Essential Oils For Cradle Cap: How to Get Rid Of Cradle Cap Naturally


These essential oils for cradle cap will help you kick it for good. Use these natural remedies to help get rid of cradle cap without having to use dandruff shampoo or medication!

graphic on a complete guide on how to get rid of cradle cap naturall

Both my boys had cradle cap as babies. With my oldest, we couldn’t seem to get rid of it! It didn’t really bother me too much until he got a little bigger and his hair wasn’t growing in properly. I tried mostly everything to get rid of it. I tried mild baby shampoo, using a fine-toothed comb after hair washing, I even tried using breast milk to help get rid of it, but nothing worked. Then, one day, I was told to try using natural oils, such as olive or coconut, to try and get rid of it. To my excitement, it worked!

That excitement didn’t last very long, the cradle cap came back and I was doing the same thing all over again.

I started doing research on essential oils when I had kids and decided I should try and see if any could be a good treatment of cradle cap. There are a few essential oils that help with skin issues and so I decided to put those in the oil to see if it would help! After one use, my baby’s cradle cap was gone and we didn’t have to try and remove it again!

What Is Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap, otherwise known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a harmless condition where babies, sometimes even adults, develop crusty, flaky skin on the scalp. It is a pretty common skin condition in infants. Signs of cradle cap can include Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp, Oily or dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales, Skin flakes, and Possibly mild redness. You won’t necessarily always find cradle cap on the baby’s scalp. Sometimes you can find it on other parts of the body as well.

What Causes Cradle Cap?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are no particular causes of cradle cap. They reassure that cradle cap is not caused by poor hygiene. Cradle cap can develop on perfectly healthy skin.

Is Cradle Cap Harmful?

The good news is cradle cap is not harmful, just a cosmetic issue. The baby’s cradle cap usually goes away on its own in a few weeks or months. However, if your baby develops different symptoms or you worry about your baby’s condition, you should seek advice from your doctor.

How Can I Get Rid of Cradle Cap?

While the cradle cap can go away on its own, it is sometimes nice to try and remove it. Some doctors have recommended dandruff shampoos or medicated shampoos for cradle cap treatment. However, I didn’t want to go this route since cradle cap isn’t a fungal infection or anything like that. Since the baby’s skin is so sensitive I didn’t want to use anything with harsh chemicals. There are many natural treatments to help get rid of cradle cap!

Why essential oils over store-bought products?

Sometimes doctors prescribe antifungal creams, medicated shampoos, or recommend using an over-the-counter medicated ointment or lotion. Since this is not a condition caused by bacteria or a fungus, I didn’t want to put unnecessary medication on my baby. Also, these products have harsh ingredients and can cause skin irritations, dry skin conditions, and an allergic reaction to the medication or chemicals. Essential oils, used correctly, don’t pose any of these risks. they have natural properties in them that do the same thing these medications do only they are natural and non-toxic. They also don’t pose the harmful side effects of medications.

When buying essential oils, make sure you have a good brand. Some oils are chemically extracted which means they aren’t natural at all. You will want to make sure the brand is pure and third-party tested.

Essential oils and Cradle Cap

The use of essential oils in healing skin conditions has sometimes proven more effective than using conventional medicines*. There are some essential oils that can help treat cradle cap. My favorites are tea tree oil and lavender oil. Both Lavender and tea tree oil have properties in them that cleanse the skin. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and antifungal properties as well. The oils are commonly used in most skin home remedies.

There are other essential oils that are good for your skin as well. Some examples are geranium, frankincense, roman chamomile, and sandalwood. I like to use tea tree and lavender most because they are the most cost-effective and are gentle enough on the skin that they will not cause irritation on the baby’s sensitive skin. You do not want to use acidic oils like lemon, citrus, lemongrass, etc. because the acidity in them would be too harsh for the baby’s skin. Sometimes, certain oil companies will also sell an essential oil blend for the skin, just make sure it is safe for babies!

How to Use Essential oils for Cradle Cap

Finally, the good stuff! How do I get rid of this?

First, you will want to use a carrier oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or calendula oil. This will dilute the essential oil. This is crucial because if you apply an essential oil directly to the baby’s head, you can cause horrible skin reactions. Note, you should always dilute essential oils before use on the skin unless otherwise indicated! The oil will also help soften the flaky skin so that it can be removed easier! You only need a small amount of carrier oil, about 1/2 tablespoon. You can use more if needed but a little bit goes a long way here.

Apply to your Baby’s head

Add two to three drops of essential oil of choice to the carrier oil. I usually keep it in my measuring spoon and add them. Then, you will apply the oil to the affected area. If you want to use a combination of oils I will do one drop of lavender, one drop geranium, and one drop tea tree.

Let the oil sit on the baby’s hair for about 10-15 minutes. I usually take bath time to do this since I’m going to be washing their hair afterward.

baby laying in blanket wrap

After 15 minutes, take a fine-toothed comb and start combing off the flaky skin! Most of the flaky skin will come right off, some areas are a little tougher. With these areas, I usually will have to use the comb a little more or apply more oil and let it sit longer. It can take two to three times to get all of the skin off. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all come off right away. Do not continue combing if the skin breaks open or if the skin becomes irritated. If this does happen, you can try again later.

After you have combed all of the dead skin off, wash the head with a gentle shampoo made for babies. I would avoid doing anything like an apple cider vinegar wash because that can be too harsh for the baby’s skin, especially after removing all the dead skin. Repeat this process on a daily basis until it is gone. My oldest had the worst case and it took about two to three days to get rid of all of it,

Cradle Cap on other parts of the baby’s body:

Cradle cap can occur on other parts of the body as well. I would follow the same protocol except use body wash to rinse off after you have removed the skin!

Natural remedy to treat cradle cap without essential oils

If you don’t have essential oils at home, there are other ways you can aid in getting rid of cradle cap!

  • Any type of oil on its own. The oil softens the dead skin to make it easier to remove
  • Washing hair more frequently. Try to wash baby’s hair with a natural shampoo every other day to keep the areas soft and clean
  • Shea butter. Shea butter will work as a great moisturizer to keep the area mositurized and soft!

A Word of Caution: I would not use baby oil, in my personal opinon. Baby oil is made with mineral oil and fragrance. Fragrance is a label for harmful, toxic, and harsh chemicals that we should not be applying to our body. Fragrance can irritate your baby’s skin more.

When to seek medical attention

Seek medical attention from your doctor if any drainage occurs or a foul odor comes from the areas. This could be a yeast infection or another type of fungal infection that you will want to get treated. Also seek medical attention if the area starts to itch, turns red, or feel warm to touch.

Final Notes

While cradle cap is not harmful, there are ways to get rid of it. Make sure you use a fine toothed comb or a soft brush on your baby so you do not irritate their skin. If on other parts of the body besides the scalp, be sure to use a soft wash cloth or brush. Make sure the dead skin is soft before trying to remove so you do not break open your baby’s skin.

graphic of baby with cradle cap and essential oils


Cradle cap – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Tea tree oil attenuates experimental contact dermatitis – PubMed (

**These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. Seek advice from your doctor if you have concerns or questions.


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