Cradle cap is a form of dermatitis that mostly affects the infant’s scalp. Though it usually resolves on its own, following some tried-and-tested cradle cap remedies might facilitate faster healing.
Clinically known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap is characterized by scaly patches on the baby’s scalp. Though the exact cause has not yet been identified, it is believed that the hormones which pass on from the mother to the child might be a contributing factor. These hormones are responsible for causing abnormal production of oil in the oil glands and hair follicles of the baby. It is believed that a fungus called Malassezia might grow in the sebum along with bacteria, thereby leading to this inflammatory skin condition.
The symptoms include patchy scales or thick crusts on the baby’s scalp, skin flakes, or dandruff. Parents must also watch out for greasy skin covered with flaky, white or yellow scales and mild reddening of the affected area. The scaly patches might also appear on the baby’s ears, eyelids, nose, or groin. This condition is not contagious, and doesn’t cause any itching in the infants, in most cases.
This condition usually resolves on its own, but to speed up the recovery process, you can have your baby’s hair shampooed once a day. Use mild shampoos that are meant for infants. Brushing the scalp with a fine-toothed, soft-bristled brush helps loosen the scales. If shampooing does not seem to be helping, then you might need to visit a pediatrician. He/she might prescribe a medicated shampoo. Application of a hydrocortisone cream will help reduce redness and inflammation.
Home Remedies for Cradle Cap
Gently rub lavender oil over your baby’s scalp and let the oil stay overnight. The next morning, wash the baby’s scalp with a mild shampoo. If you still notice any flakes, then repeat the process.
Before you take your baby for a bath, you can rub some warm baby oil on his/her scalp. The warm oil will help loosen the flakes and soften the skin of the scalp. After sometime, brush to loosen the patches and thereafter, wash the baby’s scalp and rinse.
Witch hazel also helps in managing cradle crap. This shrub extract is available at any local drug store. Make a dilute solution of witch hazel with some warm water. Dab your baby’s scalp with the solution using a cotton ball swab several times a day.
You can also use virgin olive oil and tea tree oil. Make a mix of the two oils and dip a cotton ball in it and dab the affected areas of the baby’s scalp. Before shampooing, loosen the scaly areas using a soft-bristled brush. After rinsing, dry your baby’s head properly.
Apart from all the aforementioned self-care measures, nursing mothers must include foods rich in biotin in their diet. Biotin is known as an effective treatment for cradle cap, and it is found abundantly in foods such as eggs, greens, cereals, liver, nuts, and milk.
Generally, the aforementioned methods are likely to alleviate the symptoms. If parents notice that the patches are spreading to the baby’s face or other parts of the body, then this may warrant a visit to a pediatrician.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.