cradle cap in older children - Bubbablue and me

Cradle cap in older children and how to cure it

Many people have never heard of cradle cap until they have a baby and their beautiful baby ends up with a scaly flaky scalp. I hadn’t even noticed N’s because it wasn’t scaly or flaky. It just looked like he had freckles over part of his head. But then a health visitor was talking to another mum at Baby Café when N was about 6 months old and I realised that his might have been cradle cap too.

cradle cap in older children - Bubbablue and me

*Contains affiliate links

What is cradle cap?

It’s a harmless skin condition, usually yellow scaly greasy patches on the scalp of new babies sometimes with a bit of redness underneath. It’s not usually itchy or irritating for the baby.

For some it goes away on its own, other babies need a bit of help with natural oils like olive oil said to be good to rubbing and leaving on until the flakes can be rubbed away. You can also use mild baby shampoo and then brush off.

With N we used some Dentinox shampoo. Olive oil isn’t the most pleasant, and is a faff, plus we didn’t see much difference because his wasn’t scaly or flaky. Dentinox did help but you need to keep using it, and given N’s hair is so short and just flops into place, we don’t wash it frequently, and we never really combed or brushed his hair. So the cradle cap never really disappeared.

Cradle cap in older children

I always thought children just grew out of cradle cap and most do. But speaking to the hair dresser, she said she still sees a lot of it in primary age children. I suppose once their hair grows you forget it’s there unless you’re doing a head lice treatment and examining their hair.

In older children, cradle cap is usually just referred to as dandruff. Dandruff to me always makes me think of white bits on shoulder and in the hair, and I don’t see that with N. He still just has darker freckles amongst his hair. Yes, we can use Dentinox occasionally, but it never really makes that much difference. And I don’t fancy oil everywhere – it’s not the nicest once your children have hair to have it slicked down and then spread around the house.

So what can you do to get rid?

It seems if you don’t want to coat them in olive oil 15 minutes before bathtime, then an over the counter dandruff shampoo maybe worth a try. I’ve bought head and shoulders dandruff shampoo in the hope that will help, but as N sorts himself out in the shower, I doubt it gets used much at all.

Combing regularly should also help, although we’ve not found it does much – unless the scalp is quite flaky. Using an Nitty Gritty nit comb or an alternative is probably the best option with older children.

If nothing is helping and it’s irritating them, then a trip to the doctor to check it’s not something else is an option.

We’ll be trying out more regular shampooing and combing, and hopefully it’ll gradually go.

Do your children still suffer with cradle cap? How did you get rid?

Why not take a look at these similar posts.

good playdate roles of a parent 4 boys on a day out

Love it? Share it


  1. I had the same issue with craddle cap with my 9 year old. I used oils, doctor’s precriptions and so many other remedies I can’t even remember and nothing worked. After all the remedies, I let him only wash his hair with his hands and water for a week. As you can imagine, being a busy little boy the water didn’t really do something about the smell of the hair. Out of desperation, I bought Johnson’s Baby Conditioning Shampoo and let him use that and within a week or so his craddle cap was gone. It is now 6 months later (only washes his hair every 2nd day) and I am so relieved that it worked and is still working. No more cradle cap! I hope this will help another mum just like me.

      1. We also tried Head and Shoulders, but it didn’t work for us.
        I think it will be good to first do a week of only “water washing”. This helps to clear the scap of all the soap and other ingredients. Thereafter just use the Johnson’s Baby Conditioning Shampoo and rinse well.
        I wish you all the best. Please let me know if this works for you.

  2. My daughter is 8 and still suffers from cradle cap. It gets worse at times. I have two medicated shampoos from the doc but it’s still there. Tonight i am letting her sleep with a shower cap and olive oil on her head. There are spots where her hair has thinned but unless she wears it up you can’t see it. I have used baby oil, coconut oil and this over night treatment is a first. Wednesday i take her to a dermatologist. I just wish it would go away. Sometimes she itches and makes spots bleed so i Place a either neosporine or cortisone. Her pediatrician keeps saying she will grow out of it. I am still looking for answers.

    1. Frustrating isn’t it. I need to get washing N’s hair properly again with dentinox or see if head and shoulders works now he’s a bit older. His is like freckles, it doesn’t actually come off and isn’t flaky. He doesn’t comb his hair either because it’s so fine and flops into place so we need to start doing that daily too.

Comments are closed.