Although, you baby might seem least disturbed by the flaky and crusty patches on the scalp, as parents you might worry about the occurrence of the unsightly dandruff-like flakes. These crusty patches are known as cradle cap or infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis. Besides the scalp, cradle cap can develop behind the ears, in the diaper area and in the creases of the neck and arms.
Cradle cap symptoms
Cradle cap looks like greasy, yellowish or brown scaly patch. In some cases, it might cover the entire scalp. It is usually non-itchy. Cradle cap might appear before the infant is 6 weeks old. This harmless condition might subside within a few weeks, or it might take 6 to 9 weeks and in rare cases longer for the scaly patch to heal.
Causes of cradle cap
It is unclear why cradle cap occurs. It is believed that the mother’s hormones remaining in the body of the newborn could over activate the sebaceous glands of the baby. With increase in greasiness of the scalp, the dead skin cells remain attached to the scalp creating the crusty patch. Perhaps overgrowth of skin yeast might cause cradle cap. However, allergens or poor hygiene is not associated with this skin condition.
How to treat cradle cap
Parents would hate to wait until the day when the cradle cap subsides naturally. Frequently washing the baby’s scalp with a baby shampoo and brushing the scalp gently with a soft brush could help to loosen and remove the flaky scales. If frequent shampooing and brushing fail to improve the condition of your baby’s scalp, you can consider applying oil on the infant’s scalp to loosen the flakes. You might consider applying baby oil on the scalp to treat the cradle cap. Extra virgin olive oil is a safe natural product for your baby’s scalp. Olive oil would not only help to reduce the flaking, but it can also prevent yeast infection. You can also use mineral oil for treating your baby’s cradle cap. Whatever oil you use, leave the oil overnight on your child’s scalp. In the morning, gently brush the scalp and wash it with a baby shampoo.