How to Get Rid of Severe Dandruff or Cradle Cap in Childrens' Hair

by Kimbry Parker ; Updated September 28, 2017

Remove scaly buildup on your child's head daily to remedy her cradle cap.

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Scaly, rough patches on your child’s head or white flakes in her hair are likely severe dandruff or cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis. Although it’s harmless and typically doesn’t cause discomfort to the child, if it bothers you, it is generally easy to treat to reduce or get rid of the rough scales.

Rub your child’s scalp with your fingers or a dry washcloth to loosen the scales. Do this daily prior to washing your child’s hair.

Wash your child’s hair once a day while the flakes and scaly skin are present. Use a mild baby shampoo and scrub the scalp gently with your fingertips. Before rinsing the shampoo, scrub your child’s head gently with a soft hairbrush to further loosen the flakes.

Put a few drops of mineral or vegetable oil onto your child’s scalp. Massage it in gently with your fingers and allow it to soak in for 15 minutes. Brush your child’s scalp with a soft hairbrush, then shampoo the child’s hair as usual.


  • Call your child’s doctor if home treatments are unsuccessful within a few weeks. Check with your doctor about using a medicated or dandruff shampoo on your child’s head if the cradle cap or dandruff isn’t responding to home treatments. Wash your child’s hair every few days after the flakes and scales are gone to help prevent a recurrence.

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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.