Q&A: Which oils can I use to help treat cradle cap?

Q&A: Which oils can I use to help treat cradle cap?

Q: Can you recommend any oils that would help to treat my baby's cradle cap?

A: Cradle cap also known as seborrhoeic dermatitis, is a yellow-looking, crusty, scaly rash that appears on the scalp of newborn babies. It is rarely serious, does not arise through poor hygiene and is probably caused by mildly over-active sebaceous glands. Releasing too much oil, the dead skin cells can stick together on the scalp – not flaking off as normal. This is what causes the scales.

It is important NOT to use ANY essential oils on a new-born baby’s skin.

It is also not recommended to over-wash the scalp, as this will simply increase the over-production of sebum. Shampoo can strip the scalp of its natural oils which causes it to produce more oil to compensate! When you do wash the hair always remember to use a gentle SLS free shampoo.

To help soften and remove the scales we'd recommend the following process – which is gentle, nourishing and effective. Using a nutritive carrier oil such as Olive OilSweet Almond Oil or Jojoba Oil, very gently massage about 2 teaspoons into your baby’s scalp, covering the affected area. Be very careful not to put any pressure on the fontanel, (the area where the cranium hasn’t yet grown across – leaving a little gap in the bone). Remember to avoid “baby oil” which is just a synthetically perfumed mineral oil, which will have no nutritional benefits for the skin.

Leave the carrier oil on overnight to soften the scales.  The following day, use a fine tooth comb to gently remove the scales that have come loose.  Do not force the comb through or pick at the scales.  After combing through, you can gently spray the scalp with a little Lavender Hydrolat – which is gentle enough for babies skin.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist
Disclaimer & Safety Advice

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