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My 88-year-old mom has had cradle cap for 2 years after a lengthy hospital stay. The non-stop itching keeps her awake and is a constant source of misery. I've invested in many over-the-counter remedies and a prescription from the dermatologist, but nothing has helped for more than a day. Does anyone out there know what can be done to get rid of this?

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plain yogurt not sugar free but plain with no added sugar you can even put the plain yogurt on her head. I had yeast infections I cured by plain yogurt douches and eating plain yogurt
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a diary helps by documenting everything eaten and drank. my son is allergic to some foods mostly soy that causes his cradle cap by documenting everything put in his mouth is how we discovered the worse offender was soy. some days it was a combination of different foods that caused it
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she needs on high doses of probiotics kefir, acidophillus, high amounts of yogurt.
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My 84 year old mother had it last year. She found someone that washed her hair each week. The person started with medication shampoo. But the biggest thing that helped get rid of it was how the person SCRUBS her head. And rinses it throughly. It is gone and now mom goes twice a month. SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB!!!
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Reply to KatKat124
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In my family I have seen 3 different things help.  Olive oil every day for son as a baby (real cradle cap) and gentle scrap with an index card.  Of course, all his hair he was born with fell out.   Same son a few years later needed a cream containing corticosteroid, suggested by doc after oil did not work.  And with me it is prescription strength coal tar shampoo for psoriasis.  Not OC strength, not enough.
The itching is awful.  I hope you find what works for her.
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If mixing the oils, melt them down and after cooling, whip with a good blender.... and store in a cool place.
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A combination of whipped Shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, and coconut oil can do wonders for healing it-it once healed my friends babies cradle cap with one application. It soaks in rapidly.

If if you don’t have access to these oils, the most important imo is the Shea butter, then the apricot and coconut. You can try each individually, however, and see what works!
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I wrote earlier,, I have also read that dermatitis, etc skin condition is caused by the inside of your body. She was probably on antibiotics. Antibiotics kill red cells in the body and can cause all sorts of problems, it takes two years for your body to become normal. A lady in here mentioned probiotics. She’s right even prebiotic. You must build her immunity up. Mushrooms, celery any root vegetable, beets are wonderful. Maybe even a little yogurt to eat and on the scalp. Really that will probably help. It sounds more like a thrush and that is caused by antibiotics.
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Reply to DeniseMiller
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pch111 May 5, 2019
That is absolutely true. She was on megadoses of antibiotics. She is on probiotics and we watch her diet closely. Thank you for taking time to post. I appreciate it.
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If she takes oral Benadryl, does it stop the itching?

What is the product that the doctor has her using?

Many years ago, I had bad eczema and a dermatologist prescribed a cream which made it worse. He then patch-tested me for all the ingredients in the cream. I was (and am) allergic to a class of preservatives called parabens. The cure may be making the problem worse.

