Babies especially the young ones look adorable. Parents take special care of newborns but in spite of that most babies suffer from cradle cap. It is very upsetting to find beautiful babies having cradle cap, but there is nothing to worry about. This skin condition is temporary and will disappear by itself after a while. It is also not contagious in nature and it is possible to prevent the occurrence of cradle cap in babies.
What is cradle cap?
Dry, flaky scalp on an infant’s head is known as cradle cap. In medical terms it is known by the name of ‘Seborrheic dermatitis’. It is skin condition that almost every baby has during the first few months after birth. Cradle cap mostly occurs on the scalp but at times it may also occur on other parts of the body.
Signs and symptoms of cradle cap include:
- yellow and greasy patches of skin on the scalp
- dandruff-like dry skin flakes on the scalp
- crabby yellow patches on the scalp
- dry scales on the infected areas of the scalp
- red rashes on the affected area on the scalp
At times, cradle cap can happen in other body areas as well. The other affected areas can be the oily areas like the eyelids, eyebrows, under arms, groin or the skin behind the ears.
Causes of cradle cap:
Till now the main cause behind the occurrence of cradle cap amongst babies is still unknown. However it does not happen due to infection or some kind of allergy. Even it cause is not linked with improper baby care or unhygienic reasons. There are many experts who say that it is due to the hormonal changes that a baby experiences after birth. Also, babies having a hyperactive sebaceous gland or oil-producing gland mostly suffer from cradle cap. Hyperactive sebaceous gland produces too much sebum that prevents the old skin cells from drying and falling off the scalp. The problem of cradle cap will vanish automatically once the sebaceous glands in the baby start functioning normally.
Even though cradle cap does not cause pain or any kind of physical discomfort to babies, yet parents worry about it a lot. It is very easy to treat cradle cap and the problem gets solves within a few days.
Some easy tips to handle cradle cap:
- Daily wash your baby’s head with a mild baby shampoo or soap so that the dry skins can be washed out. Rinse your baby’s hair well to make sure no traces of shampoo or soap are left behind. Once the cradle cap reduces, shampoo your baby’s head twice a week to make sure it does not reappear again. Do not use shampoos meant for adults on baby’s scalp as it cause irritations and damage the soft skin.
- You can take a few drops of baby oil and put in into your baby’s scalp one or two hours before bath time. After putting the oil, cover your baby’s head with a warm cloth so that the dry skin patches become soft and start falling out.
- Gently rub the scalp of your baby daily with the help of a brush with very soft bristles. It will help in improving the blood circulation to the scalp and also the dry skin patches will come out easily. You can also use your fingers to rub your baby’s scalp but here you need to be extra careful as your nails can hurt your baby.
- Applying petroleum jelly such as Vaseline can also be very useful. Take Vaseline and liberally apply on your baby’s scalp at night. The Vaseline will make the dry scales soft which will either fall off during the night, or you can brush it off in the morning with a soft bristle brush.
- Baking soda paste when applied on the affected area of the scalp can also be of great help. Wash your baby’s head with warm water after 10 minutes. Now brush your baby’s hair gently with a soft bristle brush to remove the dry skin scales.
- You can also use mild steroid creams or antifungal creams to remove the dry skin patches from your baby’s scalp.
- If cradle cap occurs on the face or near the eyelid of the baby, you can use diluted baby shampoo. Mix four to five drops of baby shampoo into half cup of warm water. Now use this solution to gently scrub the affected area once in a day. This may help the dry skin flakes to come easily.
- Avoid picking the dry skin flakes on your baby’s scalp as it can cause infection of some kind. Don’t apply too much pressure on your baby’s scalp or your hurt your baby.
- It is also important to take care of your baby’s skin. Always use soft cotton bedclothes and blankets and very soft towels as your baby’s skin is very soft and tender. Wash your baby’s clothes with a mild detergent. During the hot days, keep your baby’s head uncovered so that the flakes get dry and fall out easily.
In case if the cradle cap condition does not improve or become worse, you need to take your baby to a pediatrician. A pediatrician can have a careful observation of the affected area and suggest you medications and creams that can help in solving the problem.
To conclude, cradle cap is an extremely common skin disease that mostly happens in young babies. There is nothing to worry about cradle cap as this skin disease is temporary and at the same time harmless.
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