6 Natural Remedies For Cradle Cap

My son has always had very sensitive skin. It’s been dry, flaky and right after he was born he had a ton of acne, which medical experts believe is caused by hormones from the mother. But his toughest skin condition for me to soothe was cradle cap.

According to WebMD cradle cap is a flaky, yellow buildup of oils and dead skin cells on a baby’s scalp, although teenagers can get this too. The cause of cradle cap isn’t know according to the Mayo Clinic. The website states that one cause may be hormones passed from the mother to the baby before birth. It lists another cause as yeast fungus that grows in the oil produced by the oil glands and hair follicles.

Whatever the cause, most babies have mild cases that clear up on its own within a few months, like my daughter’s. But some have tougher cases, like my son.

Whatever you use as a treatment you still have to actually remove the buildup that’s there and my son had a huge patch on his soft spot that I was too afraid to even touch for a long time. Because of this, his case persisted for about a year and a half before I found something that really worked.

Coconut Oil

Add cradle cap remedy to the long list of miracles performed by coconut oil. Everyone’s favorite oil worked on my daughter. I used this on her head when she was about five months at bath time twice, removed the light flakes with my finger and it was never an issue again. Simply massage the oil into their scalp as if you were shampooing and then rinse it out. I tried this for my son and it helped but it didn’t completely alleviate the problem.

Almond Oil

Another oil that seems to be a rising star nowadays is almond oil. People swear by this as a natural remedy for cradle cap. I’ve never tried it but it is said to work in the same way as coconut oil.

Hey Mom, you'll enjoy these too!

Shea Butter

Shea Butter is a fat that’s extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree. Just like all the oils on this list it is extracted from the nut and used in a lot of beauty products. According to Wikipedia it is eaten in Africa. You can also massage this into the scalp, let it sit for a bit and then wash it out.

Olive Oil

Since I’m Italian I’m just going to be straight with you and tell you that olive oil is my all-time, favorite oil in life. I use it on everything and in everything. You can also use it just like the other oils for cradle cap treatment. The only reason I didn’t use it on my son is because I was being lazy. It lives in my pantry in the kitchen. The coconut oil lives in the bathroom right by the tub since I also use it for their dry skin.

Lice Comb

If you have been reading my blog you know we had a traumatic issue with lice this past fall. My son didn’t have any, luckily, but I still combed him out every day for a week. A lice comb has pointy teeth and when you comb for the little critters you have to comb in four directions – front to back, back to front, left to right and right to left. The first time I had to use it on him I noticed it was also removing his cradle cap flakes and it was the first time I had been able to get a lot of it off without much effort or time. As long as you drag the comb lightly, it won’t hurt them. It will irritate them but this was the nail in the coffin for his cradle cap.

Petroleum Jelly

Let’s not debate if this is natural or not. Technically it is. Just because some people don’t like what it’s made out of doesn’t negate the fact that it occurs naturally. Since I’ve probably piqued your interest I’ll tell you that petroleum jelly (Vaseline as a brand name) was essentially discovered as a byproduct that formed on oil rigs – hence petroleum. It annoyed workers on the rigs because it caused the machines to malfunction but they believed it helped cuts and burns heal faster. (Why/how they decided to slather this stuff on injuries is a mystery to me.) To make a long story short, a chemist purified this so-called “rod wax” and today it’s used in a lot of beauty products for its moisturizing effects. Similar to the oils above, petroleum jelly can be massaged into the scalp and then removed using a wet washcloth.

Are there any other miracle cradle cap cures you have used? I would love to hear about them.

About the Author

Everyday Mom Rachel
Author with 198 posts
More about Everyday Mom Rachel

Recent Articles


  • GlamKaren February 20, 2017 07.29 pm

    What a helpful resource for parents who are going through this concern with their baby. I think Coconut Oil must be a miracle worker for like everything.. (even though it didnt totally help your son…) but you can use this stuff on everything from cooking to your body to furniture!

    • Everyday Mom Rachel February 22, 2017 12.00 am

      Yes it is certainly a miracle worker!

  • Janel Berchielli (@JanelB) February 20, 2017 07.35 pm

    Oh my last kid had cradle crap for a very long time. Sadly nothing worked for him but back then no one used coconut oil or almond oil so I wonder if that would have helped in 13 years ago.

    • Everyday Mom Rachel February 22, 2017 12.01 am

      Isn’t it amazing how many new things they come out with (or think of) in a new generation?

  • Ana De-Jesus February 20, 2017 10.27 pm

    Coconut oil really is a blessing, I use it in cooking, for skin and hair and its great that it is good for cradle cap as well. Must tell my foster mum about this x

  • Amber Nelson February 21, 2017 01.22 am

    My daughter used to have cradle cap really bad and we used to use baby oil on it and it seemed to work well.

