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Do Cradle Cap Products Really Work? (It’s Testing Time.)

Cradle cap. Also known as (to myself) scale scalp, dragon dandruff, funky flakes, and newbie noggin.

It’s yellowish. Crusty. And very common. It’s also harmless (except to your ego).

I remember Elena’s cradle cap being so bad that I made her wear a hat every day. I may have looked like the world’s most sun-sensitive helicopter mom, but in reality I was just  tired of the look of shocked horror on people’s faces when they leaned over her car seat.

Doctors don’t really know exactly what causes it, but have suggested it may have roots in…

  1. An influx of too many hormones in the last trimester that messes with baby’s oil-producing glands.
  2. The skin being irritated by a yeast that grows in the oils those glands make.
  3. A dragon ancestor.

Obviously, my husband always pounced on option #3. It sounds so much cooler than, “Oh, she has a cranial yeast infection.”

Dragon ancestry absolutely gives the Taylor family some serious street-cred.  Enough to make you think twice about making an “eww” face when you spy the yellowish topper on my newborns head.  #doublewin

At the time we were fighting against Elena’s dragon heritage, NONE of the cradle cap remedies worked.  It was a frustratingly expensive hobby of mine…trying to find a solution to these funky flakes.  (hmmm…“Funky Flakes” Sounds like either a disgusting cereal or a middle school garage band…)

I had heard rumblings, though, recently, that things have drastically changed in the world of “cradle cap remedies”. So we (there is a “we” now at Mighty Moms) sent out some requests to some of the most popular cradle cap products and asked for free products samples to test.

Three companies came to the rescue.  (It’s not like we’re a huge Baby Center conglomerate.  Three is a pretty good gig for an up-and-coming website! *highfive*)

They were….

Here’s what our testers thought:

Cradle Cap Brush
By Bean-B-Clean

Reviewer:  Julianne B. and her 10-month-old daughter

Why did you ask to sample the Cradle Cap Brush?

I used the product on Sienna (10 months old) who had cradle cap on the top of her head.  It was a very small patch but it was very flaky. I had dealt with worse cradle cap several months ago with her twin sister.  This particular case was not bad, however, since she has semi long hair I was having a hard time getting rid of it.

What did you like about this product?

I liked that the product was gentle on the baby’s head.

What did you dislike about this product?

The product was difficult to use because of Sienna’s age and her  long hair.  It was hard to get her to sit still and as I moved the brush in the circular motion it tangled her hair.

 Would you purchase this product or recommend it to a friend?

Yes, I would recommend this product to a baby with shorter hair. It did get rid of the cradle cap.  I wish I had this product months ago when her twin sister had cradle cap very badly. I think it would be much easier to use on a younger baby with shorter hair. 

The Take-Away:

It did remove the cradle cap. I would recommend using it with a child who has less hair or an infant.  View Bean-B Clean Cradle Cap Brush

Gentle Scalp Lather
from Baby Pibu

Reviewer:  Shalynn M. and her 22-month-old son

Why did you ask to sample the Gentle Scalp Lather?

I used the product on my 22 month son. He has had the cradle cap since he was an infant and it has not improved. I was concerned that it was getting in the way of healthy hair growth!

What did you like about this product?

I liked that it is very concentrated, I little goes a long way! It has a good smell and we did see improvement after the two week trial.

What did you dislike about this product?

Even though the product is hypoallergenic it says on the bottle that you should avoid getting it in your baby/toddler’s eyes. This is especially hard to avoid with a toddler.  It would have been nice if I didn’t have to do it every day and if it improved the cradle cap faster.

 Would you purchase this product or recommend it to a friend?

Yes, it is worth the price for one bottle, I don’t think I would repurchase if the cradle cap wasn’t gone after using up the bottle.

The Take-Away:

It did remove the cradle cap!  Just be extra careful you don’t get any of the product in your baby’s eyes.  (Not tear free!) View Calm Scalp Lather by Baby Pibu

Cradle Cap Care with
Wooden Baby Brush
by Hip Peas

Reviewer:  Danielle M. and her 6-month-old daughter

Why did you ask to sample the Cradle Cap Care and Wooden Baby Brush?

My six-month-old daughter has a pretty bad case of cradle cap and it bothers her. She scratches her head all the time so that she has little cuts on her head. (Heather Note:  Read a follow up to this in the “Takeaway” section below.)

What did you like about this product?

I loved that the product is very natural using various oils including Olive, Jojoba seed, sunflower seed and lavender. They do a great job as a company labeling each ingredient so that you can identify them all.

