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Cradle Cap: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Calendula & Other Remedies

    Categories: Skin Conditions

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Can cradle cap be treated with home remedies? The answer is yes – in most cases. Cradle cap is a form of seborrheic dermatitis, which is very common among babies. It is characterized by thick greasy scales with yellow crusts, usually on the scalp. This is an inflammatory skin disease that usually clears up by the time your baby reaches twelve months. But sometimes cradle cap doesn’t clear up by itself and might need treatment. How to treat cradle cap with natural remedies? Here are a few different options.

What causes cradle cap?

Cradle cap is not caused by a bacterial infection, allergy, nor from poor hygiene. Doctors are not in agreement as to the causes, but the two most common hypotheses include fungal infection and overactive sebaceous glands.

The fungal infection can be a result of the mother having being given antibiotics prior to birth or the baby being given them up to a week after birth. Antibiotics destroy damaging bacteria but can also destroy the friendly bacteria that prevent things like fungal infection.

Another common cause of cradle cap appears to be a common manifestation of biotin insufficiency.

Can nutrition help treat and prevent cradle cap?

If your newborn suffers from cradle cap, breastfeed if possible. Breast milk educates an infant’s immune system and promotes a healthy immune response. However, keep in mind that everything you eat passes through your milk to your baby. Thus a healthy diet is most important especially if your child has cradle cap.

Your diet should aim at reducing the amount of unfriendly bacteria and promote friendly bacteria. A healthy gut supports healthy skin for you and also your baby!

  • Try to avoid refined sugar as it feeds yeast and bacteria.
  • Choose sources of essential fatty acids (from fish or oil) instead of saturated animal fats.
  • Eat foods made with live bacteria culture including yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut.
  • Supplement your diet with probiotics to help prevent any fungal infections.

Can friendly bacteria improve skin health?

How to treat cradle cap with homeopathy?

Sulphur or Thuja can be used to treat cradle cap with homeopathic remedies. However, it’s recommended to consult a homeopath to choose the right remedy and the right dosage.

What are the best oils to treat cradle cap?

There are several alternatives that can be used every day to treat skin rashes in babies. The most important thing is to choose treatments that are safe for the delicate skin of your child.

In the interview “Cradle cap in infant: what to do?“, Naturopathic Doctor Pina LoGiudice recommends coconut oil or olive oil to treat cradle cap:

As often the problem resolves itself, aggressive treatment is not necessary. However, I usually recommend to parents that after the baby’s warm bath you can apply coconut oil or olive oil to the scalp to moisten and further soften the  scales. Then with a very fine toothed comb with gentle strokes, you can brush against the scales to remove them or use a wet wash cloth and gently rub the baby’s scalp in circles. – Dr. Pina LoGiudice

Coconut oil for cradle cap

Coconut oil is very nutritious and contains fatty acids that moisturize skin well. The medium chain fatty acids can activate antimicrobial and anti-fungal functions, thus treating cradle cap well. 

How to treat cradle cap with coconut oil? Let the oil be absorbed by the scalp for fifteen minutes. Then shampoo to remove any excess oil and gently comb away dry skin. Don’t try to remove flakes if they don’t fall away naturally as it might cause an infection. Also, keep your child’s scalp clean and dry after the treatment, in order to prevent the development of bacteria.

Olive oil for cradle cap

Olive oil has many antioxidants that can cleanse, moisturize, and protect human skin wonderfully. It’s one of the best home remedies for skin conditions that create patches of dry skin, such as cradle cap.

Have you heard of Oleo calcareous liniment? It’s a “magical” cream that french people often use when a baby has cradle cap or diaper rash. It’s made of olive oil and lime water. Oleo calcareous liniment is very easy to make yourself, cheap and efficient to treat cradle cap. 

You can find the recipe on this page: olea calcareous liniment recipe for cradle cap.

How to treat cradle cap with herbs?

Calendula for cradle cap

Calendula helps heal lesions and soothe the skin. This herb has anti-viral, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties, thus making it perfect for cradle cap. Either calendula cream or calendula oil can be used for cradle cap.

Aloe vera to treat cradle cap

Aloe vera is another alternative to treat cradle cap. Apply aloe vera gel after you have dried the baby’s head thoroughly. The gel will moisturize the baby’s scalp and fight the infection as well.

Tea tree to treat cradle cap

A couple of drops of tea tree oil can be added to a baby shampoo. But, tea tree oil can be toxic so it must not be swallowed or taken orally. Make sure it is used in a diluted form and follow the instructions carefully.

How to treat cradle cap with tea tree oil and almond oil?

If your child has some signs of cradle cap, it’s important to heal the lesions to prevent further stages of bacterial infection. If the flakes become itchy and flaky, show signs of a local infection, or if you child’s cradle cap resists home remedies, please seek a doctor for advice.

Joséphine Beck, Natural Health Coach & Nutritional Counsellor
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