Dry scalp in babies is often associated with ‘cradle cap’, a condition, which resembles dandruff in adults. This article provides some information about this scalp condition in babies.
A dry and flaky scalp is common in infants. The condition called cradle cap, is also known as infantile or neonatal seborrhoeic dermatitis, crusta lactea, milk crust, or honeycomb disease. It has been observed that, cradle cap develops in babies during the first three months; and the severity of the condition may vary from one baby to another. In some cases, the scalp may become flaky, and resembles dandruff in adults. Some babies yellow, patches or flakes on the scalp. Usually, itching is not found to be a symptom of cradle cap. Normally, babies outgrow this condition within a few months. In most cases, cradle cap resolves on its own, as the baby reaches eight to twelve months of age. However, it takes longer to clear up, in some babies.
Causes and Symptoms
Cradle cap is very common in babies, and the symptoms of this condition include dry, flaky, or patchy scaling of the scalp. In some babies, thick, yellow crusts may form on the scalp. In some cases, the skin may get flaky near the ears, eyebrows, and eyelids. If the skin gets flaky on other body parts, and not the scalp, then the condition is not cradle cap. Almost 50% of the newborns develop this scalp condition, which is not a cause of concern; unless it spreads to other body parts, or worsens along with reddening and itching. Babies with such severe symptoms require medical attention.
Though cradle cap is highly common in babies, its cause is still unknown. It is not associated with allergies, infection, or poor hygiene. It has been suggested that, the condition may be caused by the presence of mother’s hormones in the baby’s blood. The role of fungus called malassezia, is also not ruled out completely.
Cradle cap and its symptoms, like dry scalp, do not require any treatment. This is because, the affected babies outgrow this condition, within a few months. Normally, this condition develops within the first three months, and disappears before the baby reaches 12 months of age. However, some babies do not outgrow the condition, and carry it for a longer time. Such cases need to be diagnosed and treated. Though rare, severe cradle cap needs to be treated.
It is a common fact, that dry scalp in babies clear up within a few months. However, if you dislike the patches on your baby’s scalp, you may resort to some remedies. All you have to do is to wash the baby’s scalp with a mild baby shampoo, recommended by your pediatrician. After washing, gently run your fingers on the baby’s scalp to loosen the scales. You may also use a gentle hair brush for this purpose. However, never remove the patches forcefully, as it may cause hair loss. Another method is to apply petroleum jelly or olive oil on the baby’s scalp, and leave it for about 30 minutes. Gently brush the hair and rinse it with a mild shampoo. Make sure to remove traces of oil from the scalp, as it can worsen the condition.
In short, dry scalp in babies is not a cause of concern, unless it is very severe or spreads to other body parts. However, it is always better to consult your pediatrician for diagnosing and treating the condition.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.