Cradle cap (infant seborrheic dermatitis) is scaly, flaky patches on a baby’s scalp and is a common skin issue. It is not dangerous but the buildup of yellow and white scales can leave a crust that might not look or feel nice. 1 in 3 children will get some degree of flaking, redness, scaling, and irritation on their scalp and skin during their first year of life. Some babies can also have seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area. It can also appear on the face (especially the eyebrows), neck, and trunk.
Bottom line up front: I recommend the Bella B B Gone Cradle Cap shampoo as the best cradle cap shampoo because of its effectiveness, the ability to use every day and the scent.
By one year of age, cradle cap is usually gone. After much research, I have created a list of the best cradle cap shampoos to try this year. All of the products featured in this article are the best selling and most recommended cradle cap shampoos on the market, today.
|The Best Cradle Cap Shampoos||Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Bella B Naturals Bee Gone Cradle Cap||Most Recommended by Parents||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo||Tear-Free Formula, Organic, Vegan||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo||Plant Based, Satisfaction Guarantee||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Happy Cappy Dr. Eddie’s Medicated Shampoo||Fragrance Free, Medicated||♥♥♥♥♥|
Best Cradle Cap Shampoos for Babies
Bella B Bee Gone Cradle Cap Baby Shampoo
Bella B Bee Gone Cradle Cap Shampoo is the best selling and most parent-recommended product to soothe baby’s itchy, flaky scalp. Made with aloe vera, vitamin E, organic shea butter and oatmeal, this shampoo is gentle enough for daily use.
Parents rave about this shampoo for its cradle cap soothing abilities. They are impressed with its gentleness, light scent, and sudsy lather. Many boasted that, with regular use, their baby was able to maintain a very soft and healthy scalp.
Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns
Pediatrician recommended Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns is specially formulated to cleanse your baby’s hair and scalp while preventing and treating cradle cap. The tear-free formula – composed of 99% plant-based ingredients, helps protect your newborns’ scalp and prevents cradle cap from recurring. The light, airy foam is hypoallergenic and specially formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.
Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo
Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo helps prevent cradle cap and nourishes dry, sensitive skin. This certified organic and vegan shampoo has been pediatrician, dermatologist, and allergy tested. Parents praise this shampoo for its great smell, potency, and safety. Although it may seem a bit pricey at first glance, it is very concentrated. A little goes a long way.
Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo
Created by doctors, Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo was specially developed for the most sensitive skin, including those with eczema and cradle cap. All of the ingredients are plant-based, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, free of harsh chemicals, and child and pet safe. For every purchase, a donation is made to local children and families that are less fortunate. This product is proudly made in the USA. The artwork on every bottle helps support local artists. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your purchase, a 100% satisfaction guarantee is offered.
Parents can’t seem to get enough of this shampoo. They love its mild citrus scent, large quantity, and how quickly it will treat cradle cap.
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo is a shampoo designed to combat cradle cap and dry skin in infants. It reduces irritation, flaking, redness, itching and irritation of skin and scalp.
While infants benefit from this shampoo it can be used on children of all ages who experience similar symptoms. Happy Cappy contains pyrithione zinc. The FDA has approved this active ingredient and it has proven to be free of side effects and effective over many years for the relief of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. This is the same primary ingredient found in the famous Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoo.
Parents praise this shampoo for how wonderfully it works on the most severe cases of cradle cap.
Dentinox Cradle Cap Baby Shampoo
This Dentinox Cradle Cap Baby Shampoo is a gentle treatment shampoo that helps provide relief from cradle cap from birth on and also prevents future cradle cap.
Parents love this cradle cap baby shampoo and one parent said this product removed cradle cap from their child’s scalp within two washes! Don’t expect a fruity scent with this product as it has a light medicinal (almost unscented) scent to it. It is gentle for everyday use, so you’re not wasting a whole bottle of shampoo once the cradle cap has cleared up. One thing to be careful of is this shampoo getting into baby’s eyes.
Elizabeth Parker Naturals Baby Shampoo
Elizabeth Parker Naturals Baby Shampoo has the same objectives as the others on this list. It works to fortify the baby’s scalp with nutrients designed to reduce cradle cap. It brings comfort from itching and irritation.
It is tear-free but like all baby shampoos, you should attempt to keep it out of baby’s eyes. The ingredients are organic and non-allerginic.
Parents are highly impressed with the gentleness and effectiveness of this shampoo. Most are pleased with how quickly it clears up the symptoms of cradle cap. A money-back guarantee is offered – no questions asked – if you aren’t completely satisfied with your purchase.
Guide to Selecting a Cradle Cap Shampoo
Cradle cap or seborrheic dermatitis is nothing to be feared from a health perspective. It is not symptomatic of allergies or infections and poses no risk to short or long term health. It is also not the result of bad hygiene.
Cradle cap is temporary and is almost entirely gone by 12 months without leaving any marks or scars.
How to Use Cradle Cap Shampoo
- Use one of the shampoos on this list to wash the baby’s hair two or three times per week. This is both a preventive and corrective measure.
