How To Get Rid of Cradle Cap in Adults – A Complete Guide

Cradle cap in adults is commonly referred to as seborrheic dermatitis or seborrheic eczema. This inflammatory skin condition is often long-term and requires constant treatment.

Oilier areas of your skin are more vulnerable to developing cradle cap. Other areas on your body can also display signs of this condition, such as the nose, ears, back, knees, chest, or eyebrows.

You may notice symptoms like yellow or scaly patches on these areas that often become flaky, oilier skin, redness, itchiness, and/or hair loss.

Causes of Cradle Cap in Adults

The causes of cradle cap in adults are uncertain, but many believe that it is the overproduction of oil in the body. And no, it doesn’t mean you have poor hygiene. Also if you’re a male, you’re more likely to experience cradle cap. Sorry, boys!

There may also be triggers that can exacerbate the condition, such as alcohol or pollution.

The culprit may also be hormones or the fungus, Malassezia. It is a yeast that grows in the sebum along with bacteria. It can cause inflammatory responses when its growth gets out of control and affects the outer layer of your skin, which then causes scaling.

How To Get Rid of Cradle Cap in Adults

Usually, medical treatment is unnecessary as cradle cap can improve on its own.

However, if the symptoms are bothersome and you want to be proactive, several treatment options can help.

See which of the treatments, both prescription and natural, below work best for your skin.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Treatments

Control inflammation with specialized ointments, creams, or shampoos. Try corticosteroids, such as fluocinolone, hydrocortisone, clobetasol, desonide. These are applied directly to the skin, but be careful not to use too often. Side effects can include thinning skin.

2. Antifungal Treatments

Shampoos, gels, or creams that treat fungi in conjunction with other medication tend to work for cradle cap in adults. These treatments may include ketoconazole or ciclopirox depending on your doctor’s prescription and the severity of your condition.

3. Antifungal pills

The treatment for cradle cap in adults also comes in pill form. This medication tends to be stronger with potential side effects. Usually, these are prescribed after several methods have already been exhausted.

4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a popular natural remedy often used as anti-acne medicine. However, it works for cradle cap, too. It does this by controlling excess secretion of oils.

How do you try this tea tree oil skin remedy? It’s simple.

  1. Mix a tablespoon of tea tree oil with a little more than ½ cup almond oil
  2. Apply a portion of this diluted solution on the scalp with a gentle massage.
  3. Leave it on for around 20 minutes.
  4. Wash off with shampoo.

5. Dandruff Shampoo

You can find most dandruff shampoos over-the-counter. These contain sulfide, coal tar, selenium, salicylic acid, or zinc pyrithione–all of this help contain that itchy feeling or flakiness.

Dandruff shampoo is not meant to be used daily. Although, this can be the case at first. Once your skin condition improves, you can lessen use. Follow your prescription and the instructions on the bottle. Let the shampoo sit on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing.

If your dandruff shampoo isn’t as effective as before, try alternating between different brands or cradle cap shampoo.

6. Lifestyle Factors

Some lifestyle factors can trigger cradle cap in adults. Know your skin and figure out which of these common triggers aggravate the condition.

Too much or too little sun exposure can both worsen cradle cap in adults. Make sure you get a healthy dose of the sun every once in a while.

Have you noticed your symptoms worsen during a cold? This is because being sick lowers your immune system which can trigger the symptoms. Also, stress is another factor. During times of increased stress, your skin will tend to get inflamed.

This means you should get enough sleep and nutrition to support your body’s needs.

Cold and dry climates, as well as heavy alcohol use, are also things to watch out for.

7. Moisturize the Scalp

This is a variation of the Tea Tree Oil treatment mentioned earlier. Moisturizing the scalp helps diminish the appearance of flakes and nourishes dry skin. It’s a safe method and is relatively easy to do.

You’ll need olive, jojoba, coconut, almond, or baby oil.

Apply a tiny amount to your scalp and gently massage. Leave it on for around 15 minutes. Afterward, thoroughly wash out the oil with shampoo.

8. Wash Scalp Regularly

If cradle cap in adults is caused by excess sebum on the skin, then washing your scalp keeps its development at bay. Just make sure that you regulate washing to avoid an excessively dry scalp.

9. Finally, Find What Works for You

With a good skincare routine and treatments, while avoiding triggers, you can manage cradle cap. It’s not contagious and symptoms don’t usually last, so don’t stress over it.

The trick is to keep going at and find the best combination of treatments that work for you. Stay healthy and avoid the particular factors that trigger the onset of cradle cap.

When To Ask for Medical Help

Doctors can help formulate and prescribe the ideal medication and treatment for you to manage your cradle cap. Ask them for a prescription for more severe cases, when it becomes too uncomfortable, you’re sleep schedule is affected, and/or you become distracted at work.

If it affects your mental health and fear that your skin has become infected, please seek help from a trusted medical professional.

Sarah Morgan

Chief editor of and striving mom-extraordinaire.Let me share and inspire you with my daily struggles to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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