Dylan occasionally has a flaky scalp — the dreaded cradle cap that repulsifies a perfectly cute baby the way a monstrous booger or an eye-watering diaper will — and over the last few days it worsened into Ally-Sheedy-in-The-Breakfast-Club proportions. I tried moisturizing his head with some baby oil, but I couldn’t get it rinsed clean so he looked even worse afterwards, his hair greasy and slicked into weird swirls like a particularly seedy used-car salesman, the dry skin clinging tenaciously to his Exxon-head in gross yellowy flakes.

I had a vague memory of some recommendation to use a pure, natural oil, and BabyCenter confirmed the advice, so this afternoon right before his nap I thoroughly basted the top of his head with a massive amount of extra virgin olive oil. I didn’t mean to use quite so much but when I poured it into my palm it came out in a startling glug-glug-glug and I issued a little shriek of surprise and immediately turned to him and rubbed it in, the whole dripping slimy handful of it, my brain apparently unable to think of any other course of action (let it drip in the sink? Blot with a paper towel? No, let’s just wipe it on the nearest infant).

He was as slippery as a Crisco-coated otter and smelling like something that should be consumed with a loaf of french bread and some balsamic vinegar, and since he was getting tired and perhaps justifiably cranky I figured I’d let it soak in and deal with the mess later, but something told me to re-check that web page and sure enough the next paragraph after “some parents find an oil remedy helpful” was this: “the last thing you want to do is leave oil on his head, which could clog the pores and cause the flakes to stick“.

So I had to take him in the bath with me and shampoo his head about six hundred and fifty million times because wow, a gallon or two of olive oil is a bitch to get out of someone’s hair, and it looks like it maybe did the trick but he still smells like salad dressing and now my bathtub has a ring of some sort of . . . organic oil-and-baby-schmutz substance.

Next time, I’m just doing this:

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Jem
Jem
14 years ago

Ha. I remember when I was 15, I tried putting a little bit of olive oil in my hair to smooth it down, I can’t remember. But I ended up making it look…pretty much how you just described, and of course I didn’t have time to wash it out, so I went to school and was mocked endlessly. *sigh*

And then about two years ago I tried putting it through my entire hair, just to see how it’d look, or if it’d help moisturise it. It didn’t. *sigh*

Naomi in Oz
14 years ago

I found that EVOO didn’t work as well as ummm “not-virgin” olive oil. I used to rub it in a little bit at a time and then gently lift if off with a comb.
The joy of kids just keeps on giving, doesn’t it?
I think you should buy him a rastafarian beanie…

Kate
Kate
14 years ago

Try Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns. You can buy it tons of places, such as babies r us. My daughter had terrible cradle cap, and I used all sorts of crap (baby oil! and a toothbrush!) but the shampoo, which also foams nicely, took care of it within a few days and was beyond easy. And then I kept using it until the bottle ran out, because it’s not medicinal at all. I only switched back to J&J because I like the smell.

ellie
14 years ago

i’ve not tried this yet, but i’ve heard (on various cancer-related “how to deal with that blasted flaky scalp” web sites) that if you rub listerine (any flavour will do but it has to be listerine or a direct copy – no other mouthwash brand or type will do) on his scalp with a cotton ball or make-up pad it will take care of the cradle cap and not make him smell like a dinner course. i’ve been using leave-in conditioner to take care of the flakes – but that might be a bit too much for dylan’s head. good luck…ellie

All Adither
14 years ago

God, we had awful, disgusting cradle cap that nothing remedied. It just went away with time.

~Amanda~
~Amanda~
14 years ago

Crusty scalp or not Dylan is so freakin’ cute! :)

I have a red headed daughter. We are blessed aren’t we. ;)

Mrs. Breedorf
14 years ago

We once spent a rather fun afternoon slithering around nekkid in EVOO on some contractor’s sheeting but regretted it later when we couldn’t wash it out of our hair.

Magpie
14 years ago

I always thought cradle cap sounded so cuuute. Now that I know what it is, I’m completely grossed out. Poor kid.

lucidkim
lucidkim
14 years ago

That brings back memories…my daughter’s head looked like it was matted with sticky fluff of some kind or something like that…it made me think of how it might look if shampoo had been glued to her head. I’ve blocked most of it (she’s 6 now)…I can’t remember what I bought (or did) that finally worked…but your telling of this is hilarious (as always). :)

kim

Georgia
14 years ago

“let’s just wipe it on the nearest infant” is possibly the best thing I’ve heard this entire weekend…or best thing I read, I should say. Whatever.

