Cradle cap produces oily or crusty and scaly patches atop a baby’s scalp. The ailment tends not to cause itchiness or pain. But it can produce thick white or yellow scales that are not easy to remove.
Cradle cap normally clears up on own (without intervention) in a few months. Home-care allowances encompass washing your baby’s scalp daily with a mild shampoo. This will help to extricate and remove the scales. Make sure not to scratch cradle cap.
If cradle cap continues or appears severe, your doctor may recommend a medicated lotion, shampoo, conditioner or other treatment.
Common signs of cradle cap include:
Patchy scaling or thick deposits on the scalp
Dry or oily skin coated with flaky white or yellow scales
Similar scales can also be located on the ears, eyelids, nose, and groin.
Probably mild redness
Cradle cap is prevalent in newborns. It ordinarily isn’t itchy.
Cradle cap is the common and popularized term for infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It’s occasionally confused with another skin condition, infantile eczema. A major distinction between these conditions is that eczema normally causes significant itching.
When to see a physician
See your baby’s physician if:
- You’ve tried managing it at home without success
- The patches expand to inc your baby’s face or body
The cause of cradle cap isn’t well understood. One relevant factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones can trigger too much production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles.
Another component may be a yeast (fungus) called Malassezia (mal-uh-SEE-zhuh) that develops in the sebum simultaneously with bacteria. Antifungal treatments, such as ketoconazole, are often useful, advancing the idea that yeast is a contributing factor.
Cradle cap isn’t contagious, and poor hygiene does not produce it.
Shampooing your baby’s hair every several days can help reduce the risk of cradle cap. Stick with a delicate baby shampoo unless your baby’s pediatrician recommends something more powerful.
Cradle cap generally doesn’t require medical treatment. It clears up without intervention or additional treatment within a few months. In the meantime, wash your child’s hair once a day with gentle baby shampoo and tenderly brush the scalp lightly with a soft brush to loosen and relax the scale.
If frequent shampooing doesn’t help, consult your baby’s pediatrician. He or she may prescribe an adult dandruff shampoo, such as one holding 2 percent antifungal ketoconazole medication. Be sure the shampoo doesn’t get into your child’s eyes, as it may irritate. Hydrocortisone cream is helpful in reducing redness and inflammation all over the scale
Don’t use over-the-counter cortisone or antifungal creams without first speaking to your baby’s physician, because some of these products can have toxicity in them when absorbed through a baby’s skin. Dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid aren’t suggested for use in babies either, because they can be ingested through the skin.
Lifestyle and home remedies
The following over-the-counter treatments and home-care tips can help you control and manage cradle cap.
Gently rub your baby’s scalp with your fingers or a washcloth to loosen the scales. Don’t scratch.
Clean and wash your baby’s hair once a day with gentle baby shampoo without harsh additives or chemicals. Loosen the scales with a miniature, soft-bristled brush before rinsing off the shampoo.
If the scales don’t become lose with soft brushing, massage petroleum jelly or a few droplets of mineral oil onto your baby’s scalp. Let it soak into the scales for several minutes, or hours if required. Then brush and shampoo your baby’s hair as normal. Please be aware that if you leave the oil in your baby’s hair, the cradle cap may get worse, explicitly making and oily scalp oilier
Once the scales are gone, wash your baby’s hair every few days with a mild shampoo to prevent scale buildup.