Baby Dove Cradle cap
Baby Dove Cradle cap

How to treat crust on the baby’s head

One day your baby’s head is all lovely, smooth and, you know, baby-like. The next day it looks like they’ve got a chronic case of baby dandruff. Don’t worry, though, crust on the baby’s head is completely normal. 

Although no one is 100% sure what causes it, the experts’ best guess is that it’s due to overproduction of oil by the scalp’s glands, which in turn traps dead skin cells. It can be identified by the greasy, yellow, scaly patches on your baby’s head, so you know what to look out for.

Whatever the cause, it’s nothing to do with how you’re looking after your baby and it’s not contagious. It doesn’t just affect the head, either – some babies get it on their ears, eyebrows or eyelids. 

While it’s bound to alarm you, it usually clears up on its own, but there are some things you can do to help speed up the process.

  • 1

    Use a gentle shampoo for babies. 

    First, you should think about washing your baby’s hair regularly. They may not have much hair, but it can help soften and remove the crust. Go for a really mild shampoo for babies as you don’t want their scalp to suffer any more. 

  • 2

    Nourish your baby’s scalp with conditioner. 

    While cleansing the skin of any oily build-up caused by the overproductive glands, it’s also important to moisturize, as dry skin can feel itchy. Choose a conditioner that gently nourishes to minimize dryness and then helps to protect the scalp from further irritation

  • 3

    Gently brush your baby’s head.

    In the morning, try brushing your baby’s head with a soft bristle brush to gently remove any loose pieces of the crust

  • 4

    Treat your little one to a mini head massage.

    Sometimes crust on the baby’s head is pretty stubborn, so try a mild moisturizer to help rub it off. Avoid rubbing too hard though, as it might irritate their skin more. Some babies love this as it’s relaxing, like a mini head massage

  • 5

    Keep baby’s head dry. 

    Sweating can make the crust on the baby’s head worse, because it gets trapped under the scaly skin, making it itch. Even though hats may be needed in cooler weather, try to remove them when you get inside and dry their head if it gets wet

  • 6

    Resist picking.

    It’s tempting to pick at the crust, but resist! Picking at it might remove it, but it can also cause an infection, so best to let nature run its course