“Yuck! What are those crusty, scaly, yucky yellow flakes on your adorable babies head?”
Cradle cap is a scalp condition that can affect children through age 5 (though most children outgrow it by around a year old). It is very common among infants and can produce flaky, dry skin that is similar to dandruff or it can appear yellowish, thick with dry scaly patches on her scalp. And even though it looks gross, it’s usually harmless to your daughter.
There is very little known about what actually causes cradle cap, but researchers do know that it is not caused by allergies or poor hygiene and is not contagious. Babies who get cradle cap most often do not even know that it’s there and it does not affect their daily routines or development unless her cradle cap is severe, and then it may itch.
Most doctors agree that cradle cap does not usually need to be treated. However, if it bothers you – or your daughter has a severe case that causes her to itch, try these tips to help clear up cradle cap:
- Wash your daughter’s scalp more frequently with a natural baby shampoo (such as Johnson & Johnson’s). Then, gently rub her little head with a soft cloth or use a baby brush to comb through her hair.
- For severe cases of cradle cap, try an oil based product to help lift the scales form her scalp. The oil in these products will loosen the dry, flaky patches on her head. Rub a dime –size amount of natural oil such as olive, baby, or almond oil on her head. You may also purchase an over-the-counter shampoo specially made for cradle cap such as Mustela’s Stelaker Cradle Cap Shampoo.
Once you apply the oil or shampoo, be sure to gently knead her scalp with it to allow the oil to seep through her hair. After about fifteen minutes, gently brush her scalp and lift the dandruff off. You may notice that your daughter’s hair is a little “oily” for the next day or two after the treatment, that’s completely normal.
When to see a doctor:
You should seek medical attention if you daughter seems extremely agitated or uncomfortable or if the rash spreads to other parts of her body other than her scalp.