Are you taking mom back to the doctor?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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pch111 May 5, 2019
She is going to the doctor regularly. She cannot take Benadryl, unfortunately. I also think it is eczema.
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Just a warning. It’s imperative you keep the underlying skin intact. My mother had this a few years ago while she still lived on her own. For some reason known only to her she decided to use a new toothbrush to remove the flakes instead of her finger tips. She ended up with an abscess in her head that if had she left it go much longer, the dr who took care of it said it could have become systemic and considering the location, debated on hospitalization.
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Reply to Jannner
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Old fashioned Castle soap they sell it in most stores now. It has all the ingredients that help cradle. First brush the flakes with a fine tooth comb. Put castle soap on head rinse let fully dry natural. Heat will probably make it itch if hair dyer is used. Then put a thin dab of coconut oil on her head. They say with babies just the stimulation of brushing keeps it at bay. I’ve also used medicated Selson Blue shampoo. They have been selling that stuff for years. Physoderm is another good old fashioned remedy. It’s best to work up flake first . Tea tree oil is wonderful on a lot of problems. But be careful it can cause a burning sensation. So dilute it with almond oil or some oil first.
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Jannner May 4, 2019
Tea tree oil can also be an allergen so probably wouldn’t use if it’s a new product for you. Been there, don’t want to be there again lol
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I second the baking soda.
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Reply to golden23
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You could try the same tried and true technique used for baby's cradle cap. Just make up a solution of baking soda and water and apply it to her scalp and let dry and then shampoo out. Using oils of any kind prior to this is just going to make the problem worse. I always would try to comb or brush out the dry soda solution prior to shampooing since that is what loosens and removes the cradle cap. After shampooing use a good conditioner maybe something with tree tea oil.
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Reply to Nancynurse
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I used to use an oil called Head Oil. You massaged it into your scalp 5 minutes before showering or washing hair. It kept flakes and itch at bay. The ingredient was extra virgin olive oil and it worked well. No scent after shampooing. Coconut oil warmed and left on the flakes for 5-10 minutes before shower and shampoo works equally as well. If you are into mixing a few items, a few drops of Neem Oil, a tablespoon of Coconut Oil, and a drop of peppermint oil is also nice. Warm before applying to scalp. Peppermint can burn a bit if there are open sores and you don't want to get by Mom's eyes, but feels great on the scalp if you only have the flakes. Neem should always be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut, olive, or almond, especially if scalp is sensitive. If you would rather buy something then Target carries a nice oil called Babyganics Infant Cradle Cap Cleansing Oil. It has coconut oil, olive, almond, and grapeseed already mixed together. You leave it on for a few minutes before or during your shower. I have used all of these and all work equally as well. Really it just depends on whether you want to keep it simple, or spend a lot of money. Babyganics is about 10.00 a bottle and you can order online (I get it through Target) , coconut and/or olive oil are relatively cheap and can be gotten at the local grocery store. Once you shampoo neither leaves a peculiar scent and either will work. I get coconut oil in a bottle in the cooking oil section of my local grocery store and actually use it on my skin to keep it soft and moist. Much better than the expensive lotions in the store, and depending on the brand, sometimes I smell like a tropical vacation. Neem Oil is about 5.00 a bottle. Part of the key is in using a really soft brush to loosen and lift the cap. Buy a small, really soft baby brush, or fingernail brush, and brush her hair and cradle cap while the oil is soaking in before her shower. She will love it, flakes will wash down the drain when shampooing, and her hair will be soft and pretty afterward. The brushing will stimulate her scalp and will help to remove the cap as well as the itch. Do this a time or two before her showers and it should be gone. If you warm the bottle of oil in the sink before her shower, massage the oil in, and after 5-10 minutes brush her scalp, it will work to alleviate the flakes and itch. Then you will only have to do it periodically. Having the warm oil on her scalp and a massage and hair brushing should make her feel like she is having a spa treatment.
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Reply to Cubpiper
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You can try biolage scalpsync shampoo and conditioner. Pretty sure can find it on Amazon, or at ulta or Beauty brands stores.

And does she use a lot of hair styling products? It may be a good idea to cut back on them while trying to find something that works. They could be aggravating the scalp and cause more itchiness.
Hope this helps -
Sparkles
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Reply to sparkles87
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Apple cider vinegar rinse. Wash hair with baby shampoo, rinse with water, rinse again with half cup apple cider vinegar, rinse again with water. Yes, she will smell like a pickle, but over time the cradle cap and itching will end. I used treat myself to apple cider vinegar in my bath once a week and it kept my hair and skin soft and itchy scalp free.
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Reply to MumsHelper
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Have you tried warm olive oil? Maybe add some tea tree oil to it.
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Reply to tallpetsitter
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I know this sounds a little strange, but my dad had cradle cap and my brother gently massaged olive oil into his scalp to soften/loosen the accumulation. There are fine tooth combs for babies to gently help remove the debris. He did this gradually over a week or so. It was amazing the difference this simple technique made. You do need to gently wash the oil off after each "treatment." Dad's hair was short; don't know how this would work with longer hair. Also, it has been my observation that if a resident of rehab or nursing home isn't well enough to have a shower or go to the facility "salon," their hair care is almost non-existent. This was a situation for my mother. When I requested that she have her hair washed (it hadn't been done for weeks), dry shampoo was suggested. Shameful. Hair can be beautifully washed with the patient in the bed. I insisted her hair be properly washed and finally, it was. But her hair care only truly improved when she went onto hospice. They did a wonderful job.
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Reply to lynina2
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Seek out the answer from a dermatologist.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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This will sound crazy but what we use for any itch [+ burns + cuts] is a precription ointment for hemrhoids called proctosedyl - it has a local anti-itch ingredient [good on mosquito bites] as well some antibiotic, anti-fungal and steroid - as something that goes on the outside it shouldn't react with other meds but check with the dr when they write it out - my late dad was a dr & recommended it for many things - it can be worth a shot because after 2 years your mom be must be going crazy with the itch
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Reply to moecam
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pch111 May 4, 2019
You're right. She is going crazy with the itching. Thank you for taking the time to post. I appreciate it very much.
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Dr recommended Selsun Blue shampoo which helped but did not cure.
Also hair was starting to fall out, Dermatologist said this was not alopecia but something similar and hair would continue to fallout prescribed a steroid, however we refused to give up. Finally we found persistence, patience and washing with tea tree oil and tea tree conditioner works, making sure everything is rinsed out and hair is absolutely beautiful now.
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Reply to dswarts
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I sympathize with her.... I have had AWFUL scalp itching at various times in my life. I remember waiting three months to see a dermatologist. He stood back 8 feet and said he didn't see a problem. Imagine a skin doctor who is afraid to touch patients! Wouldn't prescribe anything or suggest anything. (He wasn't shy about giving me a $150 bill.)

