What Is Cradle Cap Shampoo?

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  • Written By: Geisha A. Legazpi
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A cradle cap shampoo is any hair care preparation for the treatment of cradle cap, a very common condition that affects baby’s scalp similar to adult dandruff. Unlike dandruff, however, cradle cap does not have any itchy effect on the baby’s scalp. Although it disappears on its own, baby hair products are often necessary to use in order to stop the spread of infection. As the name indicates, a cradle cap shampoo is the specific product against cradle cap, although a mild shampoo and baby conditioner may also be used.

Also called newborn seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap often appears during the baby’s first 3 months of existence. It can, however, spread to other parts of the body and may result in a more severe and long-term condition, thus using a cradle cap shampoo is recommended. The occurrence of cradle cap may be due to either a fungal infection or over-secretion of oil in the baby’s skin. Fungal infection may be caused by antibiotics taken by the mother during pregnancy or by the baby at birth, as antibiotics kill even the good bacteria that retard fungal growth. Too much oil secretion causes flakes to stick on the scalp.


Flakes should not be removed by scratching because the hands are a perfect carrier of bacteria that may transfer onto the baby’s scalp. When bleeding occurs because of constant scratching, these bacteria can enter the skin and cause further infection. For gentle removal of scales, the baby’s hair and scalp should be regularly washed with an adequate amount of cradle cap shampoo as indicated in the shampoo label. It is also recommended to regularly moisten the baby’s scalp with baby oil especially at night then remove the oil the next day by proper washing with water and a cradle cap shampoo. The baby’s pediatrician, however, should be notified in case the cradle cap worsens or a discomfort occurs.

There have been reports, however, that baby hair products might be containing ingredients that could become infant skin irritants and further aggravate the condition. Therefore, some experts recommend the use of a cradle cap shampoo with neutral potenz hydrogen (pH), or simply one that has neither acidic nor alkaline ingredients. The cradle cap shampoo should also be low foaming because, as a rule, more foam means more efforts are needed in order to rinse off all foam and residues. If the scalp is not rinsed well, residues will dry up and cause more flakes to form. Most shampoo manufacturers add moisturizing ingredients to their products to prevent scalp dryness, while some add organic ingredients that can help alleviate cradle cap.


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Post 2

My niece had it something awful and I found a good, over the counter shampoo that worked fine. It did say it was specifically for getting rid of cradle cap, and that it was gentle and all natural.

My sister had to put little mitts on her baby's hands to keep her from scratching her scalp all the time. I don't know if it itched that much, or if she just wanted to scratch it, but the mitts also helped keep down the irritation. So, I'd say that's definitely something to invest in if you're dealing with cradle cap.

Her cradle cap cleared up in about a week once they started the shampoo on it. So it does work pretty well.

Post 1

My mom always said babies got cradle cap because they weren't bathed often enough. I don't think that's necessarily true, because I bathed my daughter regularly and she got a terrible case.

I got a prescription shampoo from her pediatrician and it cleared it up in a couple of weeks. There are plenty of cradle cap shampoos sold online these days, but they weren't as easy to find several years ago when I needed them.

I've seen several brands on the market in discount stores where they sell all the baby things. The prescription shampoo cost about $15 a bottle, with my copay. At least now, you can get some for about $5.

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