AndreAnna
14 years ago

I’m not one for throwing at advice because I know that what works for some doesn’t wor for all, but this Gentle Natural’s Cradle Cap Care worked phenomenally fast. You can get it in Target. It’s that natural line of products with Winnie The Pooh on them.

It’s not that greasy, gets the scales off quick, and smells so good, you’ll try and actually shove your baby up your nose holes.

Sarah Lena
14 years ago

I second the Gentle Natural’s recommendation; both their cradle cap care and their eczema wash worked AMAZINGLY well on Tony. Expensive for what you get, but the results are worth it.

Also, for cradle cap, my pediatrician recommended Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo, which is an anti-dandruff shampoo made from tar. I was kind of iffy at first, but it SERIOUSLY worked. We still use it to this day on him, and his hair gathers him complements every where we go.

Deanna
Deanna
14 years ago

Actually what worked the best for us- after trying all of the afore mentioned options- was the teeniest bit of head and shoulders. The nurse mentioned it and I had a sample size bottle so we’d use just enought to coat our fingertips. (and yes we were super careful not to get it in baby’s eyes etc). Worked like magic!

Joanne
14 years ago

My girl has an issue with this and has for these last EIGHT months! I can’t get over how long she’s had it. BUT the only thing that worked for us was also the simplest. I just comb at it when she is in the tub. I kept waiting until I went and got a baby comb, which of course I never did, so I finally just used the close side of the comb that came with my husband’s clippers and voila – it has been so, so, SO! much better. Also, we comb it up into a fauxhauwk which is a-dorable. Before the comb, I tried baby oil, shampoo and vitamin e oil. The best of those, for us, was the e oil because it’s sticky and it lifts it up a little bit. Good luck!

erin
erin
14 years ago

All three of our boys had serious cradle cap. Each time the pediatrician recommended an adult dandruff shampoo that has whatever ingredient in it that makes it Blue. We used Selson Blue (her specific recommendation) twice, a week apart, and it was totally gone for each child. But I’ve heard the Neutragena works well too, and it would make sense that head and shoulders would work since it is also blue. Just be careful not to get it in the eyes. Leave it on for a minute, use a comb very gently to loosen the flakes and rinse. Wait a week and repeat. Crustiness Gone!
Ask your pediatrician about it and see what he/she says.

warcrygirl
14 years ago

MANGIA!!!!!!

Heather
Heather
14 years ago

Ugh, my 15 month old has cradle cap. Of course I didn’t notice the cradle cap since he has long, thick, blonde, curly hair. I just happened to be running my fingers through his hair and felt crumbly, gross flakes. GAH. I have no idea how long he has had it or if it has been bothering him. Mother of the Year to me! I’ve tried several ways of removing it and it will not go. When I do try to remove it I often end up taking chunks of my little guy’s hair with me – follicle and all!

We are going to try the Mustela since the calming miulk bath works so well!

Nicole
Nicole
14 years ago

I second this: Try Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns. My son is 2 years old and still has some cradle cap left, so I personally use the 2 in 1 Hair and Body Wash and then a comb and the flakes come right off. They won’t come off in one shot, but gradually. I live in Canada and they sell these products at Sephora. Love this stuff!

WaltzInExile
14 years ago

Maybe he no longer smells like you should eat him up, but that picture isn’t helping with that urge AT ALL. I think I actually said “Nom Nom NOM” when I saw that cutie!
And re Amanda’s comment that you are both blessed with redheads: Um, y’all’s redheads must still be babies. Cuz I also have a redhead, but she’s 3-1/2 now, and I’m having a hard time remembering to think of it as a blessing some days.

Kirsten
Kirsten
14 years ago

We used Cradle Cap shampoo a couple of times and it cleared up.

Casey
14 years ago

Cradle cap yucks me out too, my daughter gets it sometimes. I’ve noticed that if I give her a bath every other day and let the shampoo sit on it for a minute then gently scrub it (I use a wet paper towel), it pretty much comes clean most of the time.

I’m sitting here laughing and thinking about the oil ring in your bath tub. That’s going to be a bitch to get out!

Amanda
14 years ago

Hot DAMN that child is cute! You should get him a beret. And maybe a little bubble gum cigarette.

Lindy
14 years ago

He does look very nibble-able!

