It’s fairly common for parents to discover scales or flakiness on their baby’s scalp, and you might be wondering what the difference is between the two conditions. Keep reading below to find out how the two differ, and what can be done to help manage cradle cap. In either case, your baby will probably not be bothered by one or the other conditions, but they can look serious and cause more distress to parents than to the child.
What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is known in medical terms as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, and it’s identifiable as oily or scaly patches which will appear on a baby’s scalp. The scales cannot easily be removed, but will generally clear away all by themselves within a number of weeks. The scales can also appear on your baby’s eyelids, nose, ears, and groin. The condition isn’t 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 some kind of treatment. 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 yet, but it is known that it’s 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. For a baby’s sebaceous glands to be hyperactive, it usually means that the mother’s hormones have remained for some months in the baby’s body following birth. 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?
Infantile seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory kind of condition, which generally occurs in areas of the body where there are sebaceous glands located. These sebaceous glands produce oil, and they are situated in the upper chest, the back, the face, and the scalp, and they are thought to sometimes trigger seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff on the other hand, 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, so as to help loosen the scales. Once those scales disappear, it will be helpful to 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 his/her recommendation. In most cases, your doctor will prescribe a stronger shampoo or some kind of lotion which will soften the patches for easier removal. In particularly severe cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, especially when infection has occurred or inflammation is severe. An anti-fungal shampoo or a steroid-based cream may also do the trick, if your doctor determines there is a fungus present.
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, it can look quite unsightly and it can be much more worrisome to a parent than to the child itself. By washing the baby’s scalp each day, you can help loosen the scales on the scalp for easier removal, and using a soft brush will also help the process. To purchase the baby brush for cradle cap that was designed specifically with this condition in mind, find a retailer near you that carries the Bean-b-Clean, and begin caring for your baby’s scalp today.