22 October 2020 (updated)

Cradle Cap: What It Is and How to Treat It

Have you noticed a few flakes on your baby's scalp? Cradle cap is a skin condition that affects many newborns. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to improve its impact on your little one! Read on for some tips.

What Is Cradle Cap?

This skin condition is common for infants and will affect your baby’s scalp. While it’s not itchy, this condition known as seborrheic dermatitis can be confused with eczema. See your pediatrician to be sure of which skin condition your baby has. Also, seborrheic dermatitis can cause dandruff in adults so getting medical advice is always a good idea.

You will be able to recognize cradle cap by the patchy scales, skin flakes, greasy skin, or redness that characterize it. It can also appear in other places like on your baby’s eyelids, nose, ears, and groin. This condition will often clear up on its own, but there are things you can do to get rid of it. If your baby has experienced it, share the cradle cap treatment that worked for you on FamilyApp!

What Causes Cradle Cap in Babies?

Unfortunately, one of the reasons so many infants experience it is that there’s a lot of uncertainty around cradle cap causes. The condition is not contagious and it is not caused by a lack of hygiene.

However, there are two main factors that may contribute to its development in your child. The hormones that are passed from a mother to her child may lead to the production of excess oil (sebum). This can cause clogged oil glands and hair follicles. The second factor could be Malassezia, a yeast that grows in sebum along with bacteria. While you may want to see a doctor if the condition persists, there are ways to improve cradle cap.

How Do You Treat Cradle Cap?

There are a few different ideas to minimize the symptoms of cradle cap for your baby. Try these tips to get a clear scalp for your little one and share your own on your favorite family app!

  • Add a Little Oil – You won’t want to use your typical moisturizer for this. Instead, use olive, coconut, jojoba, or baby oil and apply it to your baby’s scalp. Massage it for a minute, leave it to soak for 15 minutes and then brush your infant's head gently with a soft brush. Finally, wash off the oil with mild baby shampoo. Be sure to spot test on your baby beforehand to ensure no irritation.
  • Brush the Scalp – Try using a gentle brush or even a toothbrush to brush and loosen flakes on your baby’s scalp. It’s important to only do this once a day to ensure you’re not irritating your child’s scalp.
  • Wash the Hair – Cradle cap isn’t related to bad hygiene, but that doesn’t mean baby shampoo can’t help. Try wetting the hair and scalp and massaging in a mild shampoo. Rinse the shampoo out after lathering. Do not shampoo too frequently as this may dry out the scalp.
  • Try Prescription Creams or Oils – If your baby is having a severe bout of cradle cap, you may want to talk to your doctor about antifungal cream, zinc cream, or even an antimicrobial essential oil. It’s important to follow the instructions for use.

There may be uncertainty around the cause of this health condition but that doesn’t mean you can’t remedy cradle cap symptoms! However, you may want to see your doctor if you’re dealing with a more severe condition. Do you have any tips for how to treat cradle cap? Share them in our comments! While this condition can go away on its own, there are some simple ways to make it better for your baby.



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