I would suggest tea tree oil if she can tolerate it. Massage into the scalp. Helped me, and I have had fungal infections of the ankles, toes, and scalp all my life.

Another thing I did at a later time was take take about a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of water a couple times a day. It was VERY effective. Very nasty to swallow though. Best to mix very thoroughly hold your nose, and down it as fast as you can. Do not spill it because it stains everything. And rinse or brush teeth after taking it. I'm sure it can stain teeth.

I have also taken MSM capsules in the past. I seem to recall that they worked too. May be a lot easier to tolerate.

Ask her doctor to approve any of these you try. They may cause interactions with drugs. I was on nothing when I took these.
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Reply to Jimbosticks
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pch111 May 3, 2019
Thank you for taking time to send this. I appreciate it very much!
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My mom has itchy scalp. I have no idea why. I buy a product called Scalpicin. She says it helps. Find it at Walmart or drugstore.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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pch111 May 3, 2019
Interesting. Okay, I'll look into that. I appreciate it!
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These things tend to follow a sort of back and forth and circular life. They go from yeast and fungal and when treated for that to bacterial and then back and forth often the two co-existing. As often as they are cultured and you think you have an answer they change. The best thing we found in nursing was to try to keep scalps DRY and non-oily. We often used single things like cornstarchy type powders. Stay away from additive and fragrance. Clean and dry is best you can do. The itching is making me think habit plus gone into a fungal phase.
Sorry, and when I was a nurse the dermatologists were the first to say that they were 50% guesswork as to what to do and what will work.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Dermarest shampoo works well on my scalp psoriasis as does head and shoulders for itchy scalp.
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pch111 May 3, 2019
Thank you!
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Vinegar is good for many uses but it is not a cure all and overrated.
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pch111 May 3, 2019
Yes - I read that, too. I am trying Apple Cider Vinegar. Trying more than one of these suggestions!
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Some people have had good results with Clinical Strength Head & Shoulders shampoo. Navy blue bottle. If this doesn’t do the trick, I would speak to a dermatologist. The nursing home kept having a doctor trying to treat a rash on my mother’s neck and she was clawing herself. It was not working. I took it on myself to have her taken to a good dermatologist and I met the transport van there. Turns out it was a vitamin B deficiency and she prescribed what Mom needed as far as how much and it cleared right up. Skin is their ballgame and cradle cap is the scalp (skin). I would not just try teas and homeopathic type things while she suffers with itching. Get her to a doctor that knows.
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pch111 May 3, 2019
I have tried it. I bought the extra strength and she used it for weeks. It helped at first, but then stopped working. We are returning to the doctor. THANK YOU!
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My mom had the same thing. My daughter, a beautician, suggested tea tree shampoo. It cleared up rather quickly. The shampoo is rather odd smelling, but it worked. You can find it at Walmart among other places. Good Luck!
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Jimbosticks May 3, 2019
My experience is tea tree shampoo has too light a concentration of tea tree oil to be effective for very long. It may come back like it did me.
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Some medications make me itch like you wouldn't believe--perhaps it is a medication causing this.

I know when my babies and g-babies have cradle cap, a good coating of baby oil, followed by a gentle scrub with a soft toothbrush took care of it. It also took out all their 'baby hair' which was a small price to pay for a shiny clean scalp. (ALL my g-babies were billiard ball bald, so no biggy)

Try that--we left the oil on for hours, until the scalp has absorbed all the oil.

I think the idea of the nit comb would be wonderful. An itchy scalp is just unendurable!! And yes, you gotta get all the oil out. Put towels or extra pillowcases under the head to get the extra oil.

Mom actually went bald about 3 years ago. We did the oil tx on her, a few times and had her change shampoos (using the same for 30 years-a real cheap, drying brand) and also made sure she took better care of her diabetes. Her hair is not what it once was, but at least she has some now! She wasn't washing it but once a week, as it was too hard to raise her arms in the shower.

Just a combination of factors, not just one thing was going on. Mom's had an 'old people' smell about it--I don't know why.

If you can get access to a hairdresser's washing bowl--that is so much easier than trying to get this out in the shower or the tub or worse of all, the sink.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Someone please tell me what is cradle crap? From the answers it looks like it has something to do with the scalp/hair, but the name is misleading because the first thing I thought of it has something to do with the anus.

Ignore this. I googled it.
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Isthisrealyreal May 3, 2019
Cradle CAP.
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