Posted on September 14 2018
What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is a skin rash that usually affects newborn babies, although it can affect people of any age. In older children and adults, it’s more generally known as dandruff. If your baby has dry skin and scalp problems, it’s probably cradle cap and is extremely common and easily treatable, so don’t panic!
Cradle cap can also affect the areas behind the ears, forehead and other parts of the body. The condition usually presents as red or yellow flaky and irritated looking skin.
What Causes Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is when dry and flaky scaly patches to build up on a baby’s head. The patches aren’t itchy and aren’t contagious, and can be treated with various home remedies. The cause of cradle cap isn’t really known. Some doctors think the condition is caused by overactive oil glands or by a fungal infection. Cradle cap is not caused by poor hygiene and is not contagious.
Cradle Cap Treatment
Cradle cap is easily treatable and there are a variety of cradle cap remedies that can be tried at home. Cradle cap treatment is pretty straightforward, but if the condition doesn’t go away or you’re concerned about your baby, please contact your doctor for other options that could help to resolve the problem. Here are some treatments you can try at home that should help the cradle cap symptoms subside.
- Gently massage your baby’s scalp with your fingers and/or a soft brush to loosen dry and scaly skin. You can do this before and after shampooing.
- Apply a small amount of an emollient (we recommend Babo’s eczema ointment) to loosen the scaly patches.
- Shampoo your baby’s head daily or as needed with a mild baby shampoo (unless your doctor recommends something stronger) and be sure to rinse out all the shampoo and soap from the scalp and hair and dry with a soft towel
- Repeat the process until the skin irritation is gone.
Cradle Cap in Adults
Cradle cap can happen in adults as well, and can be caused by stress, hormones or illness and other skin conditions. It is called seborrheic dermatitis for adults. Like with cradle cap in babies, the rash is not contagious. The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not completely clear, but may involve an inflammatory reaction to a yeast naturally present on the skin surface. Symptoms may come and go, and may be worse during particular seasons (eg, during cold weather). Flares can also occur during periods of stress, hormonal changes, or illness.
It can also occur on the ears, eyebrows, the bridge and sides of the nose, in the crease between the nose and lip and central chest.
Because natural coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid and capric acid, it has strong antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Coconut oil applied to the skin has been shown to help reduce excess yeast, microbes and fungus that can lead to irritation, too much oiliness or dryness. Even better, use coconut oil on the skin along with soothing essential oils — like cedarwood oil, lemongrass, tea tree oil, rosemary and lavender. Tea Tree oil, in particular, has been used to help relieve seborrheic dermatitis and you can even mix these oils into a mild, sulfate free shampoo.
How to Prevent Cradle Cap
- Use your fingers or a soft-bristled cradle cap brush and gently massage your baby’s scalp to help prevent the build up of scaly skin.
- Wash your baby’s head daily or as needed, making sure to rinse all of the soap or baby shampoo away from the scalp.
Cradle Cap Shampoo
With all the baby shampoos out on the market, it can be difficult to know what shampoo will work best for you and your baby. Our Sensitive Newborn Foam Baby Wash is our fragrance free sensitive skin foam body wash, and contains shea and cocoa butter to help moisturize and soothe dry newborn skin.
Our Moisturizing Baby Shampoo with Oatmilk and Calendula is our #1 best-selling product and it is specially formulated to help calm and soothe delicate skin, and is a gentle shampoo rich in antioxidants and vitamins.