Baby Cradle Cap

Does My Baby Have Cradle Cap? What it is, Causes, and Tips for Relief

Concerned about cradle cap? This guide will show you what cradle cap is, what to look for, possible causes, and relief.

What is Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap is a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis characterized by red, scaly or crusty, yellow patches on your baby’s head. It can also show up in other areas, including behind the ears, in the diaper area, and other folds/creases. Typically, seborrheic dermatitis will present as red, moist patches in the folds of the baby’s skin and as yellow, crusty patches in other areas. This condition is not cause for concern, nor is it contagious or painful to your baby. It may present later in life as dandruff, which most of us are a little more familiar with. Your baby may have cradle cap if you notice any of the following:


  • Rash-like skin discoloration
  • Oily or dry skin 
  • Scaly patches 
  • Thick yellowish crust

What Causes Cradle Cap?

The first thing to know is that cradle cap is not caused by poor hygiene or neglect, even if you may have heard this common misperception.  While the exact cause is unknown, some doctors think it may be caused by an overproduction of sebum, a fungal infection, or a combination of the two. If a fungal infection is part of the problem, it is possible it was the result of the mother taking antibiotics before giving birth or the baby taking them after birth.


Cradle Cap: 6 Tips for Relief

Studies show that approximately 10% of babies will develop cradle cap. There is no foolproof way to prevent it, but there are cradle cap treatments that can be used to help ward it off as well as treat it. Getting rid of cradle cap doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can take some time. Thankfully, there are some practical things you can do to help keep your baby’s scalp healthy. 

1. Using Baby Oil for Cradle Cap

Simply massage a small amount of oil into your baby’s scalp before washing. This will help soften the skin and keep it from flaking and scaling as easily. If you decide to use baby oil for cradle cap, be sure to choose something that is easy on your baby’s skin. Also, don’t forget to wash it off of the scalp afterwards. There is a long list of oils that can be used on your baby, but these four oils are easy to find and are especially nourishing for your baby’s skin: 


  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Shea butter

2. Use Eczema Friendly Products 

While cradle cap and eczema are not the same, nor do they often have the same underlying causes, they both require a gentle approach to skin care. Products that are approved and recommended for eczema are also likely to be helpful for cradle cap treatment

3. Use a Cradle Cap Brush

Removing the scales caused by cradle cap is best done with a cradle cap brush. Brushes and combs made of silicone or rubber will help gently remove scales and dry skin. Gently rub baby oil into the scalp and then brush with a cradle cap brush or comb. Rinse the oil out of the hair, then wash the scalp gently with an eczema-safe or cradle cap shampoo. To get rid of cradle cap, brush your baby’s scalp in the same direction, moving down through the strands of hair. Make sure to take the brush/comb all the way through the hair to remove the flakes completely. 

4. Use Cradle Cap Shampoo

To treat cradle cap, use a shampoo that is designed to gently nourish your baby’s scalp while removing scales and dry patches. If over-the-counter shampoos don’t do the trick, your doctor can also prescribe more effective shampoos that are also gentle enough for your baby’s scalp. 


5. Topical Cream

Occasionally, if your baby’s cradle cap will not go away with ordinary measures, and if you are anxious for it to clear up, your doctor may prescribe or recommend one of the following:


  • Hydrocortisone 1 percent cream: This cream is a steroid and is used to combat swelling and inflammation 
  • Ketoconasole 2 percent cream: This is an anti-fungal cream your doctor may recommend to help with cradle cap treatment. 


Both of these creams are more intense treatments and should only be used under the care and direction of a doctor. 

6. Give it Time

While this seems unconventional in a world where we have a cure and a treatment for everything, the truth is that cradle cap will usually go away on its own. If you find that nothing is working or that your options are limited due to financial restraints or availability, don’t fret. You may want to go ahead and make an appointment with your doctor if it starts to spread to other areas of the body. 

Ways to Prevent Cradle Cap

While you may not be able to completely prevent cradle cap, there are some things you can do to help keep it at bay. 

1. Use a Humidifier

If your baby’s skin becomes dry, it can overproduce sebum and cause cradle cap. Running a humidifier in your baby’s room overnight will help keep the skin moist. In addition to preventing your baby’s skin from drying out, humidifiers can also help with respiratory issues

2. Do Not Overbathe Your Baby

Giving your baby too many baths, or extending bath time, can dry out skin and cause cradle cap. Your baby only needs one bath per day, and make sure to keep bath time short to reduce these issues. 

3. Use a Gentle Shampoo Sparingly

Your baby’s hair needs to be cleansed even less often. Simply wash your baby’s hair two to three per week, using a shampoo that is gentle on your baby’s skin. Overwashing the scalp can dry out the skin, creating imbalances in the oils that cause cradle cap. 


4. Avoid Certain Ingredients

In addition to positive action you can take to help prevent cradle cap, there are also some things to avoid. 


  • Sulfates. Sulfates are often the active ingredient in cleansing products for skin and hair. They do a good job of lifting dirt, but are not gentle enough for your baby’s skin. Instead, look for baby cleansing products that are sulfate-free.


