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Coconut Oil for Cradle Cap: Good or Bad?

Coconut Oil for Cradle Cap: Good or Bad?

Baby seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap, is the phrase used to describe the scale-like patches that may emerge on a baby’s scalp during the early weeks of its development. 

There is no known underlying cause of cradle cap, but it could be the hormones responsible for such skin condition; an overproduction of oil can negatively impact the scalp and hair follicles.

Thankfully, there’s no evidence that the seborrheic dermatitis is itchy, painful, or uncomfortable for your baby. It’s also not contagious. But this doesn’t mean you can’t take actionable steps to remove it.

What Symptoms Specifically Indicate The Cradle Cap In Babies?

Cradle cap in babies is recognizable via specific signs at the scalp. These signs often include: 

  • The appearance of thick, yellow, or brownish crusts or scales on the child’s scalp might resemble dandruff but are more adherent. 
  • These scales can also amplify to other areas like the brow, eyebrows, and back of the ears. 
  • The skin areas may seem red and slightly inflamed; mild itching might be felt in a few cases. 
  • At the same time, the cradle cap is usually no longer painful or uncomfortable for toddlers. 
  • It’s vital to know that these symptoms might not be observed on different body parts but on the scalp.

What May Be The Significant Causes Of Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap, a usual skin condition in babies, may be attributed to several causes. 

  • The number one cause is the overproduction of sebum, the natural oil that keeps the skin moisturized. 
  • In newborns, the sebaceous glands might be hyperactive, accumulating sebum on the scalp. 
  • Another contributing element is the presence of a yeast known as Malassezia, which usually resides on the skin but can proliferate excessively, inflicting flaky and crusty patches associated with the cradle cap. 
  • Moreover, maternal hormones surpassed to the toddler before birth can stimulate the infant’s oil glands, further improving the seborrheic dermatitis. 
  • While the exact reasons can also vary, these factors play a vital role in the incidence of cradle cap in many babies.

Is Coconut Oil Good For Cradle Cap?

Coconut oil is one natural substance with a reputation for moisturizing the skin, but it might only work for some. Let’s take a closer look at whether or not using coconut oil will benefit the cradle cap.

  • Coconut oil comes with some impressive benefits and healing properties. 
  • When it comes to the skin, coconut oil is rich in fatty acids and emollient properties that can repair the function of the skin’s barrier, adding another layer of protection against environmental pollutants and debris. 
  • But all jars of coconut oil are not the same, as explained by a New York-based board-certified dermatologist:

“Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of mature coconut fruit, which are found on specialized palm trees called cocos nucifera (coconut trees),” Suzanne Friedler, MD, shared with Eating Well magazine. “There are different mechanical and chemical processes that are used to manufacture coconut oil—for use in skincare, unrefined (virgin or extra-virgin) cold-pressed coconut oil is what’s recommended.”

Precautions To Consider While Using Coconut Oil For Cradle Cap?

The purest coconut oil can work wonders for your baby over time, but there are specific precautionary guidelines to consider before you can use coconut oil for a cradle cap:

  • Test out a small amount on your baby’s head. This is the easiest way to understand how your baby’s skin reacts to coconut oil.
  • If a bad reaction occurs, stop immediately. A wrong reaction could be a sign of a coconut allergy. If the reaction escalates, seek medical attention.
  • Remember: A little goes a long way. You don’t need a lot of coconut oil to treat the symptoms of cradle cap. Scoop a pea-sized amount into the palm of your hands and gently rub it into your baby’s scalp. If you use too much coconut oil, rinse away will be difficult.

Use Happy Cappy Instead Of Coconut Oil For Cradle Cap

Coconut oil can help cradle cap, but finding a curated shampoo (created by a pediatrician!) that can relieve the condition’s symptoms can make for a happy baby and parent.

Happy Cappy’s 95% Natural Shampoo for cradle cap relief is the only formulated shampoo to help scalp flaking and irritation in children of all ages. What’s unique in this cradle cap shampoo?

It is made with an FDA-approved active ingredient, pyrithione zinc. For decades, this product has been named safe and effective for relieving flaking and scaling of the scalp associated with seborrheic dermatitis. 

As you have learned in this article, many people use the term “cradle cap” when describing seborrheic dermatitis.

Let us help you help your baby’s skin feel better. Grab our medicated cradle cap shampoo and browse our other products for relief, soothing, and prevention today!


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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What could be the significant causes of cradle cap?

One of the significant causes of cradle cap is the overactive oil glands in the scalp that may develop cradle cap because of the overproduction of oils.

How can your baby get rid of cradle cap?

The best way is to choose a medicated shampoo for the cradle cap that will contain natural ingredients that will be safe for the scalp health of your baby.

Can cradle cap affect hair growth in babies?

This specific skin condition does not affect the hair fall problem in babies, but picking the flakes might break or damage delicate hair follicles.

How effective is it to use coconut oil for helping cradle cap?

Coconut oil helps moisturize dry and flaky skin and might help loosen the cradle cap in babies.

How long cradle cap might last in babies?

Cradle cap start getting better by the age of 9 to 12 months.

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