Treating Cradle Cap with Coconut Oil Review – Does it Work?

2 out of 5 leaves

2 out of 5 leaves

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?

The Good

  • 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

The Bad

  • In babies with lots of hair, application can be difficult
  • Most baby shampoos are not effective in removing coconut oil from hair

My Experience

Treating Cradle Cap with Coconut Oil - Does it Work? | Green Idea Reviews

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.

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15 Responses to Treating Cradle Cap with Coconut Oil Review – Does it Work?

  1. I consider myself a crunchy mama…but with my kids, the only thing I could get to work was Head and Shoulders. I hate cradle cap. LOL
    Visiting from Little Natural Cottage.

  2. I always used olive oil. I would rub it into my baby’s head, wait fifteen minutes, then comb and shampoo. Never had a problem with oily hair after that. You might want to try it!

  3. Fran says:

    Gosh I wish I would have known about this 7 years ago. My son had a bad case of cradle cap and I struggled finding solutions. I do love coconut oil though. It’s a great moisturizer for dry skin and since my daughter is allergic to dairy and soy, I use it as a substitute for butter and margarine. Also, Doc says to take a tablespoon a day and you will have more energy.

  4. All 5 of mine have had cradle cap and little to no hair to cover it up. I’ve always used Baby Oil or Olive Oil to deal with it: apply a little oil, gently brush with a soft-bristled baby hairbrush, then wash with usual baby wash or shampoo. It’s worked for us.

  5. Wildchildwandering says:

    My grandson is 5 1/2 and still gets cradle cap. We had tried Olive oil or and olive oil/sugar scrub (worked well) but it always left his hair greasy. I started using coconut oil with good success. I don’t, however, rub it through his whole head. I just dab it on the spots of cradle cap, leave it on over night and wash it out in the morning. I do not use baby shampoo on him. We use Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo and it works very well. The barber also told me that most people don’t rinse hair well enough, and that contributes to the cradle cap. We rinse well in the tub and then pour two containers of fresh water through his hair as well. His cradle cap stays at bay when he spends a lot of time here, but seems to come back when he has been away for any period of time longer than a few days. (His parents are separated, my son currently lives with us, so my grandson is here usually 3 or 4 days a week, depending on the week – not sure if is different diet, different water or shampoo, or lack of good rinsing when he is not here). But the coconut oil dapped on over night works overnight to clear the cradle cap up.

  6. LeAnna says:

    Just got through listening to your interview about home birth on Vickilynns radio program, so I thought I’d head over here for a visit! Great website! I’ve used coconut oil successfully for cradle cap, but my babies all have hardly any hair the first year. I think the best thing I’ve tried so far has been calendula and plantain infused olive oil!

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks for stopping by LeAnna! I’ve also heard that calendula is a good remedy for cradle cap.

  7. Tati says:

    I used some good old EVO (extra virgin olive oil). Slides right out. Stopping by from Titus 2sday.

  8. Sarah says:

    I’ve never tried coconut oil…although it was difficult to get out, I bet it smelled great! I have, however, done something even more extreme. Looking back, I can’t even believe I did it. I asked the nurse at our pediatrician’s office about removing cradle cap from my daughter’s scalp (my first child) when she was a baby. The nurse said that there was this homeopathic remedy which involved taking a dirty pee diaper and placing it on the scalp for 5 minutes. …aaaand I listened to her. It didn’t work for anything – don’t try it! These days, I just rub baby oil in their hair and comb it out.

  9. Lisa Lynn says:

    Thanks for sharing on the Independence Day Hop!

  10. My babies were so bald for the first year, combing was not an option! 😉 I just used shampoo with a gentle wash cloth scrub. Thank you for linking to Tuesdays with a Twist! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    ‘Glad to know the wet diaper trick doesn’t work! What a funny story!

  11. momstheword says:

    I honestly can’t remember what I used but I do know that my youngest son had it pretty bad. I used to call it “cradle crap.” I really believed that was the name, lol!

    Thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party! 🙂

  12. Sue says:

    Try massaging the scalp with plain yogurt, wait a few minutes, then comb the hair. We did this for my daughter and the cradle cap came off like gang busters! And she had a lot of it. After doing this twice on 2 separate days it was gone and never returned.

  13. Pingback: Coconut Oil: Fact vs. Fiction : Great Expectations Pregnancy