Cradle Cap

"Cradle cap", or infant seborrheic dermatitis, is when your baby has greasy scales on his or her scalp. With thick crusting of white and yellow, it can be quite noticeable, but it is actually very common and not serious. It can develop anytime in the first year of life but usually goes away on its own. However, there are some treatments to help it go away faster. This includes using baby oil or petroleum jelly to help soften the crusts before a bath, using medicated shampoos prescribed by your pediatrician, or using a topical medicine.

Common questions

cradle cap

What is cradle cap and what are its common symptoms?

Cradle cap is a condition where crusty or oily scaly patches appear on a baby's scalp. It's not painful or itchy but can cause thick white or yellow scales that are difficult to remove. Common symptoms include patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp, oily or dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales, and mild skin flakes. It may also affect the ears, eyelids, nose, and groin area.

Is cradle cap a serious condition?

Cradle cap is not a serious condition. It's common in newborns and usually clears up on its own within weeks or a few months. It isn't contagious and isn't caused by poor hygiene. While it can be unsightly, it typically doesn't cause discomfort for the baby.

How can I treat my baby's cradle cap at home?

Home care measures for cradle cap include washing your baby's scalp daily with a mild shampoo to help loosen and remove the scales. You can also use baby oil or petroleum jelly to soften the crusts before a bath. Avoid scratching the area. If these measures don't help, consult your baby's doctor for further advice.

When should I see a doctor for my baby's cradle cap?

You should see a doctor if you've tried treating cradle cap at home without success, if the patches spread to your baby's face or body, or if there are signs of infection or severe irritation. In such cases, a healthcare professional may suggest a medicated shampoo, lotion, or other treatment.

Can cradle cap be prevented?

While there's no guaranteed way to prevent cradle cap, regular shampooing of your baby's hair every few days can help. Use a gentle baby shampoo unless a stronger product is recommended by a healthcare professional. This routine can help in managing the oil production on the scalp that contributes to cradle cap.

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