Cradle Cap :: What’s Worked and What Hasn’t

Skin as soft as a baby.

Isn’t that what we all strive for as adults?  That perfectly, unaffected, undamaged, smooth and creamy baby skin?

Well, not if your poor little baby is suffering from cradle cap – that dry, scaly, peeling skin on his or her scalp (not to mention their eyebrows and forehead).  As I’ve mentioned in her Raffi Reports, poor little baby Mac has been suffering from some intense cradle cap (and brow) since she was only a few weeks old.

Thanks to her cradle cap, she’s been itching and scratching and wounding herself (note to Mommy :: trim baby fingernails EVERY day because they grow like weeds). It’s very apparent that’s it has been an uncomfortable feeling for her.

Thanks to her cradle cap, I constantly looks like I have dandruff because there are little white flakes covering most of my clothing (not to Mommy yet again :: try to wear some clothes that aren’t black).

And thanks to her cradle cap, we’ve gone through a somewhat hilarious series of experiments in attempts to “fix her.” I figured I’d wait until the problem had been solved to write this post and now that I see a light at the end of this scaly, snake-like tunnel, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.

Experiment #1 :: Leave it Alone
This isn’t the first time we’ve battled cradle cap.  Abigail had it as well, but hers was mild and it went away after a month or two.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as Mac’s.  With Abigail, we left it alone.  We read in a few books that it would heal up and go away on its own and it did just that.  Even though Mac’s cradle cap was noticeably more intense than Abby’s, we left it alone to see how quickly it would dissipate.

The result?  Leaving it alone didn’t work and Mac’s cradle cap got worse.

Experiment #2 :: Coconut Oil
Over the holidays, we spent some time with Travis’ parents and his Mom suggested we try some coconut oil on her super dry skin.  We put it on religiously while we were all together and Kay packed up some coconut oil for the road so we could continue to apply as necessary at home. I put it on again and again and while it provided immediate relief to the dryness and it seemed to make Mac feel more comfortable, it was only temporary.

The result?  The dryness persisted and we took a break from the coconut oil.

Experiment #3 :: Leave it Alone, Again
After the coconut oil experiment, we decided it was time to leave it alone again. We also had Mac’s 2 month pediatrician appointment around that time and her doctor confirmed that it should just go away on its own within a couple months.  So after that appointment, we crossed our fingers and hoped the snake would shed her skin. 🙂

The result?  The little snake shed her skin and new layers of dryness developed.

Experiment #4 :: Olive Oil
At this point, we were in Atlanta and we had to visit a local pediatrician to diagnose Mac’s first illness. At that appointment, the doctor asked what we were doing to address Mac’s cradle cap and I answered, “absolutely nothing – we figured it would go away on its own.”  Well, apparently she didn’t think that would happen and she recommended putting oil on her head…any kind of oil (short of motor oil and WD40)…to help “loosen it up.”  That afternoon we went home and immediately opened up the olive oil and basted her like a turkey.  It appeared to be soothing on her skin, but it was extremely greasy and sort of gross.

The result? It helped loosen up her cradle cap a bit when I took a fine tooth comb to her head, but the dry skin came back again and again.

Experiment #5 :: Sun Butter + Warm Water + Hot Towel At this point, my Mom decided it was time to think outside the box and try something super sticky…sun butter (not peanut butter because of potential allergies). I tried to stop her but when I turned my head for 5 seconds, I turned back to see a blob of sun butter on my poor little baby’s head. Oh Kiki…


At that point, we went with it. We did a few sun butter scrubs, if you will, and we used warm water and a soft baby cloth to help remove the scaly dry skin.

The result?  It sort of worked and got some of the dry skin up, but it was stinky and gross.  It honestly looked like another little baby pooped on Mac’s head and that’s what we were rubbing all over to help her skin. Plus, the dry skin came back yet again.

Experiment #6 :: Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
A few days ago we were at CVS picking up Abby and Mac’s 15th prescriptions (an exaggeration, but it was the sixth or seventh time we had gone in to get new meds for them) and my Mom and I walked by the baby aisle to see if there was any special lotion for cradle cap. We didn’t see anything with the words “cradle cap” on the bottle, but we did find something worth trying :: Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream.

With low expectations, we headed home and lathered Mac up.  We attacked her scalp, her forehead, her eyebrows, and her dry cheeks. That night, I took the fine tooth comb to her head again and Travis and I scrubbed her up int he tub and a fair amount of dry skin came off.  After her bath, I lathered her up again.  For the past three days, we’ve repeated the same ritual.

The result?  Her cradle cap is almost 100% gone and the most important part is that the dry skin isn’t coming back. YAY!!!

In conclusion, I’m kicking myself now for not taking a better picture when her cradle cap was really bad, but I guess the important part is that she’s improving and that the series of experiments were extremely entertaining.

I’m not certain the Aveeno Cream will work for all babies with cradle cap, but it’s certainly working for Mac. I would highly recommend it!

Plus, Mac hasn’t scratched herself in two days and she’s an extremely happy camper!


Until next time,


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