  • Terri Steffes February 21, 2017 01.28 am

    This is the most thorough post I have seen on cradle cap. I am not surprised at the therapeutic effect of almond and coconut oils.

  • planningthemagic February 21, 2017 01.33 am

    I was just with my friend and her 4 month old yesterday and he has this 🙁 Definitely going to share this with her.

  • lisa February 21, 2017 02.30 am

    Two of my four kids had cradle cap and petroleum jelly worked well for us. I’ve had many friends have great luck with coconut oil recently, too!

  • Joanna Brittain February 21, 2017 02.48 am

    All great ideas…But the only thing that worked for us was just baby shampoo and a cradle cap brush (not sure if they are still around – my daughter is now 11) She has allergies, and couldn’t have used any of those oils. 🙁

  • Mommy Engineering February 21, 2017 03.03 am

    I was very lucky to not have this for either of my boys! My mom said I had it and she used coconut oil on my head to help clear it up! She said it was worse in the Philippines, it was like black lice!

  • itsahero February 21, 2017 03.54 am

    Yes yes yes! We had great luck with coconut oil!!

  • Amanda Love February 21, 2017 05.17 am

    I prefer home remedies than the medicated ones. Good to know that yiu can easily get these especially the olive oil.

  • Tereza February 21, 2017 06.39 am

    Awh bless that little sweetheart, what a cutie! It’s so good that you can now read about all this advice on blogs – it must have been well difficult back in the day when you couldn’t just google it and no one around you would know the answer! x

  • lovelysilvia February 21, 2017 06.52 am

    So great that you were able to find so many natural remedies for your baby! I always say natural remedies are best.

  • Rimsha February 21, 2017 11.29 am

    I don’t have children so I didn’t even know cradle cap was a thing :O I’m so glad you were able to find viable natural remedies!

  • Jalisa February 21, 2017 02.03 pm

    Oils really help. Coconut oil does it for me. I always have sensitive skin and lotion never does it for me.

  • Heather February 21, 2017 02.10 pm

    We used coconut oil for my oldest. It seemed to work the best and had the added benefit of smelling good 🙂

  • thecoffeemom0617 February 21, 2017 02.54 pm

    coconut oil seemed to be one of the only things that worked for my son. I never tried olive oil though. That probably would work just as good.

  • Kristen February 21, 2017 04.46 pm

    I was just talking about this with my husband! Trying these out with my newborn!

  • Robin Rue February 21, 2017 07.41 pm

    I wish I would have known these when my kids were younger. These would have definitely saved some of my sanity.

  • workoutwithdi February 21, 2017 10.24 pm

    What a great resource for new moms. I don’t have kids this age, but I can imagine this would be so useful. Plus I know coconut oil is pretty much a catch all of awesomely good product for any skin condition!

  • Cara (@StylishGeek) February 21, 2017 10.37 pm

    I had no idea what cradle cap was and my daughter didn’t experience it when she was born. But thanks for your informative post on 6 Natural Remedies For Cradle Cap! Will share it with my new mom friends!

  • cvnxena February 21, 2017 11.05 pm

    We were very fortunate that we didn’t get bad cradle cap with our little guy but will bear this in mind for the new one due soon!

  • jlawsonn February 22, 2017 12.00 am

    Thank you for sharing, I don’t currently have any children but i’ll keep this post in mind incase that day comes and make sure I share with my friends who could use it

  • Lindsay February 22, 2017 01.06 am

    Coconut oil is definitely a miracle worker for so many skin issues! I use it all the time

  • Lydia February 22, 2017 01.27 am

    What a helpful resource! Coconut oil solves all problems, especially related to hair!

  • reesann723 February 22, 2017 01.53 am

    My daughter had such bad cradle cap! But that was long ago before I knew about coconut oil! I would have loved to use these natural resources!!

  • Sarah February 22, 2017 03.37 pm

    Olive Oil was always my favorite. I’ve battled cradle cap with both of my kiddos, it can be pretty stubborn!

  • The Cool Mom February 22, 2017 06.30 pm

    We used coconut oil for our kids, too. I never thought about petroleum jelly. though.

  • Yona Williams February 23, 2017 01.28 am

    I did not know that teenagers could get cradle cap…always thought it was an ailment just for babies. I can definitely see why coconut oil worked as a decent home remedy.

  • Hil’Lesha O’Nan February 23, 2017 07.49 am

    I’m expecting in the summer, so I’ll definitely have to keep these remedies in mind. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cecilia Harvard February 24, 2017 09.37 am

    Such great tips! Thanks so much for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe & Follow

Featured On