Cradle cap

What is a Cradle cap??

It is a common scalp condition in babies. It appears as a pink patches with oily, yellow scales or crusts on the scalp.


It is probably caused by hormones from the mother that crossed the placenta before birth. The hormones cause the oil glands in the skin to become overactive and release more oil than normal. This causes the dead skin cells that normally fall off to “stick” to the skin and form yellow crusts and scales. It’s not caused by poor hygiene.


With treatment it will clear up in a few weeks. Without treatment it will go away on its own after several months. It is not contagious and does not re-occur.

Home treatment:

Anti-dandruff shampoo:   Wash your baby’s head with anti dandruff shampoo twice a week. While the hair is lathered, massage your baby’s scalp with a soft brush for 5 minutes. Once it has cleared up, use the normal shampoo twice a week.

Baby oil:   If the scalp is very crusty, Put some baby oil/ olive oil/ coconut oil or almond oil on the scalp 1 hour before washing to soften the crust. Make sure to wash the oil with shampoo completely.

Rare cases:  If the rash is red and irritated, apply 1% hydro-cortisone cream ( no prescription needed) once a day. Rub in a small amount. after 1 hour wash it with shampoo and water. Don’t continue this treatment for more than a week.