This post is also available in: Svenska
Cradle cap is a completely harmless form of dermatitis on the scalp. It is completely harmless and does not bother your baby. But if you as the parent, are bothered by it though, and prefer to treat and remove it, read below.
What is cradle cap?
Cradle cap causes thick, oily, yellowish-white or yellowish-brown scales or crusts on the scalp. It occurs mainly in infants, but can remain up until a few years of age.
How do you get rid of cradle cap?
If you just try to remove the crusts, you are often disappointed. It is really difficult. If the child has little symptoms, you can try to massage the crusts with baby oil in the evening to loosen it. Then in the morning, you can wash their hair with baby shampoo using a soft toothbrush to gently lift the crusts. Try and see if this works.
If your child has a lot of crusts, you may need to use a mild baby antidandruff shampoo (salicyclic acid 1%) from your local pharmacy. Grease the scab in the evening with salicylic acid and wash it out in the morning. If there is a lot of redness under the crusts, you can use an over-the-counter cortisone ointment (hydrocortisone or mildison) for a few days to prevent relapse. It’s easiest if your baby doesn’t have that much hair. If your child has a lot of hair and a difficult scab that recurs, you can seek medical advice. There are prescription products with slightly stronger cortisone solutions that suit the scalp (locoid solution). Usually you would be careful with those solutions for children. But in difficult cases, you can use them for a few days.
What causes cradle cap?
We don’t really know, exactly. It is a kind of inflammation of the skin, otherwise known as seborrhoeic eczema. Since it disappears over time, it has been speculated that children with immature fatty acid composition may be prone to cradle cap. But no one really knows.
Children with cradle cap sometimes also have seborrhoeic eczema on other parts of the body. Just like dry regular eczema, weak cortisone creams (such as mildison or hydrocortisone) is effective.