Cradle cap is a common skin condition that appear on the scalp of newborn babies (navjat shishu). It looks like snowy flakes of skin on the scalp of the head (just like dandruff in adults). These yellowish, greasy patches of scaling feel hard, thick and rough to touch. Though, it is not itchy and does not bother the infant but it may cause hair loss in some cases.
Cradle cap is mostly occurs between the first three months after birth but it may also occur later. (1) It is often prominent around the ear, the eyebrows or the eyelids and raises in little clumps on your baby’s body. It generally appears in mild form and extremely common among newborn babies. Severe cradle cap is rarely found.
Causes, Symptoms and Treatment:
Medically termed as Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis, cradle cap is an inflammatory condition that is primarily caused due to the over secretion of sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are small glands in the skin that secrete a lubricating oily matter (sebum) into the hair follicles to lubricate the skin and hair. But over secretion of this oily matter facilitates the clogging of the pores with dead cells that results in a type of fungal infection in the skin of newborn babies. Other causes of this infection may be mother’s hormones, yeast infection, improper hygiene or some nutritional deficiency.
In general, cradle cap is not a serious problem and normally it will clear up by leaving it alone as it is. Or, you can easily overcome this problem by applying simple home remedies. But if these greasy patches became severe like- itchy, irritating and spreading over on the other parts of body, consult your doctor for medical treatment. However, in mild infection, you can apply some home remedies to remove the scaly skin from the baby’s scalp.
Home Remedies for Cradle Cap:
1. Coconut & Olive Oil for Cradle Cap:
Coconut oil is known for its natural anti fungal and antibacterial properties; it is very effective in babies cradle cap too. Simply, apply few drops of coconut oil on the affected area of the scalp gently. Leave it for 15-20 minutes and then brush off the greasy patches gently but do not use force to remove patches. After that, wash the baby’s hair with mild baby shampoo or anti-fungal baby soap.
Olive oil is also good for skin as it contains more vitamin E. You can use it for massage over baby’s scalp instead of coconut oil too.
2. Vaseline/ Petroleum Jelly :
Vaseline or Petroleum jelly helps in maintaining the moisture of the skin; it also helps in removing the greasy patches of the scalp of the baby in cradle cap. Simply, apply Vaseline/ petroleum jelly on your baby’s scalp at night and leave it overnight. Wash the hair with mild baby shampoo in the next day morning and wipe with a soft towel.
3. Baking soda for Cradle Cap:
Another important ingredient to treat cradle cap in infants is baking soda. Baking soda helps by absorbing excess oil that is the main cause of clogging the pores. Therefore, mix few spoons of baking soda with equal amount of water, apply over the scalp and leave it for 5-7 minutes. Then comb gently to remove the scales/ patches. You can use coconut oil instead of water and massage over baby’s scalp. Remember, don’t apply too much force to remove patches, it will take time.
4. Breast Milk for Cradle Cap:
Breast milk is a natural drug for almost all problems of infants. It is also used as a home remedy of cradle cap in infants. You can apply few drops of the breast milk on the affected area of the scalp and leave it for some time; then brush gently.
5. Almond Oil for Cradle Cap:
Almond oil is also rich in vitamin E and works very well in cradle cap too. You can apply it on the affected area of the scalp of the baby to massage gently. After some time, gently brush with soft baby comb and wipe it off with wet cotton cloth.
6. Baby Hair Brush:
Brush your baby’s scalp with a soft baby hair brush at least twice a day. It helps in removing greasy patches and maintaining hygiene too. But don’t apply force, it will take time to cure completely. Baby hair brushes are easily available in market.
Cradle cap is a common condition in infants that is completely harmless and usually disappears by the first birthday of the baby. But if it is severe, consult the pediatrician immediately.