says

    we used burts bees shampoo, cleared it up right away- i also would run a baby comb over his hair when dry, kind of scratching every whichway, then following up with a soft brush, again brushing every whichway. luckily for me my son liked the feeling of the comb on his skin..

  21. says

    My son still occasionally has gross orange crusty scalp like he did as a baby/toddler, and he’s SEVEN. The best thing we’ve found was this Aveda Scalp Remedy stuff–but I don’t know if what they’re selling now is the same. The stuff we have has pyrithione zinc, the same as in Head & Shoulders, but in a much lower concentration. You put in on the scalp the night before you’re planning on shampooing. It has typically cleared up the worst of it in just one or two treatments.

  22. lori says

    It is suggested in some circles that cradle cap and eczema are somewhat related and are an indication of an allergic reaction. So instead of coal tar derivatives (found in dandruff shampoos), it might be worth considering dietary factors.
    My sweet boy has the “crap,” and some mild eczema, both of which seem to be a bit dairy dependent.
    Just a thought…

  23. Emily says

    My son had an outbreak when he was a few weeks old, and I didn’t even think of putting dandruff shampoo on his sweet little flaky scalp. Instead, I went to the pantry for some olive oil, drizzled it on him like he was a roasting chicken, rubbed it in with my fingers, then used a very soft baby brush to brush circles in every direction. I followed with his regular baby shampoo to get rid of the oil and dislodged flakes, and it worked like a charm!

  24. Ashley! says

    DS had reoccurring cradle crap*, and our Ped had us use a TINY drop of conditioner once a week to prevent it, and it worked like a charm! Plus, it helped get rid of the existing flakes!
    *-not a typo, we always call it that.

  25. Lady Godiva says

    From my experience, there can be several reasons for the dry scalp. Skin allergy, dandruff(essentially a yeast or fungal infection), or oil gland issues. Most will eventually resolve on their own, although the yeast/fungal infection can take years. Dandruff shampoo will help, and is not know to cause any issues. If its the oil gland or eczema related, then lotions will help. Putting lotion alone on a yeast infection can make it worse.

    If hair is coming out along with the skin, or the skin is in chunks then the problem may also be ringworm or tinea versicolor. Both of which can be successfully treated OTC with dandruff shampoo anyway.

  26. DesertMommy says

    No, don’t use dandruff shampoo on baby. Cradle cap will come out really easily in the bath with a little baby comb and olive or other natural oil (burt’s bees, coconut etc.) Making it go away… well its grown out of so the “natural remedy” is really just a removal process. We don’t really understand yet the ramifications of spreading chemicals all over our absorbent skin. Furthermore, my son’s extremely well-respected pediatrician turned out to be full of cradle-crap herself when advising me to use baby-oil all the time on all kinds of things and seemed stunned when I told her baby oil is just scented mineral oil, a petroleum product. Dr’s aren’t Gods, they are humans with long college careers and prescription writing privileges.

  27. Michelle says

    We tried using olive oil on our 2 yo but couldn’t get it out of his hair. He had awful hair for a few days until we could shampoo it enough times! Plus, he hates getting his hair washed.

    It seemed to help, but what a mess! What do others do to get the oil out of their kids hair?

  28. hedra says

    Breastmilk. Seriously, that was the main solution for us. It’s anti-inflammatory so it reduces the low-level inflammatory reaction that sets off the crusties in the first place. It’s also always available if you’re nursing. Express a little, rub it on the head, wait until it dries (it does dry like sugar syrup), then wipe off with a damp washcloth. It took the cradle cap down to a relatively minor thing.

    BTW, while cradle cap isn’t caused by food allergies/reactions, anything that sets off their system (increases in baseline infammatory processes) will make it worse. if they have it down to their eyebrows (or in their eyebrows), do check for things like milk/soy protein intolerance or food allergy. B had it SOOOOO bad until we pulled dairy (he had Milk/Soy Protein Intolerance), and then it cleared up almost completely.

  29. andrea says

    There are different severities of cradle cap…obviously. I used olive oil and a comb as recommended by the holier-than-thou’s for a MONTH every day. It did NOTHING to eliminate the cradle cap. All of the rubbing and combing irritated my kid’s scalp plenty. And of course the olive oil made a delicious mess of hair, bedding and clothing.

    I used T-Gel dandruff shampoo ONE TIME. The cradle cap was gone the next day and never came back. I wouldn’t expect such great results for every kid of course. That was just our experience. However, after a month of olive oil all of the “it will come out really easily in the bath with a little natural oil” crud makes me nauseous.

    Thanks to those who recommended other products that worked for them. I tried a lot of different things between the olive oil and the T-gel before I struck upon what worked for my kid. With all of these suggestions people are bound to find something that will work on their kid too.

  30. says

    For my infant, I took some of my pumped breast milk and used it as a shampoo… just in case there was some inflamatory element at the root of it. I did this for a few weeks, and slowly worked it all out with soft brushing, picking, etc. For my toddler, the scalp crusties all look like an exfoliation issue… none of us carefully comb our hair regularly around here, especially not in such a way as to effectively comb our scalps. So, I make a point of gently combing my 3 year-olds scalp while she is in the tub. I can see the comb lifting off old skin.

  31. Dee says

    A product called Stellaker by Mustela was a miracle for my daughter’s cradle cap. I tried olive oil and a comb several times but it just irritated her scalp and the cradle cap came back. As she got older (3-4 months) I could tell it bothered her because she kept trying to scratch it. After using Stellaker twice it’s gone for good. Several people I know had the same experience.

  32. Isabel says

    try using a moisturising lotion or just some baby cream that is really greasy and it will be gone in a week.

  33. Meg says

    My son’s pediatrician recommended it too, but she said to use one of the milder brands, because some are too harsh for newborns. (She gave us a brand name to use, but I don’t know if it’s okay to mention it here. It was really convenient though, because my husband already uses that shampoo). My son was a premie, and she said that was just fine. He was 5.5 weeks early, and was about 6 weeks old when he developed the really bad cradle cap, so that would have made his corrected age about 3 or 4 days old. Per the doctor’s instructions, we just put a tiny bit on his scalp, hair still dry, used the little hair scrubber thingy the hospital sent home with us to gently rub it in, then rinsed it all out with water. We noticed a significant improvement within days. Every once in a while, it would flare up again, and it would only take one or two bath-times to clear it back up again when using this method. And it didn’t hurt him a bit.

  34. seedyem78 says

    I’ve had success with making a paste from bicard (baking) soda and olive oil, and massaging that in just before a bath. the powder does a great job of exfoliating it gently and with some gentle baby shampoo afterward most of the olive oil comes out easily

  35. Larry says

    My pediatrician told us to use a Dandruff shampoo 2-3 times per week as needed. He said to just leave it on for 20-30 seconds and rinse well, taking care to keep it out of the eyes. It works great.