Cradle cap is a skin condition (a type of seborrheic dermatitis) that affects babies for the first few months of life.

It sometimes lasts longer but rarely past the age of one. Unlike other forms of dermatitis, it’s not usually itchy.

A red, greasy scalp with yellow crusts or flakes suggests cradle cap. It may also appear on eyebrows and behind the ears.

What causes Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap is an oily rather than a dry skin problem. Glands in the scalp make a substance which oils and waterproofs the skin. Babies may have high levels of certain hormones in their bodies after birth, which react with the glands, making surplus oil. There may be a genetic element involved as babies who get cradle cap often have family members with dermatitis, eczema or asthma.

Prevention and Treatment

Cradle cap usually clears by itself after a few months. Treatment involves removing the skin’s flaky crusts – but they can continue to return for as long as the glands continue to make surplus oil.

Some suggestions for removing crusts include applying a baby organic skin care cream to the area. Wipe the area with a washer when bathing, and then brush baby’s head with a soft brush.

Cradle cap may be unsightly but it’s usually harmless. Always see a doctor if the cradle cap seems to worsen significantly or scaly patches spread to other parts of the body. It is possible for an infection to occur underneath cradle cap, indicated by very red skin and blisters, which may weep. Antibiotics may be needed in these circumstances.

A baby who develops cradle cap may be prone to other types of seborrheic dermatitis when they’re older, such as dandruff – so it can pay to get into the habit of choosing organic skin care products.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • An interesting and informative article, thanks.


  • Cradle cap is so hideous looking. Whenever I see it, I just want to sit and pick it off. Ugh!


  • This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!


  • cradle cap is so annoying…my first bubba had it a lot…


  • We used MooGoo on our children to remove it.


  • My baby has a big patch at the moment, I think I’ll try the baby oil on it if he doesn’t fuss too much.


  • Great article, I now understand why my baby suffers from it and thanks for the different remedies to get rid of it.


  • This is all false. I had problems with this, after I had my second child my mum told me it was from not completely drying babies head after bath, so I made sure head was fully dry every night and never had the problem again except on odd occassions when I forgot to dry head properly.

    • yeah i suppose it might be different for different people. i guess a lot of people dry their kids head properly but still get it so


  • My 7 month old had a chronic case. Every bath time meant slowly ‘peeling’ it off his head. Thankfully he didn’t seem to mind.


  • My Daughter had this really bad, only thing that worked was baby oil and light brushing and wiping, it lasted about 6 months and it was horrid, unfortunately she was bald so it was noticeable and ironically she had twin brothers and they had heaps of hair and not one bit of cradle cap, typical boys!!


  • yeah my kids only had the tiniest bit that came off easily.


  • hmm interesting and good to know the facts


  • Great article, thanks for sharing, and love the tips from some of the other mums too!


  • Thanks for sharing this interesting article; helpful.


  • It is s horrible thing when they have it bad


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