It’s a good thing babies don’t wear black turtlenecks. Because if they did, all of the ones suffering from the extremely common condition called “cradle cap,” or infantile seborrheic dermatitis, would have yucky flakes on their shoulders. Cradle cap isn’t so different from grown-up dandruff and is characterized by flaky, dry skin or thick, oily scaling or crusting patches. It’s not very cute—but the good news is, it’s completely harmless.
There are a number of over-the-counter remedies for cradle cap, including Little Remedies Cradle Cap Lotion.
But if you don’t want to invest in a product that you possibly will use only once or twice, here’s how you can make an effective treatment for cradle cap using ingredients you probably have in your own home.
DIY Cradle Cap Remedy
In a small bowl, combine:
¼ cup of extra-virgin coconut oil
A few drops of pure tea tree oil
Apply this solution to your baby’s scalp and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, comb out the scales using a fine comb. Wash your baby’s hair to remove remaining residue and oil using any baby shampoo or wash product containing shea butter—I have always liked Shea Butter Shampoo and Body Wash for Babies by Everyday Shea.
If this solution doesn’t do the trick, check with your pediatrician. You might need to use a natural dandruff shampoo for more stubborn cases of cradle cap, like Jason Dandruff Relief. If all else fails, take comfort in knowing that like those teeny tiny socks and those 3 a.m. feedings, this, too, is something your baby will outgrow.
Jorie Mark is Vitacost.com’s Director of Marketing Communications and mother to three children, ages 3 to 10.