15+ Easy & Effective Natural Remedies for Cradle Cap in Babies

15+ Easy & Effective Natural Remedies To Treat Cradle Cap in Infants

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Anshu Sethi (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

Cradle cap is a common condition of the skin that occurs in babies. It appears as snowy flakes of skin on the scalp of the head, very similar to the dandruff adults. It can be associated in some children with patchy hair loss, itching, inflammation, redness and even some infections. Medically termed infantile seborrheic dermatitis, the condition is primarily caused due to the over-secretion of oil glands in the skin that facilitates the clogging of the pores in the skin with dead cells. This can occur due to reasons like the passing of the mother’s hormones to the baby, Malassezia yeast infection, improper hygiene, and some nutritional deficiencies. There are certain home remedies for cradle cap that we will now take a look at.

16 Must Try Cradle Cap Home Remedies for Babies

Below listed are some of the effective home remedies that you can try at home to counter cradle cap in small babies. All these home remedies can be applied and washed off with some mild baby shampoo or with special shampoos prescribed by the paediatrician for cradle cap.

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has always been used as an antifungal and antibacterial agent for small bruises. It is very effective in countering the infections occurring in babies with cradle cap. It is very easily available and also functions as a good moisturizer for the scalp. Take a couple of drops of coconut oil in your hand and warm it by rubbing it between your palms. Now, apply the oil on the areas of the baby that are affected and massage gently. Let it rest for about twenty minutes and brush off any flakes of scalp tissue that may have dislodged during the massage. After twenty minutes, wash off the oil with lukewarm water and shampoo. 

Coconut Oil

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar works by reducing the dryness of the scalp. Mix two portions of apple cider vinegar with one portion of water to dilute it. Apply this mixture on the scalp and leave it for about fifteen minutes. Wash off the liquid from the hair with warm water and repeat it twice in a week. Make sure it does not get into the baby’s eyes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

3. Vaseline

Vaseline or any purified petroleum jelly helps maintain the moisture of the skin and prevents it from becoming dry. It also helps in removing the dead skin from the head. You can take a spoonful of Vaseline, apply it over the scalp and leave it overnight. The next day, wash it with water and apply some mild shampoo to rinse off the jelly.

Petroleum Jelly

4. Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the best oils especially for the skin as it contains vitamin E. The vitamin E in olive oil nurtures the skin and protects it from infections. Apply a few teaspoons of olive oil and gently massage the scalp with it. Let it rest for a few hours or even overnight and rinse off with a mild shampoo to get a nourished scalp. It is one of the best natural remedies for cradle cap in infants.

Olive oil

5. Baking Soda

Although baking soda sounds like a very strong substance for babies, it helps in treating cradle cap by absorbing the excess oil that is responsible for clogging the pores. Apply a diluted mixture of baking soda in water over the scalp and wash it off after fifteen minutes. The alkaline pH of the soda neutralizes the pH on the scalp and makes it easy to remove the flakes from the scalp. This remedy, however, is preferred more for toddlers as opposed to infants.

Baking soda

6. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil available in select drug stores is a popular anti-acne medicine used by adults. Using the same principle, it works for cradle cap in babies also, by controlling the excess secretion of oil glands. To use tea tree oil, mix it in a ratio of 1:10 with almond oil and use the diluted tea tree oil on the scalp by gently massaging it. Leave it for absorption for about twenty minutes and wash it off with baby shampoo.

Tea tree oil

7. Vegetable Oil

Any vegetable or mineral oil available in the market is also a good remedy for cradle cap. It can be used to soothe the skin of the baby and loosen the scale formation. It can be applied and left for about two hours for soaking, before washing with safe baby shampoo.

Vegetable oil

8. Shea Butter

Shea butter available in the market is a great moisturizer and also soothes the infected skin. Apply a generous portion of shea butter on the scalp of the baby. Allow it to act on the scalp and slowly scrub off the flaky layer from the skin using a soft brush. You can mildly wipe off the cream with a soft cloth or wash it off with water.

Shea butter

9. Baby Brush

Many baby brushes are available in the market that have soft and flexible bristles. Comb the scalp with a baby brush at regular intervals to even out the skin and remove the dead skin. This not only helps in maintaining hygiene but also prevents further blocking of pores in the scalp.

