Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Cradle cap is a condition of the scalp common in infants from birth to 6 months characterized by red greasy-looking plaques with scales located mainly in the scalp.

It can also be present in the auricular creases, eyebrows, and nasolabial folds, in those cases is called seborrheic dermatitis. The cause of cradle cap has not been precisely detected but it could be due to the overstimulation of sebaceous glands by maternal hormones. It can also be linked to the overgrowth of a skin fungus called Malassezia furfur. It's a reasonably common pathology affecting up to 10% of newborns. While it’s mostly benign, its appearance could be very distressing for parents.

How is it treated?

The treatment of cradle caps varies, and while most cases can be resolved with simple approaches, some cases will need specific medical treatment. A primary treatment is applying a pure natural oil or other emollient, leave the oil to spread for 15 minutes and then using a soft bristle brush, loosen the scales by gently rubbing. It's important to finish the treatment by washing the scalp with baby shampoo to remove the oil and the scales. It is not advisable to leave the excess of the oils or emollients on the scalp as it could conversely cause a buildup of oils and the increase of scales. However, if that is not effective consult a health care provider who could suggest a medical treatment.

Do you have more questions about caring for your baby's skin? We answer everything you need to know about taking care of your baby's skin in this article.

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