Cradle cap is common in babies. It is a harmless skin condition that usually shows up on the scalp. Often, cradle cap clears up its own, but there are some things you can do to make it better. While it is not itchy or painful and does not bother your baby, it helps to know how to manage cradle cap.
There is no clear indication of what causes cradle cap, and it isn’t contagious, but most parents look to take care of it before it goes away on its own.
What To Do To Get Rid Of Cradle Cap
As with most things baby-related, there are certain do’s and don’ts that you need to follow. You should not use an aggressive treatment for cradle cap, as your baby is still small, and any harsh methods or products might cause pain and irritation.
What You Can Do
- Regularly wash your baby’s hair with gentle baby shampoo. Be sure to remove all of the shampoo.
- Gently rub baby oil or olive oil onto your baby’s scalp to loosen the crusts.
- Use a soft brush to gently loosen the flakes and brush them out of your baby’s hair. Move the brush in one direction. This can be done on wet or dry hair.
- Rub baby oil, olive oil, or petroleum jelly into your baby’s hair and leave it overnight, and then shampoo and brush out your baby’s hair in the morning.
What You Shouldn’t Do
- Do not use peanut oil on your baby’s scalp, as this could pose an allergy risk.
- Avoid using regular soap on your baby’s scalp.
- Do not use adult shampoo, as this could cause irritation and can even make the cradle cap worse.
- Try not to pick at the crust, this could open the skin and lead to an infection.
It is important to remember to be gentle. Do not use any products that could irritate your baby’s skin, and avoid using hard combs to scrape the crusts away. Your baby’s scalp is still very sensitive, and with the cradle cap not being a serious condition, there is no reason to cause more harm.
When To See A Doctor
Cradle cap is not a serious issue, but there are times when it might be necessary to see a doctor. Take your baby to a doctor if any of the following happens:
- The cradle cap appears all over your baby’s body
- The crust leaks fluid or bleeds
- The areas look swollen
- The cradle cap does not go away after a few weeks of continued treatment
These could all be signs of an infection, or of other skin conditions such as eczema or scabies, which require medical treatment.
In extreme cases of cradle cap, your doctor might prescribe an antifungal cream, zinc cream, or hydrocortisone.
Treating Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is harmless most of the time, and usually does clear up on its own. In some children, the cradle cap sticks around until they are between 2 and 4 years old, so you might want to use the above methods to treat the cradle cap. Just be wary of the products you use, and be gentle on your baby’s skin.