Cradle cap is a common skin condition in infants, tending to show up around 3 months of age. It manifests as crusty, yellow scales on the top of baby’s head. The cradle cap does not hurt the little ones, but it can be quite unsightly. Natural health proponents advise that coconut oil can be a great treatment for cradle cap. We’ve learned that coconut oil does not make a good diaper rash cream, but perhaps can coconut oil heal cradle cap?
- Better for baby – all natural coconut oil is safe for even a new baby’s sensitive skin
- Easy – a quick application of coconut oil can soften the scales for easy removal
- Saves time – coconut oil helps remove scales all at the same time, so you don’t spend time picking at baby’s head (I know what you’re doing when no one’s looking!!)
- The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil might prevent some cases of cradel cap from returning
- In babies with lots of hair, application can be difficult
- Most baby shampoos are not effective in removing coconut oil from hair
Look at this cutie pie! Almost four moths old already! You can’t see it unless you look very closely, but she has a raging case of cradle cap under all that hair.
My other two kiddos had cradle cap at the same age as well. I know it doesn’t bother the babes, but it sure looks ugly. And I find myself picking at it, which is probably not a good idea. With my previous two, I got rid of it by lathering their little bits of hair with baby shampoo during the bath, massaging the scalp gently with a washcloth, and then combing the softened scales out with a fine tooth comb. After a two or three baths most of it was gone, and it did not return.
The new baby has so much hair, that I can’t really see her scaly scalp unless I dig deep for it. But the cradle cap is there, and it’s pretty nasty. I’ve heard that coconut oil can be a good treatment for cradle cap, so I decided to test it out for you!
Right before putting her into the tub, I rubbed her hair full of coconut oil. It took a lot of oil, because she has a lot of hair. I massaged the oil deeply into her scalp, and washed the rest of her as usual. After letting the scales soften for about 15 minutes, I used a fine tooth comb to remove them. It worked pretty well, and we got a lot of the scaly gunk off of her head.
Next I used baby shampoo to clean her oily mess of hair. Except the coconut oil did not wash off. I washed her hair again, this time using a lot of baby shampoo and working up a good lather. Her hair was still super greasy. After the third shampoo I felt that most of the oil was out. But I was wrong. The next morning, her hair was still very greasy and sticking out every which way. It was completely un-tameable until I washed it very carefully with my grown-up shampoo. Finally her hair was soft and clean again (albeit heavily perfumed).
Overall, the coconut oil + fine tooth comb did an adequate job of removing the cradle cap scales. However, it did not do any better than when I used plain baby shampoo with the same comb. And removing all that oil from my baby’s long hair was kind of a disaster. (Holding baby upside-down in the bathroom sink to wash her hair carefully with not-baby-friendly shampoo is not good times). I plan to go back to the shampoo lather method with the next bath to take care of the rest of her scaly scalp.
Have you ever rubbed coconut oil on your baby’s head? What worked for you to get rid of that ugly cradle cap?
PS – You know I’m not a doctor, right? This information is based on my experience only and is not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any medical condition. Your experience may vary. Please remember to speak with your healthcare professional about any medical concerns you have, and follow their recommended course of treatment. You can read additional fine print details here.