Did you know that no one really knows what causes cradle cap? But we do know that cradle cap isn't caused by poor hygiene or allergies. One theory suggests that the hormones a baby receives at the end of pregnancy overstimulate baby's oil-producing glands, resulting in cradle cap. Cradle cap isn't contagious and probably doesn't bother your baby at all but there have been a small number of cases that get severe and then might itch.
So what can you do if you want to help get rid of cradle cap?
1. Gently massage baby's scalp with a clean damp cloth or a soft brush to loosen the scales. This is most effective when done after a bath and baby's hair and scalp are damp.
2. Shampoo more frequently (up to once a day), but be sure to rinse out all the soap or shampoo.
3. You can try using some baby shampoos specifically developed to help get rid of cradle cap like Gentle Naturals Cradle Cap Treatment.
4. If the scales are stubborn, spread olive oil or coconut oil on the dry patches and wait 15 minutes to let the scales soften before removing them. You will then need to use shampoo and warm water to wash away the oil when you're finished. Any oil that sticks behind can actually make the problem worse by causing more scales to form so make sure you wash thoroughly.
Cradle cap can last anywhere from a few weeks to a month or so (if you just leave it, it will take longer to clear up on its own), but overall is pretty harmless. If you think your baby has a severe case, bleeding has been noticed or the problem has moved to more areas than just baby's scalp, its best to visit your doctor. In some cases, a yeast infection could be to blame instead of it being cradle cap and your doctor can make suggestions on how to treat that.