Cradle cap is the greasy, yellow scaly patches that sometimes appear on the scalps of young babies. It usually appears in babies in the first two months and clears up without treatment within weeks to a few months.


Cradle cap is common, harmless and does not usually itch or cause discomfort. It is easy to recognise by the large, greasy, yellow, or brown scales on your baby's scalp.

The scales flake and may make the affected skin look red. Sometimes the hair will come away with the flakes, but it will grow back.

It usually occurs on the scalp but can also affect the face, ears, neck, nappy area, and armpits, and behind the knees. Do not pick at the scales as this can cause an infection.

Cradle cap is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene or an allergy. 


Most cases of cradle cap clear up on their own without the need for treatment within weeks to a few months. Regular washing of the scalp with a baby shampoo, followed by gentle brushing with a soft brush to loosen scales.

Soften the scales with baby oil first, followed by gentle brushing, and then wash off with baby shampoo. Soak the crusts overnight with white petroleum jelly, or vegetable or olive oil, and shampoo in the morning.

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If these methods do not work, speak to us about using a greasy emollient or soap substitute, such as emulsifying ointment. We could also prescribe/ recommend special shampoos if needed though but remember, it is not harmful and usually goes away