- by Dr Varsha Saxena
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- Feb 21 2018
How do you treat Cradle Cap?
It is the crusty or oily 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. It usually clears up on its own in a few months. It is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene or an allergy.
It usually appears in babies in the first two months and clears up without treatment within weeks to a few months. It usually occurs on the scalp but can also affect the face, ears, neck, nappy area and armpits, and behind the knees.
The cause is not clear, although it may be linked to overactive sebaceous glands. These are glands in the skin that produce an oily substance called sebum. It is thought that some babies retain some of their mother’s hormones in their babies for several weeks or months after the birth. These hormones may make their glands more active, so they produce more sebum. The excess sebum causes old skin cells to stick to the scalp, instead of drying up and falling off as they would normally do.
Research has found that babies who get cradle cap often have family members with allergy-type conditions, such as asthma and eczema.
- Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
- Oily or dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
- Skin flakes
- Possibly mild redness
- It usually doesn’t require treatment. It clears up on its own within a few months.
- Gently washing your baby’s hair and scalp may prevent a build-up of flakes.
- Massaging a small amount of baby oil or olive oil into the scalp at night may help soften the patchy scales. In the morning, using a soft baby brush or cloth, gently remove any loose particles, and then wash the hair with a baby shampoo.
- Avoid shampoos that contain groundnut oil or peanut oil for children under five years old.
- There are shampoos available over the counter at pharmacies to loosen cradle cap.
- A course of antibiotics or an antifungal cream or shampoo is used if cradle cap becomes inflamed or infected.
- The medicated cream is used to reduce redness and inflammation prescribed by the doctor.
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