- For an added bit of prevention and treatment, brush your baby’s scalp with a soft brush or massage with a washcloth while he’s in the bath. Any baby hair brush will do a great job at gently removing the scaly skin, however most parents recommend the Safety 1st Cradle Cap Brush and Comb. Massage your baby’s scalp with the brush, but be sure not to pick at the scales because this can cause irritation.
- In more severe cases of cradle cap, it may be necessary to wash and brush your baby’s scalp daily to loosen scaly skin.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Shampoo frequently. You may be tempted to wash your baby’s hair less frequently to avoid subjecting them to shampoo. Don’t worry about too much washing. If you use the gentle shampoos mentioned here and wash frequently, continuing to brush, you’ll keep the cradle cap at bay without unduly subjecting baby’s hair and scalp to some of the stronger but harsher ingredients found in other shampoos. Stick to baby hair products that are designed for babies.
- Petroleum jelly is often recommended for cradle cap. However, baby oil is not very helpful or necessary. Using unperfumed baby oil or mineral oil, without a specially formulated shampoo allows scales to build up on the scalp, particularly over the soft spot on the back of the head, or fontanelle.
- Your doctor may also prescribe a cortisone cream or lotion. Cradle cap often improves after the application of these treatments and is less likely to recur if you continue preventive measures. To do this, simply continue with frequent hair washings and use a mild baby shampoo.
FAQ’s about Cradle Cap Shampoos
What causes cradle cap?
According to Kids Health, the exact cause of cradle cap is unknown. Although, some researchers believe it’s due to an overproduction of skin oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles. A type of yeast (fungus) called malassezia can grow in the sebum along with bacteria, and this may be another factor in the development of cradle cap.
Seborrhea happens most often in babies and teenagers. In both of these times in a person’s life, hormone levels are high, which also might play a role in the condition.
Certain factors like weather extremes, oily skin, problems with the immune system, stress, and other skin disorders can make it more likely that a child will get cradle cap.
Are there any home remedies for cradle cap?
Yes. Many parents find that coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil works well for treating cradle cap. Simply rub a small amount on your baby’s scalp. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then massage with a cradle cap brush. After rinsing, wash with a gentle baby shampoo. Do not let the oil sit on your child’s scalp overnight. This can cause the oil glands to become clogged, thus worsening the condition.
Be aware that there are many popular products and home remedies being advertised as the answer to treat cradle cap. Unfortunately, most of these solutions do not work and even the ones that do may contain toxins or ingredients that are too strong for your infant. Some of the recommendations include essential oils, undiluted apple cider vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. While they may not pose health hazards, they can certainly result in increased irritation.
What should I do if the cradle cap is severe and doesn’t clear up with the techniques listed above?
At-home treatment is effective for most cases of cradle cap. If for some reason, it doesn’t work in your case, you may want to consult a healthcare provider to be advised on alternative cream or shampoo products or more advanced treatments for your baby. As a reminder, cradle cap isn’t to be feared from a health perspective but consulting your doctor is advisable if you feel like the condition is irritating baby.
What is the difference between cradle cap and eczema?
Cradle cap happens when the glands of the scalp make too much sebum (oil). This traps the skin flakes that are constantly being shed from the scalp and causes the formation of the yellow scales. It usually does not itch or cause the baby any discomfort. Cradle cap is sometimes confused with eczema. A major difference between these two skin conditions is that eczema is caused by an allergy and usually causes significant itching.
What is cradle cap?
Like infant acne (20% of infants), cradle cap is a normal condition of infancy (70% of infants) that is neither harmful nor very long-lasting. Unlike the acne, which occurs during the first weeks of life, cradle cap can occur any time during the first year. Cradle cap is recognized as flaky, scaly, or crusty patches on the scalp.
Does cradle cap need to be treated?
In most cases, cradle cap causes no discomfort to the infant, and the condition will resolve on its own. Aside from normal cleansing with a gentle shampoo, therefore, treatment is optional. If the condition seems severe or uncomfortable, however, consult your doctor, who may recommend a medicated shampoo, hydrocortisone cream for inflammation, or even an antibiotic or antifungal if an infection is present.
Can cradle cap be prevented?
The cause of cradle cap is not clear. Perhaps it can be discouraged by good hygiene (short bath and shampoo no more than once per day, gentle lubrication of the scalp).
What kind of oil should I use on my baby’s scalp?
There are a number of lotions and oils that one might use. Due to the frequency of peanut allergies, do not use peanut oil. New information about oleic acid has brought into question the use of olive oil over many days or on dry or damaged skin. Coconut and almond oils are favorites of some. Many doctors recommend baby oil, petroleum jelly, or mineral oil. The most common recommendation is that oils be applied a few minutes before bathtime and then shampooed away in the bath.
Can you pick off cradle cap?
It’s better just to wash the scalp with a cloth or to brush with a small, very soft brush or toothbrush. Picking scales that are not loose may lead to infection.
Does cradle cap cause hair to fall out?
In rare cases, cradle cap may cause some hair loss. The hair should regrow, however, after the condition resolves.
To find a great lotion that can help combat excessive dryness and itching, check out our best baby lotion for dry skin list.
Although it may appear unsightly, infant seborrheic dermatitis isn’t something you should lose sleep over. Cradle cap may disappear for months at a time and then suddenly reappear. By following the steps above, you should be able to control it.