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How to cure infant cradle cap?
What are the benefits of borage oil?

infant cradle cap
Photo courtesy by aidans world

Cradle cap is a non infectious and non contagious skin condition which affects about 50% of all babies.

It is not an allergy, and it is not dangerous nor is it caused by poor hygiene.

This scaly and crusty skin rash on the scalp of young babies looks like dandruff. Sometimes you can see it on and behind the ears, eyebrows and eyelids.

If it appears on other parts of the body it is called seborrhoeic dermatitis rather than cradle cap.

In most cases it doesn't bother your baby at all. In rare cases when it itches scratching of the area may cause inflammation, infections or bleeding.

Infant cradle cap is a temporary condition and usually clears up on it's own when baby is between 6 to 12 months old.


What causes infant cradle cap?

The cause is not clearly defined but is probably linked to the oil-producing sebaceous glands. Possible causes are:

  1. that in newborns sebaceous glands are very active and produce excessive quantities of sebum (greasy substance). This results in sebum building up on the scalp and causing cradle cap.
  2. that cradle cap is related to overgrowth of normal skin yeast like Pityrosporum ovale and Candida.
  3. that baby's immature digestive system is not able to absorb enough vitamins of the B-complex.


What is the best cradle cap remedy ?

You can treat your baby's cradle cap in three simple steps.

  1. To cure cradle cap wash baby's hair frequently with a special cradle cap shampoo to prevent the sebum from building up.
  2. Half an hour before washing baby's hair try to soften the scales with Cradle Cap Oil or olive oil.
  3. Try with a small toothed comb or tooth brush to brush of the softened scales.
  4. Then wash baby's hair carefuly with a mild organic shampoo. Afterward the skin of the scalp may be a bit red and irritated after brushing off the scales.


To make it easier for moms Safety 1st designed a special brush for infant cradle cap. This wonderful product is similar to the scrub brushes many hospitals provide new parents with. This soft brush is perfect for your infant's sensitive head. The bristles provide just enough firmness to help treat and prevent infant cradle cap.



cradle cap treatment with dandruff shampoo

Some parents have succes using dandruff shampoo as a cradle cap treatment. Because these shampoos can be irritating for baby's skin it is best to consult your health care provider first. Mind, not all dandruf shampoos use the same active ingredient. Some use selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione and others use ketoconazole.

If the cradle cap is itching it is most likely a yeast infection (Pityrosporum ovale also named Malassezia furfur). The use of Ketoconazole shampoos twice a week as an anti fungal treatment appears to be safe and effective based on small studies. Research shows that the anti-fungal medication is not absorbed in the bloodstream.

If the cradle cap is severe and has spread to other parts of the body like the diaper area, your pediatrician may prescribe a hydrocortison cream as part of he cradle cap treatment.


Treating cradle cap with borage oil

Borage oil for baby cradle cap
Treating cradle cap
Photo courtesy by think20seven

According to a swedish study treatment with borage oil gives very good results.

A demonstration done on 48 infants with severe cradle cap. The infants were treated with borage oil twice a day and their cradle cap cleared within two weeks. When they stopped the treatment the cradle cap returned within a week.

If they continued the treatment until the infant was 7 months there was no relaps.

A product using borage oil is Mustela Stelaker, aMustela stelaker lotion that soothes and hydrates skin with Aloe vera and Borage oil and helps remove cradle cap quickly. You get the best result when used in combination with Mustela Newborn Foam ShampooNewborn foam shampoo that gently cleanses hair and scalp maintaining the delicate balance of the scalp in newborns.


What if baby's eyelids are affected?

Extra care is needed if baby's eyelids are affected by infant cradle cap. To clean the eyelids you best use a cotton swab with some diluted baby shampoo. You can also try a teaspoon of baking soda added to a cup of boiled water for cleaning the eyelids.

califorania baby shampoo


If you use a very mild baby shampoo for cradle cap like California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash you can mix it 50/50 with warm water.

With other shampoos don't add more than a few drops to a cup of water otherwise it may sting baby's eyes.



popular home remedies for cradle cap

  • Herbal washes with chamomile or burdock.
  • Aloe vera
  • Tea tree oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Mix of 50%baby shampoo and 50% Head and shoulders shampoo
  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Olive oil mixed with a few drops of real lavender

As you can see most parents use some kind of oil to soften the scales. Some even used butter and swear it works wonders. What ever treatment you decide to use for infant cradle cap, keep in mind that almost all cases of infant cradle cap will clear up on their own.



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