Cradle Cap: It's Not Just for Newborns!


baby hair
Flickr photo by surlygirl
I took my baby for a haircut last week -- his fourth one! He's got wild wavy hair and it grows like a weed.

As the stylist was combing his hair forward, I saw it: Flaky, dry, scaly patches of skin on the top of his head. It was cradle cap!

Now I know cradle cap is not serious, and he had it when he was a couple of months old, but why did it come back?

Cradle cap can occur in any baby, and most commonly begins sometime in the first three months and usually disappears within the first year of life.

Except when it doesn't. My baby is over 12 months old. Why did his cradle cap suddenly reappear? Was I washing his hair too often? Not enough? Using the wrong shampoo? Was he allergic to something? Every mother's greatest fear took over: Was I doing something wrong?

A little research confirmed there was no real cause for concern. Everyone makes new skin cells at about the rate that we lose old, dry skin cells. But for some babies, the skin cells on their scalp grow faster than they can fall off, leaving a layer of crusty extra skin behind. It may look gross, but it's harmless.

The sebaceous glands in Rowan's skin just are more active than normal right now. For now, I'm following the home remedies I've tried before. I'm rubbing a little baby oil on his head before bathtime and gently brushing the scales away after a few minutes. It seems to actually relax him, so I don't mind if we need to do it for awhile.

What have you tried to help your baby's cradle cap?

cradle cap


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LoriA... LoriAnn87

When my son had it when he was a baby I use genteral naturals or a litle bit of head and shoulder. I would one of these proudcts everytime I washed his hair and I would do it every other day for about a week.

jeann... jeannesager

We did baby oil too -- worked like a charm. Rub it all over the scalp, wait about 15 minutes, then give them a bath and scrub.

The only times my daughter ended up with cradle cap were when I changed her shampoo. I immediately changed again, and it didn't come back.

madfoot madfoot

I noticed this recently, too! and Penelope is 18 months old! what da heck? Plus, she haaates having her hair washed right now. I really think there's not much harm done if i can't clear it all up. Olive oil really does do the trick. Okay, so maybe it can be Wesson, but olive oil smells so nice.

Spiri... SpiritedTigress

When Nicolai was about 2 months old, he'd fall asleep on me and I'd rub baby oil on his scalp, as gently as possible comb the flakes off, and use tweezers to get all the loose flakes.
Nicolai's middle name is Rowan ^__^

nonmember avatar Melissa

My son has had terrible cradle cap since he was a few weeks old, and NOTHING would get rid of it.  Seriously -- I tried and bought every product out there.  The olive oil worked the best, but didn't really clear it up.  Selsun Blue seemed to make it worse.  Finally, worried that it was dry and itchy, I smeared his head with Aquaphor.  The next morning I washed it, and FINALLY it's cleared up.  I still need to use the Aquaphor every 2 to 3 days, but it keeps it at bay pretty well.

mylil... mylilprincesses

my daughter is 2 and still has cradle cap its awful. my youngest has it the worst!

Javi0... Javi05Eli07

My oldest didn't start to have it until he was a couple months old.  We later found out his wasn't really cradle cap but is caused by ichthyosis, a dry skin condition.  Since he was a year old we have had to use TSal on his head and keep his hair short in order to keep it under control.

RanaA... RanaAurora

My SIX year old had some issues with this.  I put olive oil and tea tree oil on his scalp, then combed carefully with a flea comb (a baby comb would work too) to help loosen them up.  Twice of this did a LOT of good.

Carey... Carey2006

I would pick at it, use a comb  and baby lotion to try to get it off.....drove me crazy!!!!

sodapple sodapple

we use a comb and baby oil, it helps.

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