Cradle Cap: what it is, and what to do about it

How to treat cradle cap

Newborn babies and cradle cap: a common combination

Cradle cap is a skin rash typical of newborn babies that generally goes away on its own. Here a are a few tips to help it to clear up.

Distinguishing marks of cradle cap: flakes and crusts

Cradle cap is a skin condition of newborn babies that can occur in the first 4 or 5 months, with the appearance of yellowish oily flakes and crusts. It is located above all on the scalp, extending to eyebrows, forehead, sides of the nose, chin and behind the ears, but it can also affect other parts of the body such as the inguinal folds.

 

How, when and why

Newborn cradle cap – properly called seborrhoeic dermatitis – is a benign condition and generally doesn’t trouble your baby. It is due to excess production of sebum, which builds up on the skin and causes oily flakes to form and attach to the skin. The root cause is unclear, but one hypothesis is a connection with the maternal hormones in the baby’s bloodstream that may stimulate the sebaceous glands.

Myths and legends

Cradle cap is also known as milk crust, because it was attributed to breast milk in the past. That isn’t the case. Other factors considered responsible for the condition but now discounted are poor hygiene in newborn babies, infections, intolerance and allergies.

How should you treat cradle cap?

Cradle cap tends to clear up on its own. If your child is suffering from it however, you can help it along through some skincare techniques. One example would be softening the flaking skin with vegetable oils, rubbed in lightly. Another would be to wash the affected area with cleaning products rich in soothing or oil-based substances. Another good idea is to remove the flakes that have already detached with soft combs or brushes, avoiding rubbing of the skin that irritates it further. 

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