Baby brush

10. Avocado Oil

Avocado is known for its nutritional value, and the oil extracted from the fruit is loaded with essential chemicals that effectively fight fungal infections. Dilute avocado oil in ten portions of tea tree oil and prepare a mixture to apply to the scalp. Let it rest for roughly fifteen minutes and rinse it off with a safe shampoo. Care should be taken to avoid any contact with the eyes.

Avocado oil

11. Breast Milk

Breast milk is a magic potion that is filled with all kinds of nutrients and antibodies. It is well known that it is critical for the growth and immunity of a newborn baby. However, it has been used for a long time as a home remedy for cradle cap. A small amount of breast milk can be applied to the head to soothe and calm the sensitive skin. It is harmless to the baby’s skin and can stay for even longer periods of time.

Breast milk storage

12. Medicated Baby Shampoo

Some mild baby shampoos that have anti-fungal action are available over the counter in several drug stores. You can dilute it and use it to wash your baby’s scalp every day or once in two days to clean the surface. Shampooing removes the dead cells and also prepares the surface to remove any fungal infections.

Baby shampoo

13. Almond Oil

Almond oil is another important oil that is rich in vitamin E. It is generally suggested as a home remedy for healthy skin, and it works very well for cradle cap too. Almond oil should be applied to the infected sections of the scalp and massaged. After allowing it to act for some time, you can wipe it off with a wet cotton cloth.

Almond oil

14. Calendula

Calendula is a herb that is known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Calendula cream can be applied in areas of severe infection. It is a completely safe and herbal solution to cradle cap and is available in the market as well. Although it works wonders on cradle cap, the only downside of this remedy is that these creams are slightly expensive.


15. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has a cooling effect on the body and is incorporated in many medicinal preparations used for skin infections. Aloe vera gel can be freshly prepared from the cuttings of a plant and processed to apply on the head. Due to its cooling effect, it must be used with caution on babies. The gel can be left on for a few minutes to ease the inflammation.

Aloe Vera

16. Oatmeal

Grind plain oatmeal into a fine powder and mix it with water to create a thick paste. Apply this paste to the baby’s scalp, gently massaging it in circular motions. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Oatmeal can help exfoliate and soothe the affected area.


1. How Long Does Cradle Cap Take to Go Away in Babies?

Cradle cap typically goes away on its own within a few weeks to several months. It usually clears up by the time a baby is one year old. Cradle cap natural treatment, such as regular washing and gentle brushing, can help speed up the process.

2. Does Cradle Cap Increase Hair Fall in Children?

Cradle cap itself doesn’t directly cause hair fall in children. It’s a common, usually harmless skin condition that affects the scalp. Hair loss can occur if the cradle cap is severe and the baby scratches the affected areas excessively, but it’s the scratching, not the condition itself, that leads to hair loss. To prevent this, keep your baby’s nails trimmed to avoid excessive scratching and try preventing cradle cap naturally.

Cradle cap is a common condition among infants and getting rid of cradle cap can be easily done with natural home remedies. You can consult your pediatrician if the condition does not subside. Maintaining a good level of hygiene and using a humidifier can greatly help in preventing the occurrence of cradle cap.


1. Cradle Cap; Seattle Children’s Hospital; https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/cradle-cap/

2. Falusi. O; Seborrhea (Pediatrics in Review); American Academy of Pediatrics; https://publications.aap.org/pediatricsinreview/article-abstract/40/2/93/35244/Seborrhea; February 2019

3. Pupala. S, Rao. S, Strunk. T, Patole. S; Topical application of coconut oil to the skin of preterm infants: a systematic review (European Journal of Pediatrics); Springer Link; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00431-019-03407-7; July 2019

4. Schwartz. R, Janusz. C, Janniger. C; Seborrheic Dermatitis: An Overview (American Family Physician); American Academy of Family Physicians; https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2006/0701/p125.html; July 2006

5. Sebborheic Dermatitis: Overview; American Academy of Dermatology Association; https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/seborrheic-dermatitis-overview

6. Seborrheic Dermatitis in Children; National Eczema Association; https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/children/seborrheic-dermatitis/

7. Al-Waili. N S; Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of crude honey on chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff (European Journal of Medical Research); National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11485891/; July 2001

8. Cradle cap; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cradle-cap/symptoms-causes/syc-20350396

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