Home based remedies

Cradle cap often clears up without any need for treatment but it can be useful as a means of preventing any flare ups in the future.

Yes, unfortunately, cradle cap can recur although this is likely to be an occasional occurrence. These are usually mild and most cases settle down over time. Treating the cradle cap at home is a good way of preventing future outbreaks or a build up of scaly patches on the skin. There are various ways of doing this which include:

  • Applying baby oil or olive oil to the infected scalp
  • Massaging petroleum jelly into the scalp
  • Use a natural moisturiser which contains lemongrass or camomile.
  • Use tea tree oil shampoo - although there have been warnings about the safety of this product.

Baby oil/olive oil

A popular treatment is that of massaging baby oil or olive oil into your baby’s scalp and allowing this to settle overnight. This softens those dry or crusty patches of skin which can then be brushed away.

Use a soft flannel or baby brush and avoid brushing any of the flakes into your baby’s eyes. Brush the scalp very gently.

Then rinse away any debris with a baby shampoo. Do this several times until the scalp is clear. Do not scratch or pick at the infected areas as this can cause hair loss.

Petroleum jelly

Use this in the same way as baby oil. Massage it into your baby’s scalp and other affected areas and leave it overnight. This will also soften up the scaly patches of skin which can then be brushed away.

Natural moisturiser

There are natural remedies such as lotions or creams which can be applied to areas of skin which are affected by cradle cap. These lotions contain organic ingredients such as calendula (marigold) or camomile and are safe to use on baby skin. They act as an anti-inflammatory which means that they can reduce any swelling or inflamed skin.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil which is used in a range of products that include soaps, lotions and shampoos. It is used to treat a range of skin conditions such as acne, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis and cradle cap. But there have been concerns raised about the safety of this product.

A few people have developed an allergy or rash from using tea tree oil which resulted in soreness, itching and blisters. But this may have occurred from using an undiluted version. The debate about the safety of tea tree oil is set to continue. On the one hand you have people complaining of an allergic reaction and yet on the hand, millions of people use tea tree oil products without any adverse effects.

It is as well to be aware of these issues before deciding whether to use tea tree oil or not.

Whatever the outcome of this debate here are a couple of warnings which have been proven:

  • Tea tree oil must not be swallowed or digested even in small amounts as it is toxic and can cause serious health problems. But commercial products contain a safe amount.
  • Tea tree oil must not be ingested by children or used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you do decide to use it then add a couple of drops to a mild baby shampoo. Make sure it is diluted before you use it.

If you are uncertain then seek advice from your pharmacist or GP.

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