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Cradle cap

Cradle cap is a skin condition commonly found on the scalp of babies. It usually appears in the first few weeks of life characterised by greasy, yellow, scaly patches on the skin of the baby’s scalp.

It is a form of dermatitis that is thought to be a result of hormonal changes which stimulate secretions from the oil glands in the skin. Cradle cap does not appear to be itchy or cause any distress to your baby nor is it contagious.

How to treat cradle cap

Mild cradle cap often goes away without treatment, however there are steps you can take which might help to soften it and remove it gently.

Rub a little olive oil into your baby’s scalp before bed and then wash your baby’s hair in the morning with a mild shampoo. While washing your baby’s head, if you gently massage the scalp with a soft baby toothbrush you should be able to remove some of the flaky bits.

Usually there is no other treatment required and the cradle cap stops developing as your baby gets older. On a rare occasion the doctor may choose to treat the cradle cap with a weak hydrocortisone cream, possibly along with a mild special baby shampoo.

Very severe cases may be referred to a skin specialist. If you notice your baby’s cradle cap spreading to his face or body consult your doctor.

On very rare occasions the cradle cap can get infected. If this happens you will see the skin become red and develop small blisters which may start to weep. This is caused by a germ called impetigo and if you notice this you should take your baby to the doctor. Very severe cases may be referred to a skin specialist. If you notice your baby developing eczema on his face or body consult your doctor.

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