Laura S.
Laura S.
14 years ago

When my son was about 6 weeks old, I tried rubbing the cradle flakes off with a soft wet washcloth but instead of getting rid of crusty crud, half of his newborn hair came off. Of course I pulled this gensis stunt the morning of our 4th of July cook-out so then I had to endure the entire family questioning why our adorbable newborn suddenly looked like a balding old man.

Joy
Joy
14 years ago

Argh. Cradle cap is such an annoying nuisance. My daughter had it until about 10 or 11 months. I tried olive oil which had work well with my son. She ended up a big grease ball instead. Every time I bathed her I felt it was my mission to remove as much crust as possible. I became obsessed with it.

I did use California Baby’s Tea Tree & Lavender Shampoo & Bodywash which seemed to help some. Good luck to the Crustinator.

http://www.californiababy.com/tea-tree-lavender-shampoo-bodywash-8-5-oz.html

Kristi
Kristi
14 years ago

Our doctor also recommended Selson Blue for cradle cap and it worked like a charm. Only had to use it once. It made her smell like a nursing home for a few days, but it was worth it!

Jennifer
14 years ago

One of my daughters had this problem, we took baking soda and baby oil and made a “paste” with it and then used a toothbrush and after smearing the paste on her head would use the toothbrush to sorta scrub her head. It worked but it would come back..she finally just grew out of it. Thankfully.

Erin
14 years ago

What a cutie!!!

We used olive oil and then brushed at the flakes – after multiple shampoos to get out the olive oil it seemed to work.

Jill
14 years ago

The Mustela foam shampoo for newborns worked for us too if you follow the directions and leave it on for 2 min while he’s in the bath – which I failed to do the first 3 weeks. Mustela also makes a cradle cap cream that you rub on at night and wash off in the morning. I got both at a Bath and Body Works Flagship Store. Good luck!!

Mayzie
Mayzie
14 years ago

I know you’re going to get a ton of “I did this, I did that”, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in anyway (since our cradle cap has just been remedied).

Anyway, what didn’t work for us but might work for you. Our doctor told us to rub baby oil on his head twenty minutes before bath time and let it soak in. Then, when in the bath, wash with a small amount of Head and Shoulders (or Selsun Blue, just has to have zinc in it) (and make sure not to get in his eyes). Do this about once or twice a week and it should be gone in a few weeks.

What did work for us that we came up with all on our own – rub baby oil on his head before bath time. Let soak or not, your choice. Then take a fine baby comb and get it close to his scalp going against the natural flow of his hair. It only took one round of this and voila! his yucky scalp was gone!

Anyway, I hope cutie gets even cuter soon!

Mayzie
Mayzie
14 years ago

Oh yeah, forgot that the Head and Shoulders needs to be scrubbed in with a soft baby brush.

Sarah
14 years ago

HA! That made me laugh out loud, because dumping the olive oil directly on the baby’s head, out of shock at the excess amount? Is ABSOLUTELY SOMETHING I WOULD DO.

Best of luck with the flakiness.

Way Up North
Way Up North
14 years ago

What worked for my sister-in-law and me was a recommendation from her mother-in-law. Sour cream. I left it on for about 1/2 an hour and then washed it out and the cradle cap was gone. You should let the sour cream warm to room temperature first.

Sarah
Sarah
14 years ago

I have only my experience to share here, of course, but what worked for us (and Elliott’s cradle cap was nasty and persistent) was washing his scalp with Mustela Physioderm Bebe shampoo and then putting over the counter hydrocortisone cream on it. That combo cured it up like magic!

(we had tried olive oil, a host of moisturizers, cetaphil, eucerin, and even two different prescription ointments, btw)

Alyson
14 years ago

Back in the OLDEN days, I used a bit of Selsen Blue Medicated shampoo. Ya know, the stuff for psoryisis (sp?). Only a bit, and you have to be extra, extra careful that you don’t get it in Dylan’s eyes. But one shot is all it ever took, and that cradle cap was gone!

DH and I showered with all three of our boys when they were babies. So much more efficient than baths. We put them in the bath to play/for relaxation more than anything else. Bubble baths were always a treat for them.

Jen
Jen
14 years ago

Yeah, here’s my two cents, even though it looks like you have about a buck fifty already.
Calendula oil smoothed on about an hour before a bath, and then use a soft surgical scrubber (I got mine at Lee Valley (do you have Lee Valley in the US?) for like, a buck) and voila! Worked like a hot damn.

