Cradle cap is quite an ugly little skin infection that plagues newborn babys scalps. It doesnt hurt them and it is harmless to others, meaning it is not contagious. However, it can be quite unsightly, especially when your baby is the most precious, most beautiful thing in your world. The good news is that it is a temporary condition that will eventually go away.
Characteristics and Causes of Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is easily identified on babies by the patches of scaly skin on the scalp. These patches can be greasy in appearances or even crusty as if it could flake off at any moment. These patches may also be thick and yellowish in appearance.
No one knows the exact cause of cradle cap but there are many theories surrounding it. One theory states that it is the hormonal changes from pregnancy that could be stimulating the oil glands in the newborn. The mothers hormones may not have completely left the babys system yet so they may stimulate the oil glands on the head which prevents the dead skin cells from sloughing off properly.
Cradle cap is sometimes called seborrhoeic dermatitis which is a general name for this scaly disorder as it could also happen on other parts of the body. In fact, some babies develop the same scaly, crusty patches around the eye brows, eye lids and ears.
Treatment of Cradle Cap
Considering how delicate a baby is, you have to be extremely careful about what you use on them. Cradle cap will eventually go away, but it is truly bothering you to see those scaly patches on your baby, there are a few things you can do on your own.
You can use a mild baby shampoo which does not produce tears or have any dyes or perfumes to wash your babys head. Using a very soft bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, you would gently loosen the patchy scales by moving the brush on the babys shampooed head in a light circular pattern all over. Then you would rinse the shampoo out. It will take multiple washings to truly remove the scales in this fashion as you have to use a delicate touch on babys head.
Occasionally, mineral oil may work to help loosen the crusty scales. Rub the mineral oil lightly onto the scales and allow sitting for a few minutes so it can soak in. The next step is to lightly brush the scalp to loosen the cradle cap and then shampoo the loose scales away.
Again, it may take several times before all of the cradle cap is gone. What you do not want to do is leave the oil on the babys head. This accumulation of oil would just build up even more scales on the babys head if left there.
For stubborn cradle cap, your doctor may allow the use of a very mild adult dandruff shampoo to help dissolve the scales. However, you must be very careful with this option as the shampoo can burn the babys eyes. Just keep in mind that cradle cap does not hurt your baby and that it will eventually go away on its own. So if it is stubborn to remove, rest assured that within a few months it will go away on its own.