Cradle Cap (Seborrheic dermatitis) is characterized by yellow or dry white scaling and redness in the scalp, face, and upper chest. The cause is unknown. In infancy, it usually begins between the 2nd and 10th week of life. The scalp can be very itchy. Most infants don’t scratch, they simply cry.


  • Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) – apply a thick layer to scalp, face and other affected area. Be sure to get behind the ears. Leave in for 20-30 minutes. This treatment is very effective but a real mess. It will take up to 2 weeks to get all of the Vaseline out of the hair, so wait until after special events.
  • Dandruff Shampoo – rinse out the Vaseline with a shampoo such as Selsun blue or Head and Shoulders using a soft brush to scrap off the scales. You will not be able to get all of the Vaseline out of the hair the first time. On subsequent days, alternate the dandruff shampoo with your favorite baby shampoo. Try to use a shampoo without scent or dye, as these can further irritate the skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory agents – hydrocortisone creams can be very effective in combination with the above recommendations. Apply to scalp and affected areas 2-3 times a day. FOR NO MORE THAN ONE WEEK.

Call our office if you are not successful in clearing most of the scaling within 2 weeks

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*Edited by Brooke Slater, CPNP on 5/20/21.