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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cradle Cap Cures

Around here, I lovingly refer to this scaly issue as "cradle crap". Those little flaky, crusty pieces of skin clinging to your baby's otherwise perfect head can be really annoying. It usually shows up by three month of age and can occasionally last into the toddler years. What the heck is that stuff, anyway?

No one seems to agree on what causes it. Hormones from mommy, reactions to an immature digestive system - the list goes on. One thing experts agree on is it's not due to bad hygiene. My pediatrician assures me it's not dangerous. It rarely gets to be an extreme case. Mostly it's just an annoyance to parents who are constantly flicking little flakes out of baby hair. (Never peel them off, by the way. That can cause infection.)

There are some natural and safe ways to deal with cradle cap if you are tired of waiting it out. One way is to rub olive or vegetable oil onto your baby's scalp and put a hat on baby. Wait a few hours or overnight, then take a soft brush and gently brush the scalp. I tried olive oil with a couple drops of tea tree oil, and it did help. But washing it out is pretty tough.

Aloe gel is another solution. That too can be rubbed into the scalp and left on, same as the oil. It washes out cleaner. Although I haven't tried it, chamomile tea is said to work too. Just make up a cup, let it cool thoroughly, and use it as a rinse.

I mentioned in the last posting that I'd purchased pure glycerin soap. I washed my baby's hair with this mild liquid, and to my great surprise, his hair looked wonderful. It actually laid flat and didn't float away like the feathery hair of a Muppet puppet, as I am accustomed. It's so shiny and soft too. And although there are still signs of cradle cap, it looks much better. I plan on mixing a small bottle of the glycerin with a drop or two of the tea tree oil to use on cradle cappy days.

On the "don't" side of things, make sure you don't use dandruff shampoo or adult shampoo on your baby. Those are too harsh and can irritate the scalp rather than soothe it. Most of all, don't fret. It is a condition that usually clears up with time. If it looks like it's getting worse instead of better, though, do check with your pediatrician.

Do you have anything special you do for cradle cap? Let us know! Leave a comment or email me at

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