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What to do with cradle cap

As new parents, it’s natural to want your little one to be happy and healthy in every way. So, spotting a case of cradle cap probably won’t make your day. 

What is cradle cap? It might appear to be something to worry about, but it shouldn’t really bother your baby. Although no one is 100% sure what causes it, experts think that cradle cap is due to an overproduction of oil by the scalp’s glands, which then traps dead skin cells. This can result in greasy, yellow, scaly patches that look a bit like a bad case of baby dandruff. It doesn’t just appear on the head, either – some babies get it on their ears, eyebrows or eyelids. Whatever the cause, it has nothing to do with how you’re looking after your baby and it’s not contagious. 

If you’re wondering how to get rid of cradle cap, well, it usually clears up on its own – but here are some things you can do to help speed up the process… including tips from real moms and dads.

  • 1

    Using a gentle shampoo. 

    “We used a special cradle cap shampoo, which helped with our little boy. We kept on using it for a while after the crust had cleared up, just in case” – Chris, dad of one. A mild shampoo for babies, such as Baby Dove Rich Moisture Baby Shampoo, can also soften and remove the crust. It’s a good idea to moisturize, too, with a conditioner. It can help minimise dryness and prevent further irritation

  • 2


    “Try rubbing some coconut oil into the scalp about 30 minutes before bathtime. Then, giving their hair a thorough wash should remove the oil and help to remove the flakes, too” – Garen, dad of two

  • 3

    Brushing, not picking. 

    “Because it doesn’t look very nice, I really wanted to pick at the crust! But I know that can make it sore, so I had to remind myself that it isn’t as bad as it looks and to leave my baby’s head alone!” – Jenny, mom of one. Rather than picking, try brushing your baby’s head with a soft bristle brush to gently remove any loose pieces of crust

  • 4

    Keeping baby’s head dry.  

    Sweating probably won’t help cradle cap, because it gets trapped under the scaly skin, making it itch. Your little one might need a hat in cooler weather, but try to remove it when you get inside and dry their head if it gets wet