Shawna
Shawna
14 years ago

My doctor’s advice for both cradle cap and the scaly patches behind our daughter’s ears was Vaseline. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes and then lift the scales off with a comb and fine-looped facecloth, then shampoo. I too eventually used a surgical scrubber from Lee Valley and found it worked pretty well. I also used my fingernails before I got the scrubber and found that that worked pretty well too, although it was kind of gross.

Sarah
14 years ago

I used the olive oil method AND I left it in for nap time. My first had horrid cradle cap and I lacked this advice – he had it for two years. When baby#3 developed it I decided to nip it in the bud. I greased her up with olive oil, put a baby hat on her and put her down for a nap. When she woke up, I took her in and gave her a bath, scrubbing her head thoroughly first with my nails, then with a baby brush. After three shampoos, I removed and used a fine toothed comb.

No more cradle cap! I’ve not seen a sign of it since. I wouldn’t reccommend leaving in olive oil for more than a couple of hours…but the length of naptime? Not gonna hurt…you’re scrubbing the head afterward, anyway.

But I ramble. Good luck!

Brooke
14 years ago

We used the Pooh calendula stuff. It worked OK but then he was flaky without crust. We put baby oil on at the beginning of his bath, soap and rinse all the other parts, and then shampoo his head with regular baby shampoo.

I think the cradle cap sort of went away on its own; it was gradual and didn’t seem miraculous. I will try that eczema stuff, though, because he seems to have it and 1% hydrocortisone isn’t really helping. Dr. visit 10/6…[furiously writes questions in little notebook]

Hulda
Hulda
14 years ago
jen
jen
14 years ago

soo… did it work? hehe

I did this too but it always came out way easier than baby oil ever did. I used to put aquaphor on my older son’s head. That worked. The day I did that, he never had cradle cap again. The key was oil, THEN baby-flea-comb. So much fun.

nicola
nicola
14 years ago

Hi Linda
This is in reply to your other website post about tricky mealtimes. I’m a big big fan of the freezer and make a vat of pasta sauce at the weekend when i’ve got time, usually adding about 8 different vegetables (whizzed up in the blender thingy) and then about 5 cans of tomatoes to cunningly disguise it, sometimes add mince or lentils to make it a bolognese and then freeze it into mini portions and voila! lots of very healthy meals.
Nicola x

Kat
Kat
14 years ago

My youngest had really bad cradle cap, actually he was covered in dry red patches all over his body and my doctor suggested that I try the a baby lotion with aloe vera and vitamin e in it. I used it right after the bath as well as every time there was a diaper change, and right before bed. This was followed by a gentle brushing with a very soft infant style brush. It cleared the cradle cap up within a few days.

JennB
JennB
14 years ago

I was told once to make my own body scrub with olive oil and sea salt and I almost killed myself in my claw-footed bathtub because it was so slippery. Never again!

Lori
14 years ago

A Nordstrom girl once convinced me to buy Fekkai glossing cream which runs about a gazillion dollars an ounce. All in the name of controlling frizz. It turns out that I could have saved myself a ton o money by just buying straight olive oil because that’s the primary ingrediant in Fekkai glossing cream. Damn that shiny package.

So it could be worse. You could have spent an arm and a leg for that oil slick. Next time try Jojoba oil for the crustacean.

Someone Being Me
14 years ago

Bear had terrible cradle cap. I used Gentle Naturals Cradle cap shampoo. It is pretty greasy so you wouldn’t want to use it all the time but it works wonders on cradle cap. They sell it at Target, walmart, walgreens, etc in the baby aisle. http://gentlenaturals.com/products/cradle_cap.cfm

Traci
Traci
14 years ago

This’ll sound weird, but. Try Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (preferably a new tube). I know it sounds wacky, but I used it on my older son’s very stubborn cradle cap, and it was gone overnight. It doesn’t take very much, but you do have to get it right down there on the scalp.

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

Lori: I have TOTALLY bought that hair goo. For a hojillion dollars. DAMMIT.

allison
14 years ago

I noticed with my son that the baby oil worked ok, what I did though is applied it to his scalp and then a warm washcloth as well, just to get it nice and wet. Then I used a baby brush to gently scrub away the flakes. It helped a lot.

Hope you can be rid of the scales, he is much too cute for them. :)

Jennifer
14 years ago

My doctor told me to use Selsun Blue (make sure not to get it in his eyes) and then use a baby hairbrush and rub the scalp while the shampoo is on it. It worked over a month to get rid of the cradle cap. I tried the Gentle Natures Winnie the Pooh bottle, but it didn’t work.