Newborn Baby Dandruff or Cradle Cap?
It’s fairly common for parents to discover scales or flakiness on their baby’s scalp. Sometimes this is dandruff and sometimes is cradle cap. In either case, your baby will probably not be bothered, but there are steps you can take to safely clear baby’s scalp.
What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is known in medical terms as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, and it’s identifiable as oily or scaly patches that appear on a baby’s scalp. The scales can also appear on your baby’s eyelids, nose, ears, and groin.
The condition isn’t believed to be painful, but it can be quite unsightly and worrisome. If the condition doesn’t clear up on its own within a couple months, it’s best to see your pediatrician for advice. Most often, your doctor will recommend a lotion or a medicated shampoo, and that should help accelerate the disappearance of seborrheic dermatitis
What Causes it?
Science hasn’t quite pinpointed the cause of seborrheic dermatitis, but it is not caused by bad hygiene, bacterial infection, or any type of allergy. More likely, it is triggered by a fungal infection, hyperactive sebaceous glands, or possibly some combination of the two.
The sebaceous glands are directly below the level of the skin, and they produce a substance called sebum, which appears to be very oily. When sebaceous glands are too active, they produce an overabundance of sebum and that interferes with skin cells drying and falling away from your baby’s scalp. Instead, they stay in place and become oily and/or scaly.
Many fungal infections which a baby incurs are the result of the mother having taken antibiotics, or because the baby was administered antibiotics after birth. While antibiotics do destroy damage-causing bacteria, they also kill off useful bacteria which might prevent the formation of cradle cap.
How Is It Different from Dandruff?
Dandruff is a very mild form of seborrheic dermatitis, which also can occur during infancy. It is not usually accompanied by the scaliness which characterizes seborrheic dermatitis.
Neither condition will generally persist for longer than a few weeks, although it is possible that it could appear intermittently until a child is approximately one-year-old.
How Do I Treat Cradle Cap?
One of the most effective methods for treating cable cap is to wash your baby’s head each day with some kind of mild shampoo or baby wash, and then gently brush the scalp with a soft brush like the Bean-b-Clean to help loosen the scales.
Once those scales disappear, repeat the washing process every few days to prevent them from coming back. If the problem persists or it appears severe, you should consult with your pediatrician for recommendation.
A Brush to Help With Cradle Cap and Dandruff
As mentioned above, cradle cap is not particularly dangerous for your child and shouldn’t be causing them much discomfort. However, by washing the baby’s scalp each day, you can help loosen the scales on the scalp for easier removal. Using a soft brush like the Bean-b-Clean will also help the process.