  • Parabens. Parabens can disrupt hormones after they are absorbed into the body. This can cause issues with skin imbalances and potentially cause cradle cap. It is generally agreed that it is best to avoid parabens in baby products since the effects are still largely unknown. 


  • Phenoxyethanol. Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative, stabilizer, and can even be used to fight bacteria. However, it can irritate your baby’s skin and even cause eczema. 


  • Ethanol and Ethyl Alcohol. These alcohols will dry out your baby’s skin and cause irritation. This is the perfect storm for cradle cap, as the dryness will cause the skin to produce more sebum, further irritating skin that is already inflamed. 

Not All Home Remedies Are Created Equal

Even though many natural remedies are safe, not all are recommended for your baby. It’s important that the treatments you use are not harmful to your baby’s skin. 

1. Do Not Directly Apply Essential Oils

While essential oils can be helpful for skin issues, and Tea Tree Oil especially is an ingredient in many adult dandruff shampoos, applying essential oils directly to your baby’s skin can be irritating and even burn. Essential oils are very concentrated and should only be applied with a carrier oil or as an ingredient in a product that has been determined safe for babies. 

2. Avoid Hydrogen Peroxide 

Grandmothers are especially fond of hydrogen peroxide as a go-to treatment for many ailments. Hydrogen peroxide is too harsh for your baby’s skin, however, and can cause irritation that will only make cradle cap worse. 


The Bottom Line

Cradle cap, or seborrheic dermatitis, is a common condition in babies under the age of one. It is most common at about three to four months of age and is not contagious, dangerous, or painful to your baby. Cradle cap is not caused by neglect or bad hygiene but by excess sebum or a fungal infection brought on by antibiotic use by either the mother or the baby, and it is easily treatable. There are a variety of remedies, and even without treatments, cradle cap will usually resolve itself. 


Parenting comes with a whole host of worries, but cradle cap doesn’t have to be one of them. As far as skin conditions go, it is common, harmless, and easy to treat.



All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  

Baby Bathtub

Bleach Baths For Baby Eczema: Our Step-By-Step Guide

Learn how to safely give your baby a dilute bleach bath, to soothe their eczema and cut down on skin bacteria.


A bleach bath (also called a dilute bleach bath) is a special kind of bath for eczema babies. It helps cut down on the numbers of bacteria on baby’s skin, and reduces the chances that your baby’s eczema will get infected.  


When you give baby a bleach bath, it helps clean off harmful bacteria that may make your baby’s eczema worse, including staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria that leads to staph infections). But the benefits don’t stop there. According to recent research cited by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), bleach baths may also directly stop eczema flares, in addition to cutting down on eczema-worsening bacteria.


With a bleach bath, a small amount of bleach is diluted in baby’s warm water bath. A bath with this small amount of bleach is actually gentler than the water in a public swimming pool. And even if baby has open skin from an eczema flare, this diluted bleach usually won’t sting. 


Your dermatologist may recommend adding bleach baths to your baby’s eczema care routine if your baby is prone to eczema flare-ups. 


Here is your step-by-step guide to giving your baby a bleach bath, to help soothe their eczema. 


For a visual guide to giving baby a bleach bath, please watch this video from the American Academy of Dermatology:


1. Only give your baby a bleach bath after talking to your dermatologist.

 Follow any directions your dermatologist gives when preparing a bleach bath. 


2. Prepare the supplies for the bleach bath. 

To give your baby a bleach bath, you will need regular-strength bleach (not concentrated bleach) that is unscented. Regular-strength bleach is usually 6% sodium hypochlorite.


You will also need a measuring teaspoon or cup, a washcloth, a towel, and baby’s moisturizer for after the bath. 

3. Wash and dry your hands before starting the bleach bath process. 

This way, you won’t introduce bacteria or irritants to baby’s skin during the bath. 

4. Carefully measure out the right amount of bleach for the bath, using a measuring cup or spoon. 

According to the AAD, if you use a baby or toddler tub for the bleach bath, you should add one teaspoon of bleach for every gallon of water in the tub. 


(Using a bucket with measuring lines to fill the tub with water may help you know how much bleach you will need to add. It may also help to mark the line you filled the tub up to with a piece of tape, and then write down the amount of water you used on the tape, along with the right amount of bleach for that water level.) 


If you use a standard bathtub filled halfway up with water, you will need to add ¼ cup of bleach. 


Adding too little bleach may not help soothe baby’s eczema, but adding too much could irritate baby’s skin.


Start to run a bath with warm water (not hot water) before pouring in the measured bleach. Then, pour the bleach into the water as the tub is filling up. 

5. Only place baby in the tub once the tub is filled and the bleach is mixed in. 

This way, you’ll ensure that the bleach is fully diluted. Never apply undiluted bleach directly to baby’s eczema.


6. Bathe baby in the bleach bath.

Make sure plenty of bleach water gets on baby’s hands and feet, because these are areas where bacteria is more likely to grow. 


