Cradle Cap – A Type of Dermatitis

Cradle cap is the term given to crusty patches that can appear on your baby’s scalp.

If you notice crusty or scaly patches on your infant’s scalp, it might be cradle cap. Cradle cap is also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis. Cradle cap is not contagious nor is it the result of poor hygiene. It usually clears up within a few months.

While there is no known cause for cradle cap, it could be due to the hormonal production of too much oil, called sebum that passes from the mom to the baby before birth.  There may also be a yeast growth in the sebum, which could also be a contributing cause of cradle cap.

Cradle cap looks like scaling or crusting on your baby’s scalp, along with some mild redness of the area. It can also affect the ears, eyelids, nose, and tummy. Your baby’s skin may also seem oily and covered with flakes.

Cradle cap should not cause itching. If your baby appears to be in discomfort from cradle cap, it might not be cradle cap. It might be infantile eczema and you should let your doctor make a diagnosis.

Home care for cradle cap means washing your baby’s scalp with a mild shampoo. Do this daily to help the scales get loose. If this doesn’t seem to help, see your baby’s doctor for more care suggestions.

Use mild baby shampoo on your baby’s head. Do not scratch or irritate the cradle cap areas. Only use something stronger than mild shampoo if you baby’s doctor recommends it.

Contact Northstar Dermatology if your baby is experiencing these symptoms or any other abnormal skin conditions. Your neighborhood NorthStar Dermatologist would be happy to consult with you about cradle cap and provide treatment options.

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