Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Cradle Cap Remedies

This page shows you how to use simple natural cradle cap remedies such as essential oils and herbal remedies to treat cradle cap, aka infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis, in babies.

Cradle cap, medically known as infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis, is a rather common but generally harmless skin condition that usually affects babies between two and six months. It is characterized by flaky skin or scaly patches on a baby's scalp. Though cradle cap is not serious, it can cause unsightly thick crusting and white or yellow oily patches to form.

The good news is, cradle cap is not contagious and it usually resolves on its own within a few months. Cradle cap is generally not itchy nor painful, and It does not cause too much discomfort to the baby.

Causes of Cradle Cap

The exact cause of cradle cap remains unclear. However, it is commonly believed that the hormones that pass from the mother to the baby during the final stages of pregnancy causes excessive stimulation of the oil glands, resulting in an abnormal production of oil in the oil glands and hair follicles. This excess oil then dies into crusty patches on the scalp and flakes off.

Another possible explanation is that cradle cap is caused by a fungal over-growth on the scalp, along with bacteria.


Symptoms of Cradle Cap

Common symptoms of cradle cap include:
  • Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
  • Greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
  • Dandruff-like skin flakes
  • Sometimes mild redness
In severe cases, cradle cap may become itchy and symptoms can even spread to other areas such as the face, armpits and diaper area.


Natural Cradle Cap Remedies

Natural cradle cap remedies using herbs and essential oils are very safe and effective in treating this baby skin problem.

Natural Cradle Cap Remedies Using Essential Oils

Here is an effective way to treat cradle cap. You need:
  • 1 drop of Eucalyptus lemon oil
  • 1 drop of Geranium
  • Diluted in 2 tablespoons of Almond oil (Although olive oil is generally recommended, it may be too heavy for a baby's scalp)
Mix the oils well and use the mixture as a massage oil. Apply it to the baby's scalp with your fingertips and massage very gently, taking care not to exert pressure on the fontanelle. Once you feel that the scales have softened, use a fine comb and gently comb the scales out. If your baby does not have any hair, use a soft towel and gently rub the baby's head. After massaging and combing, wash the baby's head with a mild, baby shampoo.


Natural Cradle Cap Remedies Using Herbs

Herbs that make effective cradle cap remedies include:
  • Calendula: Calendula is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. It also helps to promote healing. You may want to get a natural mild shampoo that has calendula as one of its main ingredients.
  • Gotu Kola: Indian ayurvedic tradition has long used gotu kola to treat a wide range of skin diseases. It has anti-inflammatory properties and when used topically supports skin tone.
  • Viola: This herb has a long medicinal history as a topical treatment of many skin conditions including cradle cap and eczema.
  • Red Clover: Red clover is anti-inflammatory and a blood purifier. It can be used internally and topically to treat skin problems such as cradle cap.
  • Burdock: This herb (burdock root or seeds) is also a blood purifier. It is especially effective for treating dry or scaly skin conditions, such as eczema and cradle cap.
After washing your baby's head with a mild baby shampoo, you can rinse your baby's scalp with an infusion of burdock root. Or for synergistic effect, make a rinse using infusions of red clover, viola, and burdock.

Alternatively, get a natural product like this one:

CradleClear Lotion for Treating Infant Cradle Cap

CradleClear Lotion is a 100% natural formula which contains almond oil and herbal extracts of viola, calendula, and gotu kola. Use it to massage your baby's scalp, followed by washing with a mild, baby shampoo.


Natural Cradle Cap Remedies - Mother's Diet

If you are breastfeeding your baby, consume foods rich in vitamin B6 and zinc. Cradle cap has been linked to low levels of vitamin B6. Zinc is also important for healthy skin formation.

Foods rich in vitamin B6 include whole grain cereals, nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables, fish, and bananas.

Foods rich in zinc include chicken, eggs, shrimp, potatoes, carrots, beans, parsley and nuts, especially pecans, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.


Bove, M. An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children. (McGraw-Hill, 2001)
Worwood, V.A. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. (New World Library, 1991) (

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