Also, use a washcloth to gently apply the bleach water to baby’s face, head and neck, and any other areas that don’t soak directly in the water. These areas will benefit from the bleach water, even though they might not soak directly in it. Be careful not to get any bleach water in baby’s eyes, though.


If your baby has crusty eczema areas, gently clean around the crusty areas with the washcloth to try and remove the crusts. Do this after you’ve finished washing baby’s head and neck with the washcloth.

7. Let your baby soak in the tub. 

Follow your dermatologist’s recommendations for how long baby should soak. According to the AAD, most dermatologists recommend having baby soak for 5 to 10 minutes in a bleach bath. 


Do not rinse baby off after they soak. 

8. Pat baby dry after the bath.

Just like with all baby eczema baths, pat baby dry with a towel so some moisture remains on the skin. Then, apply moisturizer within 3 minutes after the bath, to seal the moisture into baby’s skin. 


(If your dermatologist has prescribed a topical steroid or other eczema treatment, apply that after drying, but before moisturizing.)

9. Repeat the bleach bath process as directed. 

Bleach baths aren’t meant to work right away. Rather, they’re meant as an ongoing treatment. Bathe baby in the bleach bath 2-3 times per week, or as directed by your dermatologist. 


Remember: Only start bleach bath therapy after your dermatologist says it’s okay to start. 



All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  

turmeric powder and roots

Can Turmeric Help Relieve Eczema?

Learn whether turmeric works as a baby eczema remedy, based on the available research.


People have used turmeric as part of remedies for thousands of years. You may have heard of it as a possible eczema remedy for your baby. But can turmeric help relieve your baby’s eczema? Today, we’ll explore whether there’s solid evidence to prove it works. 

What is turmeric? 

Turmeric is a spice known for its golden yellow color. It is made from the ground-up root of the turmeric plant, a plant in the same family as ginger. Turmeric has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, as a treatment for various conditions.

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties

Turmeric gets its famous color from a micronutrient called curcumin. That same curcumin gives the spice anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have been widely proven through reliable research.


For many years, turmeric has been used to treat a variety of anti-inflammatory conditions, including eczema, because of these promising properties. 


Turmeric also has antimicrobial properties, which could help fight against the growth of bacteria (and against resulting infections) on the skin of people with eczema. 


Turmeric can either be taken orally or applied to the skin as a topical treatment — there are several eczema pastes and balms for eczema that list turmeric as an active ingredient. 


But there’s not enough scientific evidence out there to prove that turmeric is an effective eczema treatment. 

Studies on Turmeric and Eczema

More studies are needed on whether turmeric can effectively treat eczema. The studies that have been conducted are few in number. Still, early results do seem somewhat promising.


The National Eczema Association reports that two studies have been conducted on turmeric and eczema, both involving a topical  cream or gel, and both from  2015.


One Indian study tested a topical cream that contained turmeric. The study was sponsored by the makers of the cream. In the study, 150 adults with eczema were asked to apply the cream twice a day for 4 weeks. 


Applying the cream did result in a 30% reduction in scaliness and a 32% reduction in itching. But the cream contained other herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties. So, it was impossible to tell if the turmeric helped relieve the symptoms, or if the other active ingredients provided the benefits. 


Another study, also conducted in India, examined the effects of a topical treatment containing turmeric on 360 patients with eczema. 


Although the treatment in this study helped relieve eczema’s itching, scaling, and other symptoms, the treatment also contained other active ingredients that could have relieved the eczema. So again, it’s impossible to know how beneficial the turmeric was.


In addition to these two studies, a 2016 review examined evidence from 18 studies on turmeric and the treatment of skin conditions. At least one study examined turmeric’s effects on eczema, but most dealt with other conditions.  


The review concluded that there’s early, promising evidence that turmeric can help treat certain skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. However, far more studies are needed (including studies on the dosage of turmeric needed for the benefits). 


As the researchers reported in their abstract, “Overall, there is early evidence that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, both oral and topical, may provide therapeutic benefits for skin health. However, currently published studies are limited and further studies will be essential to better evaluate efficacy and the mechanisms involved.” 


Should you try a turmeric treatment on your baby’s eczema?

As a food, turmeric is recognized as safe for both adults and children. But the few studies on turmeric as an eczema treatment were in adults. There have been no studies on children, let alone babies, so far. 


Still, there’s no harm in trying a topical turmeric treatment for your baby’s eczema, as long as your dermatologist gives the okay. As with all eczema treatments, always ask your dermatologist about a turmeric treatment before using it to treat baby’s eczema. Your dermatologist will tell you how often the baby should use the treatment. 


Also, when talking to the National Eczema Association, Dermatologist Peter Lio, M.D. said to keep this in mind: Turmeric shouldn’t be used as a substitute for proven medical eczema treatments, such as prescription moisturizers and steroids. It’s also no substitute for best-practice care, including the daily bath and moisturizing routine. Instead, if you choose to use turmeric, use it as a supplementary treatment, in addition to the proven treatment steps that your dermatologist recommends for baby. 


And remember — we still don’t know how much turmeric is needed for the best results, or if turmeric is effective enough at treating baby eczema for the treatment to be worth it.



All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.