Cradle Cap

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Cradle Cap

Cradle cap causes crusty or oily scaly patches on a baby's scalp. The condition isn't painful or itchy. But it can cause thick white or yellow scales that aren't easy to remove.

Cradle cap usually clears up on its own in a few months. Home-care measures include washing your baby's scalp daily with a mild shampoo. This can help loosen and remove the scales. Don't scratch cradle cap.

If cradle cap persists or seems severe, your doctor may suggest a medicated shampoo, lotion or other 

Common signs of cradle cap include:

Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
Oily or dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
Skin flakes
Possibly mild redness
Similar scales may also be present on the ears, eyelids, nose and groin.

Cradle cap is common in newborns. It usually isn't itchy.

Cradle cap is the common term for infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It's sometimes confused with another skin condition, infantile eczema. A major difference between these conditions is that eczema usually causes significant itching.

When to see a doctor
See your baby's doctor if:

You've tried treating it at home without success
The patches spread to your baby's face or body

Even in the 21st century, doctors aren’t sure what causes cradle cap. One popular theory holds that the baby’s sebaceous glands (the ones that produce skin oil) aren’t working at full strength yet because of mommy’s hormones (from gestation and nursing).

But don’t feel bad. As we said, cradle cap is extremely common, and it’s not your fault. Your baby’s glands’ overactivity, which happens as a result of your hormones, leads to an excess of oil. When that oil is present, dead skin cells that should be shed off naturally get caught in the oil and, as a result, form clumps.

That’s just a theory, though. As logical as it sounds, don’t let it change your nursing habits. Your baby’s body will get used to the new environment (hormones included) during the first twelve months of his life.
Most cases of cradle cap clear up on their own without the need for treatment within weeks to a few months.

Tips to help reduce the build-up of scales on the scalp:  

regular washing of the scalp with a baby shampoo, followed by gentle brushing with a soft brush to loosen scales. 
soften the scales with baby oil first, followed by gentle brushing, and then wash off with baby shampoo.
soak the crusts overnight with white petroleum jelly, or vegetable or olive oil, and shampoo in the morning.
If these methods don't work, speak to your pharmacist about using a greasy emollient or soap substitute, such as emulsifying ointment.

Cradle Cap