The best natural oil for treating cradle cap at home
Cradle cap, also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects infants. It will show itself with flaky, scaly patches on the scalp, and may also appear on the eyebrows, ears, and neck.
Learn more about how to identify cradle cap and how it's different from a dry scalp here.
While it is not painful or harmful for infants, it can be distressing for parents to see and there are a number of natural remedies you can use to treat cradle cap at home.
Read a a full list of natural at home remedies for treating cradle cap here.
Our favourite way to treat cradle cap at home however is using oils to loosen the scales and moisturise the skin on your baby's scalp.
There are several oils that are suitable for this purpose, including coconut oil, mineral oil, and olive oil. Each of these oils has unique properties that make it effective in treating cradle cap.
Using coconut oil to treat cradle cap
Coconut oil is a popular choice for treating cradle cap due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is also rich in fatty acids, which can help to moisturise and nourish the skin.
To use coconut oil to treat cradle cap, simply apply a small amount to the affected area and gently massage it in. Let the oil sit on the scalp for at least an hour before washing it out with a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo.
Using mineral oil to treat cradle cap
Mineral oil is another effective option for treating cradle cap. It is a lightweight oil that is easily absorbed by the skin, and it can help to loosen the scales and soften the skin.
To use mineral oil to treat cradle cap, apply a small amount to the affected area and gently massage it in. Let the oil sit on the scalp for at least an hour before washing it out with a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo.
Mineral oil is a by-product of crude oil so if you're looking for a more natural based oil to use on your baby's skin, rather than a synthetic oil, this might not be the best option for you.
Using olive oil to treat cradle cap
Olive oil could be another option for treating cradle cap. It is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which can help to moisturize and nourish the skin. To use olive oil to treat cradle cap, apply a small amount to the affected area and gently massage it in. Let the oil sit on the scalp for at least an hour before washing it out with a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo.
However, studies like this one, suggest that over use of olive oil on the skin can lead to mild erythema (rashes) even in adults. The study found that regular use of olive oil damaged the integrity of the skin. Baby’s skin is even more fragile than adult’s skin and is far more permeable to the ingredients it comes into contact with.
So these results might mean reconsidering whether you want to use olive oil to treat cradle cap, especially if you want to provide a regular treatment for your baby.
The best oil to treat cradle cap
If you only had to choose one oil, coconut oil would be the best option due to its versatility and all-round safety for your baby's skin and scalp.
Choosing the right coconut oil for your baby's skin can be a bit of a minefield as there is a lot of questionable labelling of products.
You can read more about different types of coconut oil and what the right one to choose is for your baby here.
Regardless of the oil you choose though, it is important to use it carefully and follow the proper instructions to avoid causing irritation or worsening the condition.
Consult with a doctor if the cradle cap persists beyond several years or appears infected. With the right treatment and care, you can help to reduce the symptoms of cradle cap and keep your baby's skin healthy and hydrated.
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