Home care measures include washing your baby’s scalp daily with a mild shampoo. This can help the parent to loosen and remove the scales. Gentle washing or emollient use with brushing to remove scales is the basic treatment for cradle cap. At no time should parents scratch cradle cap scales.
Antifungal treatments such as ketoconazole have proven effective in treating cradle cap. This lends credence to the theory that yeast is a contributing factor in its presence. However, there has been an argument that ketoconazole 2% shampoo and hydrocortisone 1% cream, while effective, may be no better than a placebo.
Other treatments that have been used to address ISD include softening agents and treatments used for adult seborrheic dermatitis. These include antifungals and corticocsteroids. Still, the safety and effectiveness in treating cradle cap remains uncertain pending further studies.
Olive Oil and Future Studies
Olive oil, which has been used to treat seborrheic dermatitis in adults, has also been explored for cradle cap treatment. While risk-free, concern rises when considering the previously mentioned Malassezia yeast. It may even prove counterproductive to use olive oil as cradle cap treatment. Malassezia actually thrives in olive oil. Thus, it has been suggested that olive oil and other organic oils shouldn’t be used to treat these kinds of inflammatory skin diseases.
A published study from 2019 noted that studies should be conducted using treatments such as mineral or vegetable oils, emollients, shampooing and brushing to remove scales, antifungal agents like azole, steroids, or salicylic acid topical treatments.