Babies are such joys, and along with all the joys come difficulties as well. This includes the sleepless nights, the diaper rash, and, for some, the cradle cap. As a parent you’re dealing with stuff you’ve never had to deal with before so the learning curve is steep, but luckily there are others out there who have been through what you’re going through. Cradle cap is fairly common, and very curable, so getting rid of cradle cap is not a massive undertaking. Read on for further information!
1. What is cradle cap?
The medical term for cradle cap in babies is neonatal seborrheic dermatitis. Cradle cap is yellowish rash that is crusty and flaky: it looks like a bad case of dandruff. It is commonly on the top of babies heads but can also appear around their ears, in their eyebrows, or on their eyelids.
Although cradle cap is an eyesore, luckily it is not usually itchy or uncomfortable for them. Adults can also get cradle cap, and in some cases the same cures can be used for both.
Cradle cap is a medical issue and this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. If you have any concerns with your babies’ scalp or something you think may be cradle cap, please seek a diagnosis as well as care from a medical professional, be it from a paediatrician or a dermatologist.
2. What causes cradle cap?
Cradle cap is not a sign of poor hygiene or infection: it is a dermatological condition. Cradle cap usually appears sometime in the first three months of life and could be due to a babies’ highly sensitive skin.
The cause of cradle cap is actually unknown, but there are several existing hypotheses. Some think it comes from the oils that the scalp produces, and others think it is about the hair follicle. Whatever you believe, you need to realize that it’s not your fault, but you can help treat it.
When babies have cradle cap it can sometimes cause hair loss so it can be important to treat it sooner rather than letting it be. That being said, cradle cap is less likely to occur the older the child gets so time can also be a good thing in this case.
3. Olive oil
Olive oil is the simplest and most natural way to get rid of cradle cap. Apply olive oil to the affected areas. Let it sit for 15 minutes then brush out the cradle cap using a fine toothed comb, pulling out all the flakes, being sure to be gentle on your little one’s scalp. One suggestion for a good fine toothed comb is a lice comb.
Other natural oils to try include coconut oil or almond oil. You can also try baby oil or Vaseline using the same application instructions, being sure to wash it off after the application. Olive oil is the most commonly suggested as it is natural and most people already have olive oil in their houses. You may have to do this treatment once, twice or a few times.
Massaging the scalp and scales with your fingers or a soft bristled brush, with or without oil, can help work the spots of cradle cap out. After the bath can be a good time to do this as the spots on the water may soften the scalp.
4. Hydrocortizol cream
For stubborn areas you may need to apply Hydrocortizol cream twice daily. For this option you will need to get a prescription from a doctor so be sure to seek council from your trusted medical professional.
5. Special Shampoos
Using a dandruff shampoo can help get rid of the cradle cap. You obviously need to be very careful not to get any into their eyes, as that can sting. If the shampoo does accidentally come into contact with their eyes, be sure to rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.
This is meant to be a one-time fix for babies; it is not intended to be used as their regular shampoo. There are other baby shampoos especially for cradle cap, so speak to your pharmacist for options near you.
6. Preventing future flare ups
Babies’ skin is sensitive, and using shampoo and body wash that is specifically designed for babies with sensitive skin can be a good thing. The more natural products you can use the better. Find something that works for you and your baby and stick to it.
7. What to watch for
If cradle cap is left too long and gets to a certain point then you need to be careful. If the scalp is cracking and bleeding there can be places for bacteria to grow, so a doctor should be consulted immediately.
When bacteria is involved there may be need for antibiotics. In some cases where fungus is suspected, there may be an anti-fungal prescribed. It is also important to know that a combination of symptoms can be cause for concern, i.e. if the child has cradle cap as well as thrush or cradle cap as well as severe diaper rash. We advise that anyone with a baby showing multiple symptoms should immediately seek help from a medical professional.
So there are flaky, yellow patches on your little ones head right now. It can be initially concerning and maybe even embarrassing as you want to show off your little one like a proud peacock, but out of all medical conditions your little one can have this one isn’t that bad. There are natural treatments as well as medical ones and lot of options to try, so figure out what works best for you and your little one and go from there. Starting natural can be a good idea, and if it doesn’t work, then going the medication route could be a good next step, as long as you’ve consulted your doctor. Good luck on your journey of getting rid of cradle cap, your little one’s head will thank you.