When it comes to your new bundle of joy, a change in your baby’s skin or hair can confuse any parent. If you notice your newborn’s head has become scaly, or that their hair has started falling out, cradle cap is most likely the culprit. The good news is that it usually resolves itself with time and a little patience on your part. Here are a few things you should know about this all too common condition.
What Is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap looks like a very bad case of dandruff and can appear on the scalp as a red area with yellow, scaly patches. Over time, the scales can start to become flaky so they rub off easily, often with bits of your baby’s hair attached. Sometimes cradle cap can cover the whole of your baby’s scalp but it can also appear on her face, and around her diaper area, armpits, and nose. Although cradle cap is very common in babies younger than eight months, it’s most likely to appear on newborns. Despite its unsightly appearance, cradle cap shouldn’t cause your little one any discomfort.
As moms, we tend to beat ourselves up over anything that affects our kids, but rest assured that cradle cap is not related to any illness and does not mean you have not been taking proper care of your baby. While no exact cause is known, it’s suspected that the oil glands on the scalp produce an excess of oil and can clog hair follicles, causing a buildup of skin cells and oil. It may also be caused by new skin cells are growing faster than the old ones can fall off.
Although the best treatment is time, there are a few simple things you can do to hasten the process. Experts recommend washing your baby’s scalp daily with a mild baby shampoo massaging the scalp gently with a washcloth, then rinse. Gently brush baby’s scalp with a soft brush to remove some of the scales. Some other home remedies include the use of mineral or olive oil to gently massage the scalp. In cases of more severe or persistent cases, babies may experience redness and inflammation of the scalp and may need a medicated cream or shampoo. It is very important to always consult with your pediatrician.