Cradle cap refers to the dermatitis of the scalp, and is quite common in infants. The following Buzzle article provides information on the contributing factors, symptoms, and treatment of this condition.
Cradle cap, which is also referred to as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a condition that is characterized by the formation of oily, scaly patches on the baby’s scalp. Although the symptoms may seem intimidating for parents, the condition is not a serious one. This condition is known to be a self-resolving infantile medical condition, and the symptoms usually resolve within a few months. Simple measures, when taken at home, can help alleviate the symptoms. If the symptoms seem to be persisting, then parents might be recommended to use medicated shampoos or lotions.
Symptoms of Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis
The exact cause of this condition is not yet known. However, it is believed that the hormones that may pass from the mother to the baby might contribute to this condition. Another assumption is that this condition might be related to yeast infection. Cradle cap manifests itself in the form of buildup of sticky skin oils, patchy scales, and formation of thick crusts on the scalp. The oily skin may be covered with scales, which might be white and flaky. Dandruff can also be present and might be accompanied by redness and sloughed skin cells. Apart from the infant’s scalp, such scales might also be present on other parts of the body, such as the eyelids, ears, nose, and groin. It must be noted that itching is not a symptom of this condition, which is why this condition does not bother most babies. Also, it does not spread from one baby to another.
Managing Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis
As mentioned earlier, the condition resolves on its own, and treatment might not really be required. However, parents can still follow some home remedies which would help in causing the symptoms to resolve faster. This would include washing the baby’s hair, using a mild shampoo and combing with a soft-bristled brush. Brushing the scalp with a soft-bristled brush will help get rid of the scales. Do not forget to rinse well and towel dry the head.
Rubbing the baby’s head with baby oil or mineral oil, also helps in loosening the scales, thereby making it easier to get rid of them. If these remedies don’t produce any results, then use a medicated shampoo that has been prescribed by a pediatrician. Such shampoos normally contain agents which help in dissolving the scales and smoothening the skin. The doctor may recommend the use of hydrocortisone to deal with the redness and inflammation.
Some helpful tips:
- First you would have to massage the baby’s head with the baby oil. Do this for 10 – 15 minutes. This helps loosen the scales and flakes.
- Now use a clean, soft-bristled brush gently to rub the flakes and scales away. It is better if you wet the baby’s scalp before brushing.
- Once done with the brushing, you should wash the baby’s head using a mild shampoo and rinse well. Dry the scalp gently.
These steps are generally good enough to manage the symptoms of cradle cap. However, if they are not helping, take your baby to a pediatrician. Experts recommend washing the baby’s hair every few days with a mild shampoo. In most cases, it helps in preventing the condition.