Washing an infant's scalp daily with a mild shampoo and brushing the scalp lightly with a soft-bristled brush can help loosen and remove cradle cap scales, according to Mayo Clinic. In severe cases, a pediatrician may suggest or prescribe a medicated shampoo, lotion or cream to apply to the infant's head.
According to Mayo Clinic, cradle cap occurs when thick, scaly patches appear on an infant's scalp. It occurs most commonly in newborns and is typically not uncomfortable or itchy. Mayo Clinic advises consulting a pediatrician if the cradle doesn't responding to a mild shampoo. A pediatrician may recommend using a medicated adult dandruff shampoo containing tar, ketaconazole or selenium sulfide. He may also recommend a hydrocortisone cream to reduce any redness or inflammation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that some parents have found it helpful to rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the affected area to loosen the scales. It does not recommend baby oil or mineral oil, however, as many parents leave it on the infants hair without washing it out, making the cradle cap worse. Nationwide Children's Hospital suggests leaving petroleum jelly or oil on the scalp for only a few minutes before shampooing it out to remove both the scales and oil.