Newborn greasy hair is a natural thing that happens to some newborns while adjusting to different environments. The grease comes from natural oil called sebum, which is meant to help your baby’s skin stay lubricated. It’s natural for some babies who may even have a head full of hair to produce more oil and thus look greasy even after just 1 hour of bathing, but it’s similar to baby acne. The little ones’ hormones are causing the greasy hair and can be fixed with some good shampoo. No medical attention is necessary.
Beautiful newborns. They’re precious and so delicate, coming into this new world. Right off the bat, newborns can come across minor health or aesthetic issues.
Our newborn had a mild sign of jaundice, which she got a shot for on her 2nd day after birth, and a bit of milia on her nose.
After a few days, the milia went away, and the jaundice was never an issue after the shot. A popular question I saw mommies research is newborn greasy hair.
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Is greasy hair normal?
Giving birth to a baby can cause so much anxiety, but the really worrying part comes after birth. First-time moms can easily feel overwhelmed by every little thing about the baby.
You might’ve read book after book and seen multiple youtube videos on how to bathe your newborn baby and how to wash their hair.
Still, oftentimes these videos and books may not cover certain aspects of a newborn’s life that they may face, like what to do if your baby has greasy hair even after washing her hair.
It can probably be the first question you’d worry about getting an answer to, and yes, it’s normal for your newborn to have greasy hair.
The grease comes from natural oil called sebum, which is meant to help your baby’s skin stay lubricated.
It’s natural for some babies who may even have a head full of hair to produce more oil and thus look greasy even after just 1 hour of bathing, but it’s similar to baby acne.
Both of them seem to happen naturally and tend to go away naturally too.
So moms out there, you don’t need to scratch your head thinking about what you should do about your baby’s greasy hair.
Let it be. It’s natural and absolutely fine.
As a newborn, your little one is developing at dramatic rates, and your little one might be overproducing sebum on their scalp.
Your baby was very much protected against everything when she was in your womb, but once she makes her debut into this world, she’s trying to adjust every minute and every day to her surroundings.
So, your baby’s hormones at this point may fluctuate and can cause extra oil in her scalp. There are shampoos (listed below) that are specially formulated.
Note: Although you’ll find gentle baby shampoos in the market that can reduce the greasiness in your baby’s scalp, don’t try to bathe your baby every day as it can have a reverse effect and can strip your little one’s scalp of its natural oils. Even if it’s tempting to wash your newborn baby’s head every day, keep the bathing ritual with warm water 2-3 times a week only.
A newborn’s greasy hair is similar to an adult’s oily skin.
If you have oily skin, any dermatologist would tell you to restrict washing your face only twice a day.
Over-washing your face, or even hair for that matter, will not only strip your face/scalp of its natural oils but also will send the sebum production cells into overdrive.
This will only end up in producing more oil.
This greasy hair concern is very similar to parents who search for “is it normal for newborns to be hairy?”
Like greasy hair, newborns with a bit more hair production than normal are fairly common and nothing to be alarmed about.
When does newborn greasy hair usually happen?
Across the board during my research (since my little one didn’t have this), I saw that it usually ranges from birth to about 1 month out.
This is the time when your newborn is rapidly trying to adjust to a new environment.
Some parents worried that it could be caused by them and friends/family kissing or rubbing up against the baby too much, but this isn’t the case. No need to tell grandma to back off from the new baby.
The worst thing that can happen with newborn greasy hair is that they might look unkept a little, especially if they were already born with a good bit of hair.
I’ll take this over any other possible health issues for my little one.
Another thing parents need to keep in mind is sometimes oily/greasy hair can also cause cradle cap in newborns.
What is cradle cap?
To simplify things, cradle cap happens when sebaceous glands in a baby’s scalp tend to produce more oil.
This prevents the old skin cells found on the baby’s head from drying and falling off the scalp. Instead, because of the excess oil, these dry skin cells will stick to the scalp.
Cradle cap is known by many names like infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis, honeycomb disease, and such. It can sometimes be confused with another skin condition, atopic dermatitis.
You can say that it’s the baby version of an adult dandruff issue.
Signs of cradle cap include patchy or yellow scales and it’s absolutely normal for babies to have cradle caps and in no way hinders the newborn’s health development.
It’s a common occurrence in newborn babies and kids up to 3 years, and it’s harmless and usually goes away on its own.
How to treat cradle cap at home?
To treat your newborn’s cradle cap, go with the same routine as you do while bathing your baby, except this time before shampooing your baby’s head; gently brush your newborn’s scalp with a soft brush or a special cradle cap brush.
To loosen up the dry skin cells, apply little castor oil, coconut oil, or petroleum jelly on your baby’s scalp for 1 hour before bathing her. Then, gently brush her hair, and go on to wash her hair with a mild shampoo.
Make sure you use all the products after consulting your baby’s pediatrician.
Do not use any adult or chemical shampoos to treat cradle cap at home.
If the cradle cap doesn’t go away within a few weeks, your doctor might prescribe a mild steroid cream or antifungal cream, and that should probably do the trick.
Do not buy any over-the-counter products for your baby until being advised by the pediatrician.
Best shampoos for newborn greasy hair
You use products that are catered to your needs, and you might use shampoos with oil in them for your dry hair or use a thick moisturizer for your dry skin.
So, in the same way, our babies also need certain products that help with protecting and nurturing their sensitive skin, hair, and body.
As there is no medication necessary to fix the greasy hair, the best you can do is shampoo your little one to keep their hair soft and clean.
