Cradle Cap Symptoms and Treatment

Cradle cap, also know as seborrhea or infantile seborrheic eczema, is a skin condition where a baby's skin is covered in splotches and flakes. Learn how to prevent and also treat cradle cap.
When to Worry: Cradle Cap
When to Worry: Cradle Cap

What Is Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap is a common ailment among infants that is formally called infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It primarily appears on the baby's head or scalp area, but it can also be present on the face, back, upper, body, and anywhere that has oil glands, or sebaceous glands.

Symptoms and Signs of Cradle Cap

Cradle cap usually appears in the first few months of your baby's life, peaking in severity when the baby is around 6 weeks old. Cradle cap does not seem to cause any discomfort, pain, or itching and it is not harmful, but most people dislike the appearance of these scales on the baby's head. Your baby's head could have any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Red splotches
  • White or yellow scales/flakes
  • Thick, crusty skin flakes/splotches

Treatment for Cradle Cap

Cradle cap cannot be prevented, and most infants experience some form of it. Some experts believe that that yeast might be a factor in the occurrence of cradle cap, but no recommendations have been made to prevent the condition. Shampooing your baby's head frequently is a good way to lessen cradle cap and keep it from recurring. Babies experience a variety of skin conditions in the first year of life, and cradle cap usually disappears completely by 6 months.

Cradle cap usually disappears on its own but if you want to speed up the process, keeping washing your baby's head frequently with a mild shampoo. Use a soft brush to remove dried skin from the scalp. Each shampooing and brushing will remove flakes from your baby's head, but if the cradle cap is not lessening, ask your pediatrician for a safe prescription to eliminate this condition, such as a medicated shampoo containing sulfur and salicylic acid, an anti-fungal cream, or a steroid cream.

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