How to Prevent Cradle Cap in Babies & African American Babies


When babies are born, they may bring with them a whole lot of mixed emotion. One thing that is likely to occur soon is cradle cap. Are you wondering how to prevent cradle cap? This could be how to prevent cradle cap in babies or how to prevent cradle cap from spreading and returning. Below are the details.

How to Prevent Cradle Cap

Cradle cap can be experienced by both grownups and little ones. Knowing this is important as it helps in dealing with and knowing how to prevent the condition. This can be done before any of it occurs or after successful cradle cap treatment. There are different ways on how to prevent cradle cap. These are as discussed below.

Baby shampoo prevents eczema and topical dermatitis
Use baby shampoo

Thorough shampooing: regular shampooing of the scalp is a very simple yet effective way of ridding the scalp off cradle cap. It is known that cradle cap thrives on skin that is oily. This could be caused by an over-production of sebum. In babies, these results from hormones passed on to them by their mothers. With too much of this on the scalp, the dead skin cells are not shed but instead stick on the scalp.

By regularly shampooing the hair, these effects are mitigated. This is enhanced by the fact that the shampoo will gently strip off the excessive oil. When shampooing, rinse and repeat for the best results. Doing this twice or thrice in a week is a method enough to prevent the condition. Overdoing it may backfire as the skin may be prompted to produce more oil to protect the skin.

Biotin supplements: Biotin is important for healthy skin as well as for the development of the embryo. People who are healthy can get enough of this from their regular diets. The intestines also contain it as there are some bacteria that produce it. Some pregnant women may experience biotin deficiency. Taking their supplements while nursing could help in ensuring the skin of the little one remains healthy and thus prevent cradle cap. However, there is no scientific evidence that this works. [Source:]

You can get rid of cradle cap at home (picture courtesy of MoodySisters)
You can get rid of cradle cap at home (picture courtesy of MoodySisters)

Exfoliation: In case the cradle cap has started forming already, one could prevent it from developing further. This can be done by rubbing the area down. This will act as a very mild form of exfoliation. It will help in getting rid of the existing flakes. The process can be accomplished using bare hands in adults. However, to be gentle enough in babies use baby cradle cap brush or comb. These can also be used by adults but not shared.

The brushing should be done frequently to ensure there is no build up of dead skin cells. The process is best carried out when the hair is moist. This could be after shampooing or after one has had the scalp soak in some oil. Another item that could help in exfoliation is a terry cloth as it is gentle enough when rubbed on the skin.

How to Prevent Cradle Cap in Babies (Newborns)

Waiting for a baby is always an amazing experience. However, for first time parents, no one ever prepares them for things to come. As a result, it may be alarming when some crusts start forming on their little ones head. While this is a common occurrence, it does not have to be. Below we discuss how to prevent cradle cap in babies especially newborns.

Cradle cap mostly affects the scalp. In severe cases, this could extend to cradle cap on the face. This though is rare. To clear up cradle cap from a baby as well as prevent it from forming, there are a number of things that could be done, these include:

  • Using your fingers to massage the baby’s scalp: This helps to boost the blood circulation as well as help in detaching any dead skin cells from the skin. As a result, the build up that results in cradle cap is prevented.
  • Brushing the baby’s scalp: There are some brushes such as the cradle cap brush that are soft and gentle enough for use on the baby’s scalp. Use it to brush off the scalp. Apart from boosting blood circulation, this also helps to detach dead skin cells from the skin.
  • Regularly washing the baby’s head:  using a gentle soap or baby shampoo enough times is good enough to prevent cradle cap from forming. This act helps in getting rid of excess sebum. As a result, the dead skin cells do not stick on the scalp but are instead shed. It also helps in washing off existing flakes. One should ensure all traces of soap are rinsed off.
  • Another intervention would be to rub some mineral or baby oil before washing the hair. After this cover the scalp with a warm wet piece of cloth. This will help in encouraging the shedding of flakes when washing is being done.

How to Prevent Cradle Cap in African American Babies

A majority of African American babies are born with hair that is coarse and thick. This could then be either curly or wavy. As a result, its texture requires that it is handled with care to prevent damage. Like other children, they are also prone to cradle cap. This shows up in the form white or yellow crusts forming on the scalp. Discussed below are methods on how to prevent cradle cap in African American babies.You can use a gentle shampoo to prevent cradle cap in babies and adults too

To begin with, ensure that you shampoo the baby regularly. This can be done thrice a week. Doing it every day can be counterproductive as it might strip the hair off its much needed natural oils instead of getting rid of excess sebum.  This could leave the scalp dry and the hair brittle and frizzy.

Once this has been done, brush their scalp with a soft brush. You could also use a terry clothe to massage the area. Doing these things helps in improving blood circulation to the scalp. It also helps in loosening and shedding of dead skin cells. As such, buildup is prevented. These should be done when the hair is still damp. Combing and detangling is also an essential part of this process as the kind of hair being dealt with tangles easily. A wide toothed comb can come in handy.

Of importance when dealing with cradle cap in African American babies is to ensure that their brittle hair is not damaged in the process. Deal with the condition patiently but do not allow it to spread and become severe as this could cause temporary hair loss in any kid.

How to Prevent Cradle Cap from Returning and Spreading

Once it has formed, there are various methods on how to prevent cradle cap from returning and spreading. Since it is possible that the condition is being caused by a yeast, dealing with this can go a long way. Use antifungal cradle cap creams to control this and prevent spreading.

Another way of preventing it from spreading is by applying olive or coconut oil. This is then left to soak for at least 30 minutes. One could leave it on for as long as the whole night as well. This helps to loosen up existing flakes and detach them from the scalp. Lifting them off with a comb or brush becomes easy after that.

The use of medicate topical products is great at helping prevent the spread of cradle cap. These contain one of the active ingredients known to work against the condition. They include clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine and ketoconazole.

Medicated shampoos could as well be used. These tend to contain pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid and tar.  These help to fight the fungus causing the skin condition. They come in different concentrations some of which are available over the counter while others require a prescription.

Another medicinal product that one could use is hydrocortisone cream. This is more so when the affected skin becomes inflamed or tends to redden. This will ease the inflammation and cool the skin bringing it back to normal.

Where the affected skin appears not to improve or keeps getting worse, the only way stop the condition from spreading and returning is to see a doctor. They will suggest appropriate medication. This could include prescription strength medicated shampoo or topical application products. Other times when one should see the pediatrician is when the affected area starts to itch, bleed or gets uncomfortable.

Whichever method one picks, it is important not to panic. Cradle cap is a normal condition which if left alone could go away on its own. There is therefore no need to panic. In case you apply preventive measures but still end up experiencing it, do not give up. Treat the condition and use the same measures to prevent the condition from spreading. Once it has healed, continue with them to keep cradle cap away and prevent it from returning.