Cradle cap, also known as infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis is an inflammatory condition characterized by whitish or yellowish crusty patch on an infants scalp (anterior fontanelle), eyebrows, eyelids and/or ears. Mostly cradle cap is not dangerous to the baby neither does it itch.
It occurs from birth to 8 months of life. In the advanced ages cradle cap is referred to as dandruff. Many believe that it is a fungal infection even though it is not scientifically proven. The scientific explanation for the formation of the cradle cap is the infant’s sebaceous glands overact due to the mother’s hormones produced in pregnancy. The overacting sebaceous glands produce sebum which prevents the skin’s cells from drying and falling off. As a result the old cells attach to the infant’s scalp.
Caution should be taken if the cradle cap becomes severely itchy, turns red and/or spreads.
Cradle cap disappears on its own but some caregivers are so eager to get rid of it. Here are some easy home remedies:
- Wash the affected area with baby shampoo repeatedly and then gently comb the hair around the area to remove the flakes.
- Apply oil (olive, almond or coconut oil) on the babies scalp, leave it for sometime (mostly 15 minutes) then comb the baby’s hair to remove the flakes. Wash gently with baby’s shampoo after this procedure.
- Mix water with a spoon or two of baking powder to form a paste then apply it on the baby’s scalp leaving it for a minute. Rinse the paste off and make sure no trace of baking soda is left on the scalp. Baking soda is safe for the skin and it is an anti fungal and antibacterial.
- A mother’s breast milk helps get rid of cradle cap. Apply the breast milk overnight then comb the flakes off in the morning. Rinse with the babies shampoo.
- Massage the baby’s scalp with petroleum jelly preferably Vaseline. Rinse with warm water then gently scrub off the flakes. Rinse once more with warm water.
- Gently scrub daily to get an effective result. Massage the scalp with oil or petroleum jelly after every scrub.
Take precaution when getting rid of the cradle cap so as not to harm the baby’s scalp especially on the fontanelles.