Luckily there are good, chemical-free mild baby shampoos that can help babies dealing with greasy hair, so please do not resort to adult shampoos for your baby as these adult products will do more harm than benefit them.
Remember to not shampoo too often to try to get rid of the greasy hair. Just as you might usually have a routine to shampoo 2-3 times a week, your newborn also has a similar routine.
Now, there are many mild baby shampoo products you could buy to help with newborn greasy hair.
Still, I’ll help you avoid analysis paralysis by recommending only 2 of the top-rated shampoos that you can conveniently get on amazon.
1. Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns
Highly recommended by mommy shoppers on Amazon. This super foamy shampoo is meant for newborns, especially those with cradle cap.
The consistency of the foam is compared to hair mousse. It’s gentle on their eyes, made with 99% natural ingredients, and has a very pleasant smell.
There are no parabens, phthalate, or phenoxyethanol, things we as adults naturally try to avoid in our own shampoos.
The recommended way to use it is similar to regular shampoo, where you apply and massage it into your newborn’s scalp and then let it sit for 1-2 minutes.
Then, rinse and dry, and your newborn will have dramatically less greasy hair.
2. Bella B Naturals Baby Shampoo
My recommended alternative to get rid of newborn greasy hair.
Bella B shampoo is all-natural, just like my previous recommendation, so that your little one has a tearless happy experience.
Mommies who bought this product mostly got it for cradle cap, where the newborn would have lots of dry skin in their scalp.
This is, however, still a great shampoo for newborn greasy hair because of how effective it is in cleaning out the scalp.
Newborn greasy hair tips
Now that you have purchased either one of the products for your regular shampoo routine, I’ll leave you with a few quick tips that I have found other mommies online share in regards to newborn greasy hair.
- If your newborn has a very greasy head of hair, stick to the 2-3 times a week shampoo routine, and use a damp cloth daily to help remove some of the grease in a very mild way.
- The other concern is the odor of the greasy hair. This area is subjective to each parent. Some mentioned using a tiny bit of baby powder on the scalp to make it look less greasy and smell better, whereas some just let it be. My tip is to honestly just let the hair be, as this period of newborn greasy hair should only last the first month or so after birth. Use it as a last-case scenario, like if you’re taking new professional family photos. Baby powder is essentially talcum powder (sometimes corn starch or a combination of both) and wouldn’t be ideal for overuse on your newborn.
- A good tip noted by a mommy hairdresser is that when you rub too hard against the scalp, you’re stimulating more oil production in the scalp.
- If your little one has greasy hair very quickly after hair wash and you don’t want to hurt his/her scalp with over-shampooing, the next best tip would be to keep it neat by combing it often so he/she is always photo-ready 🙂
Benefits of washing newborn’s hair
Aside from keeping your newborn’s hair clean, there are also other benefits to a regular hair washing routine.
1. Prevents ringworm
Washing your newborn’s hair is helpful in the way that it prevents a common infection of the skin known as ringworm.
It’s quite common in babies and children and is a type of fungus called “tinea” that causes a ring or oval shape to form.
It can be identified with dry, red, and itchy scalp symptoms and is easily treatable with an antifungal cream or ointment, or a special shampoo.
To prevent it from happening, cleaning the scalp of your baby is a must.
2. Prevents dandruff
Dandruff might sound quite similar to cradle cap but is very different.
It’s not contagious but can be very itchy and leave your baby crying or feeling discomfort all the time.
Now, it can be caused due to eczema, excess oil production, dry scalp, or fungal infection.
In order to prevent this condition, cleaning and taking care of the scalp is required.
Is greasy hair a sign of a health problem?
Most of the time, it is not.
Babies’ bodies are only adjusting to their environment, so it’s mostly their hormones working.
Their excess sebum production can result in greasy hair. It’s like the same thing that’s happening to teenagers.
Can I use any mild regular shampoo on my baby?
Regular shampoos contain strong cleansing agents, not to mention harmful ingredients that may irritate your baby.
Instead, stick to products specially designed for newborns to protect their sensitive skin.
How often should I wash my baby’s hair?
Newborns don’t need to be bathing daily as it tends to dry out their skin.
Bathing three times a week is good enough until your baby starts to become more mobile. Also, don’t submerge your baby fully into the water until the cord stump falls off.
Will greasy hair in a newborn lead to a cradle cap?
The causes of cradle caps are unknown, but experts also relate it to sebum or oil production and fungi.
In addition, greasy hair may not necessarily lead to cradle cap.
But babies with cradle caps do have greasy hair with crusting patches scalp.
However, both conditions are temporary and may clear on their own after a couple of weeks.
Having a newborn with greasy hair is a minor thing to worry about, but it sure does help to have a solution for it!
Be it greasy hair or newborn cradle cap, it’s normal and absolutely alright, and sometimes it’s inevitable.
My little one had a cradle cap when he was 2 weeks old. Do you want to know what I did? Absolutely nothing! I took care of him as usual, and what do you know, after a few weeks, the cradle cap went away on its own.
So, as long as it’s not a hindrance to the baby’s development or is irritating the baby’s skin, leave the issue alone, and meanwhile, go on with your day, playing, talking, feeding, and loving your little one.
In this post, I wanted to assure you that your newborn having greasy hair is not a medical issue at all, just a minor aesthetic thing for your little one.
I shared 2 of my favorite recommended shampoos to help clean your baby’s hair and a few other tips to note during the other times.
I hope you found this post helpful, be sure to post below if you have a question or comment.