Cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) is a common and harmless skin condition that often happens in newborn babies. It causes rough patches of skin to form on your baby’s scalp and face and is often compared to as the baby version of dandruff.
The skin condition got its name because the most common place for rough patches of skin to form is on your baby’s head, where they would usually wear a cap.
Causes of cradle cap
The exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known. Research suggests it could be more likely to develop if your child has particularly oily skin. There’s also evidence to suggest that a type of yeast found on the skin may also play a role in whether or not your child develops cradle cap, although that hasn’t been proven.
Symptoms of cradle cap
Your little one may develop cradle cap up to the age of 2 months old. You might notice:
Greasy, patchy scalp – the skin on your baby’s scalp may look greasy and they may have white or yellow patches of rough skin on their scalp.
Changes in scalp colour – your child may never suffer with rough, flaky skin. Instead, their scalp might change colour to red or yellow.
Hair loss – although it’s rare, your baby might lose some hair where they’ve had cradle cap. The hair will grow back once cradle cap has gone
Itchy, flaky skin on other parts of their body – aside from the head, cradle cap can also form on your baby’s face, behind the ears and even in their armpits.
Although cradle cap can look sore, it doesn’t cause your baby any discomfort and it shouldn’t cause them to itch. If your child has been diagnosed with cradle cap, it will likely clear up by itself although there are a few steps you can take to clear it up quicker.
How can I treat cradle cap?
Cradle cap is harmless and will usually clear up on its own within a week or two. In the meantime, you can loosen the rough patches of skin on your child’s head with a cradle cap brush.
Gently brushing your baby’s scalp is a good way to remove some flakes off their head, but you need to be careful to do this gently and to not pick or scratch at the flakes as this may lead to bleeding.
Theres also lots of home remedies you can use to treat it.
What is a cradle cap brush?
Cradle cap brushes are special brushes designed specifically for the treatment of cradle cap. They are safe and effective to use on newborn babies and can even be used on toddlers with a full head of hair as a preventative measure.
A cradle cap brush is a great investment and is easy to incorporate into your little one’s bath time routine.
How do I use a cradle cap brush?
Using a cradle cap brush is simple, by following these simple steps below you can be on your way to getting rid of cradle cap in no time!
- Gently massage some oil or baby shampoo into your baby’s head and let it soak for a few minutes
- With the brush, gently massage your little one’s head in small circles, applying a small amount of pressure. You should start to see any flakes come away from the scalp
- Rinse off the oil or shampoo and repeat with conditioner
- It’s natural for your baby to still have cradle cap after this, but by brushing their scalp with a cradle cap brush a couple of times per week, you will be on your way to saying goodbye to cradle cap in your baby.
- Once all the cradle cap has gone. It’s recommended that you massage your baby’s head with a cradle cap brush at least once a week to encourage blood flow to the scalp and maintain a healthy scalp.
Preventing cradle cap
Cradle cap is not a serious condition and does not point to poor hygiene or lack of care. The following steps may help to reduce the build-up of dermatitis on the scalp:
- Rinse the scalp thoroughly after washing
- Apply oil to your baby’s scalp after shampooing
- Use a soft bristled brush to gently massage your baby’s head after a bath