All Natural Treatment for Infant Cradle Cap

All four of my children have dealt with a common ailment in newborns and infants: cradle cap.  That unseemly flaking of the skin on the scalp that really is merely cosmetic, yet bothersome for aesthetic reasons.

My first three children had light cases of the scaly, yellow cradle cap.  I would find myself picking at it while the babies were nursing.  I knew that it wasn’t harmful to them, but I just didn’t like looking at that crusty gunk on my sweet precious baby.  I followed the advice from friends and used dandruff shampoo on their wee little heads, being extremely careful not to get any of the soap into their eyes.  Then I’d lightly brush the flakes out with a soft bristled infant brush.  This treatment worked, but I didn’t like using such a strong shampoo on a baby’s head.

Our fourth child, who was born in September, came down with the worst case of cradle cap that I have seen.  Not only did it cover his scalp, but it even inched down on to his forehead and into his eyebrows.  My poor sweet boy just looked so dry and scaly.  I decided to search out a more natural way to rid him of this flaky skin.

The answer that I found?  Coconut oil!  Yep, this wonder oil is good to use to solve your cradle cap problem!  It’s really simple.

First gather up your baby, some extra virgin coconut oil, a soft baby brush, a comb, a towel, and some baby wipes to clean your hands.

Lay your baby on the towel to keep your work surface clean. Scoop out a very generous amount of the oil in your hands, rub them together, and then spread it all over baby’s head.  If your baby has a lot of hair like my little guy, make sure that you really work the oil down to the scalp.

Use the soft bristled brush to help work it in well if you need a little extra help. This may remove some already loosened flakes.

I thought it was fun to “style” little man’s hair after it was nice and saturated.  He didn’t seem quite as amused.

Place a hat on baby’s head and leave it on overnight. Since Asher had some dryness on his forehead as well, I spread a thin coat of the coconut oil there too.  If you do this, make sure you don’t get too close to the eyes.

I call this picture, “The Lip” 

The next morning, remove the hat and using a fine toothed comb, gently comb out the crusty scales.  They should be really soft and should come out easily.  You can even gently scrape a few of the stubborn ones up with the comb.  This shouldn’t bother baby at all.

Continue to comb until you have removed all of this bothersome stuff.

Feel free to style baby’s hair some more.  At this age, they can’t protest too much.

After removing all of the scales, wash baby’s hair with your gentle infant friendly shampoo.

When you are done, all the cradle cap will be GONE!! Do a happy dance!

Did any of your children have cradle cap?  How did you treat it?

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  1. Yes, Dusty! I started by using the Gentle Naturals Cradle Cup formula as it was the “least harmful” chemical wise. It worked well, but never made it go away. Seth’s got so bad we ended up having to get a steroid cream. But then later we learned that he had skin allergies to dyes, fragrances and such so once we got rid of those he was fine. With the little man we learned the benefits of going all natural and made very good use of coconut oil and EVOO in treating skin issues.

  2. Very cool! I use baby oil and rub it in and brush it cradle cap away and then go give him a bath. I never thought to leave it on overnight (the coconut oil) – but my kiddo NEVER kept a hat on, I’d probably do it over naptime that way I could monitor it 🙂


  3. Oh this is wonderful! My 16 month old still has cradle cap, and I’ve given up…wait…not yet! Thanks for this tip! I actually have some extra virgin coconut oil in my pantry that I have no idea what to do with. Well, now I do! Is this lasting? Do you have to re-treat later? Thanks for the info! Found you at Time Warp Wife link-up; sharing this & bookmarking it so that I can come back to it later. 🙂

  4. is there anything coconut oil can not do, haha.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I used babyoil, worked just the same.

  6. Olive oil works well with this method too

  7. Wow! Can’t wait to try this!!!

  8. This worked ok after hours of continuous protest. My son is 17 m old and still has nasty thick yellow cap. He always hated me removing it and won’t let me touch his head. This last time I rubbed him up with aquafor and let it sit a couple minutes. While waiting, I saw some teething gel and thought it might help topically numb the area. The combo worked wonders! He let me get every speck in less than five minutes! After two weeks it still hasn’t come back yet either! I’m a crunchy momma but sometimes when they scream so hard they puke, I’ll resort to sorta natural 😉

  9. My 16 year old still has it. We’ve been fighting it forever! He has one patch on the side of his head that never seems to get better. He is in ROTC at school so his hair is always required to be short. I hope this home remedy will work for him. His gets really thick then peels off and appears to be bleeding. It’s about the size of two quarters side by side.

    • Oh my goodness! I hope this works for you! Have you spoken to a dermatologist?

      • Yes. They give him shampoo that doesn’t work, or irritates his scalp. I’m trying to get another appointment for him. People that cut his hair always feel sorry for him but he says it doesn’t hurt. I’m going to try the coconut oil. Cross your fingers for us!

  10. How much did this help with his face? My baby has it very minimal on her head but mostly on her face. I have tried Honest Organic healing balm and Shea Moisture- raw Shea butter, chamomile and Argan oil. Both products help calm the redness and moisturize really well but they never take it away and the bumpiness is still there. Did the coconut oil work overnight on the face as well? Did you have to put the application daily? Did the cradle cap return?

    • I can’t honestly say I’d put it on a baby’s face overnight. I’d worry about it getting in their eyes, etc. The cradle cap did not return after this treatment for my son.

  11. For older children and adolescents they may have build up that is from how they wash their hair. My boys get it and we use a shampoo with tea tree oil in it to help 🙂

  12. Trista Crain says:

    Did your baby loose his hair when you did this? I left the coconut oil on overnight with out a hat, and then washed his head and my baby lost a lot of hair. It only got rid of a small amount too..seemed like he lost more hair than cradle cap crustys. And I really don’t want him to loose any more hair. Any ideas?

  13. My son will be 7 weeks old and has an ugly case of cradle cap. It’s much like the one you posted of your son’s. I’ve tried combing it and picking at it while he’s eating but it doesn’t seem to help. I researched on Pinterest ‘cradle cap remedies’ and found ours. I literally went to the pantry, got my coconut oil. I just finished putting it on his head and put a beanie on him. I’m really hoping this works! Thanks for this!

  14. @Teena
    I have read on other sites the cause of cradle cap is fungal and it can be caused by an intolerance to dairy. So possibly this could help your son.

  15. I used this method for my 2 month old and it worked fantastically. And I still use a bit of coconut oil in his hair, it leaves it shiny and smells great! I’d say for anyone attempting to try this be certain to use a good quality non-processed (unrefined) coconut oil. I googled every brand on the shelves in 2 stores before finding a good one. It should smell just like coconut. If it doesn’t then it has been processed with unnatural chemicals. Which may not be good for your little ones. Good luck!

  16. My daughter had a small case of it. I washed her hair than applied hydrocortisone 1% cream on her head and next day it was gone

  17. Yes coconut oil is really a wonder oil. Thanks for sharing these best natural treatments for infant cradle cap. There are numerous solutions offered by coconut oil..!! Know about it at –

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