Is Coconut Oil Safe For Treating Cradle Cap?


Everyone loves a new baby scent, especially when they're all clean with a touch of baby powder. As you care for your baby, you may notice some crusty, and flaky patches on their scalp somewhat resembling dandruff on an adult's head. These scaly patches are sparse across their head, forehead, behind their ears, and even on their eyebrows. This condition is known as cradle cap.


Cradle cap is a harmless skin condition and research has shown that it could be from hormones from the mother. The actual cause remains unknown. 



What is cradle cap?

Cradle cap, scientifically known as Seborrheic Eczema or Seborrheic dermatitis. There is currently no known cause for cradle cap. However, scientists postulate that the hormones passed from mother to child cause too much oil production and accumulate in the baby’s oil glands and hair follicles.


Cradle cap isn't a permanent condition. It mostly occurs in newborns until they reach 3 months of age. It usually goes away on its own with or without treatment.



Is it safe to use coconut oil on babies with cradle cap?

Coconut oil has been effective for many parents in treating cradle cap. Coconut oil is moisturising which may help in loosening the patches of flakes on the baby’s scalp. Coconut oil also has certain antibacterial properties which help treat minor skin infections. It is recommended to use pure and virgin coconut oil free from impurities that will affect your newborn's skin. 



How to use coconut oil to treat cradle cap

  1. Warm a small amount of coconut oil. Test it on your wrist so it's at a normal temperature 
  2. Bath your baby with warm water depending on the weather
  3. Apply a small amount on their scalp and gently massage. Take extra care of their soft spot
  4. Allow the oil to soak for 10 to 15 minutes
  5. Return your baby to the bath and wash their head and body to prevent oil build-up on their body


Other home remedies for treating cradle cap 

  • Use olive oil on their scalp
  • Gently brush hair with a soft comb
  • Gently wash their scalp with a gentle shampoo
  • See a pediatrician for severe cases



Don't use hydrogen peroxide, undiluted apple cider vinegar, or essential oils without consulting your baby's paediatrician. These can irritate and worsen the cradle cap. Finally, never scratch or pick at the cradle cap rash. This can cause irritation - or worse, an infection.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I wash my baby’s head with baking soda?

Baking soda is acidic and it's not safe to wash your baby’s head with baking soda. 


  1. Is olive oil safe for treating cradle cap?

Olive oil is safe for cradle cap.


  1. Can I use antiseptic soap for my baby’s cradle cap?

Please avoid any form of antiseptic soap for treating cradle cap in babies. Consult with your baby’s paediatrician. 

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