How Do You Treat Cradle Cap?


Rough, scaly patches of skin on their newborn’s scalp can be a stressful condition to new parents, but there are usually nothing to worry about. In most of the cases, cradle cap is a harmless condition that many babies develop.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, cradle cap doesn’t require medical treatment and it will be easy to identify at home just by checking the symptoms of it. However, it is important to distinguish it from other skin conditions such as apotic dermatitis.

There are several cases that you should call your child’s doctor. Those situations include:

  • It is the first time your baby is under cradle cap treatment;
  • Your child has seborrhea in places where he or she doesn’t have hair;
  • The home treatments don’t not work and you need a new treatment;
  • The symptoms of cradle cap get worse such as the rash covers large parts of the body, causes hair loss, or becomes itchy.

One of the dangerous complications is an infection, which can be characterized by the condition in which the affected skin becomes firm and red, starts to drain fluid, or feels warm. If your child has a weak immune system and develops seborrhea, you should bring them to doctor clinic.

Treatment of Cradle Cap

While most cases of cradle cap don’t need any treatment, some parents want to lessen and remove the scales on their baby’s scalp. Massaging your baby’s scalp gently with your fingers or a washcloth and washing your baby’s hair once a day with mild baby shampoo can be seen as an effective way to solve this problem.

After removing the scales, you can take the seborrhea under control by shampooing on your child’s hair just twice a week. Remember that brush your child’s hair with a clean, soft brush before rinsing off the shampoo to loosen the scales. However, in the cases that the scales don’t loosen easily, a small amount of mineral oil (avoid using olive oil) can be considered to rub onto your baby’s scalp.  You need to wait for a few minutes to allow the oil to soak into the scales before brushing and washing your baby’s hair as usual. Make sure to wash the oil away each time because too much oil on your child’s hair can cause scales to build up and could make cradle cap get worse.

If these solutions with shampooing can not reduce the symptoms of cradle cap, you should ask your doctor about nonprescription medicated or dandruff shampoos. These shampoos often contain medical ingredients such as salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, selenium, and ketoconazole which can help lessen dryness and flaking. In serious case, some stronger forms of these medicines can be recommended as a prescription form by dermatologist.

If your child is recommended to use medicated shampoos, rub a little shampoo into your child’s scalp and let it soak in for at least 2 minutes. Then wash the shampoo out and repeat the process one more time. It is necessary to know that you need to do this daily or twice weekly at first, and after controlling the cradle cap, you should only have to do this medication once a month.

Steroid creams like hydrocortisone can help in some occasions such as babies with seborrhea on other parts of the body, or if your child has irritated skin. But ensure that you have asked your baby’s doctor before using hydrocortisone.

As mentioned above, cradle cap doesn’t need to be treated in most cases. It usually goes away within a few months of birth, because mum’s hormones leave your baby’s bloodstream. By following the steps above, you are able to make its condition under control.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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