The wooden brush was a huge plus as well. It is soft and also made of natural ingredients (no plastic!) I love the packaging.  The oil worked well on her head. I did need to use it every day.

What did you dislike about this product?

I do wish that her cradle cap would have improved faster… not sure how much of that is possible with this serious of a case.  

 Would you purchase this product or recommend it to a friend?

I would because I like the product and the wooden brush is a must!

The Take-Away:

It did remove the cradle cap eventually.  However, Danielle emailed me afterwards to share that she has discovered Aria had eczema.  (Cradle cap shouldn’t be itchy.)  So she may have been using the wrong tool for the job.

That said, these all-natural ingredients and the brush seemed to help a severe case of eczema, even if only temporarily, so not bad!

View Cradle Cap Care and the Wooden Baby Brush by Hip Peas.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

I was fascinated to see these results.   In the 10 years since I struggled with Elena’s cradle cap, I’m so encouraged there are actually solutions!

  • I remember trying to gentle comb her head with that Fisher Price comb that came with my baby first aid kit.
  • I remember trying olive oil at someone’s suggestion.  #disaster
  • I remember trying the cheapest solution at the grocery store.  (I hadn’t discovered the wonders of Amazon yet.)

None helped and I was left hoping she’d outgrow it.

Your child WILL outgrow cradle cap…but it could take awhile. I’m aware of 7 and 8-year-olds who still struggle with it. My best advice? If your baby has it, the sooner you can get rid of it the better.

It’s frankly astonishing to see that all these cradle cap products actually worked!

In fact, if you’re not sure of those three products above, here are a few other cradle cap remedies with high scores worth trying. (Several here are paraben-free!)

Have You Read These Yet?

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22 thoughts on “Do Cradle Cap Products Really Work? (It’s Testing Time.)

  1. I swear by Mustela. Used for both babes and not a lick of cradle cap. I give it to every friend as a gift because most don’t know about it and would never register for it.

  2. My son was born with a full head of hair and thick cradle cap to go with it. I tried Mustela newborn foam for cradle cap after seeing great reviews everywhere, but my baby would cry after every wash. The first time I thought it was a coincidence, but by wash two or three I realized something was irritating his scalp. I tried coconut oil with every wash, but nothing seemed to help until I started using California Baby calendula conditioner.

  3. I just found that taking baby in the bath with you for a nice long relaxing soak (nothing but water in the bath) until the cradle cap turns white then massage it and rinse off with any sensitive baby shampoo. Cradle cap completely gone in one treatment and no expensive products!

  4. We love Angel Baby products. The oil worked well on my five month old’s cradle cap.
    You don’t need much, just massage it into the scalp. I use the tiny, infant comb you get in the hospital, to gently skim the scalp, bringing up the scales.
    It is not heavy, so I leave it on overnight and bathe her in the morning.

  5. Yes they work. I used something I found at either walmart or target. I loved it. It came with a little white square brush. After two times, it was gone and he never had it again.

  6. Organic coconut oil, twice daily, until the cradle cap is gone. I’m a doctor and have used this remedy for my son, as well as my patients, with great results every time. Dry brushing helps skin-turnover and exfoliation, but caution, it can lead to a bacterial infection. Mamas, massage coconut oil into you belly, breasts, body and all over baby to treat stretched skin and help prevent eczema.

  7. we had only minor cradle cap, but LOVED Mustela’s foam shampoo — cleared everything up in 2-3 days.  We’ve continued using it as regular shampoo, and at 6 months, we still haven’t finished the container. I will be so sad when we finally run out – it smells wonderful.

  8. Just FYI. Johnsons baby shampoo has an ingredient in it that works esp well on suborrhea of the scalp, face, eye brows etc. and it is tear free. Using this shampoo and a scalp brush, cradle cap is easily controlled and no more tears. Of course some pediatrician a recommend harsher treatments for exceptionally tougher cases, but in my 35 years of fister care and 7 children if pnpy win, johnsons is still my referred treatment.

  9. My daughter had it as a bub. I would apply a small amount of jojoba oil to her head and massage it in with my fingers. Then I’d brush off the loosened flakes with a baby brush. Then wash residual oil off with cetaphil. Scalp looked great afterwards. Repeated whenever it started to build up again and by a few months of age it had clearer completely.

  10. I have used Mustela in the past and I was very happy with all of their products. They were used in the hospital I gave birth in. My daughter had cradle cap and the foam shampoo did a great job in clearing it up. Gentle yet very effective. You might want to shop around though, because it can be expensive. I would highly recommend using their massage oil after using the shampoo. It keeps their scalp nice and supple. Bear in mind that my daughter’s cradle cap wasn’t as bad as other babies’.

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