Cradle cap is a condition affecting the scalp of an infant. It is an accumulation of dead skin. It is quite common and is not a cause of concern.
What is cradle cap?
Cradle cap (which looks like dandruff) is an accumulation of dead skin and oily secretions on the infant's scalp. The best way to treat it is to gently rub baby oil into the scalp and massage. You should shampoo baby's hair daily with a baby shampoo, rubbing the scalp briskly with your fingers and then brush her hair with a fine toothed comb.
For how long does cradle cap persist?
This condition rarely persists beyond the first months, but if it does, or you notice it on other parts of the body, check with the paediatrician.
What are the causes of cradle cap?
While the actual cause behind it is not known, some doctors suggest it is the result of too much of skin oil or sebum production. Malassezia is a type of fungus that grows with the sebum with bacteria that also is said to be a cause behind cradle cap.
Seborrhoea is very common among babies and teenagers. These are the times when hormonal levels shoot up and play a significant role.
Other factors that affect cradle cap are oily skin, weak immune system, some types of skin problems and so on.
What are the symptoms of cradle cap?
You need to know that cradle cap appears different in different babies. While it can sometimes be grouped together, it may also spread in other parts of the body. The following are the symptoms you can see in the areas that are affected:
Thick crusts or plaques on the scalp, armpits, eyebrows, nose, ears, neck or groin.
You may notice oily or greasy skin patches that may be covered with yellow or white scales.
The flakes may appear like dandruffs.
In very extreme cases these turn out to be itchy and result in loss of hair. However, hair tends to grow back again with time.
How is cradle cap treated?
In most of the cases you need not think of a treatment, you may simply concentrate on losing the scales from the scalp. You can do this by simply massaging her head gently with oil using your fingers. Using a mild shampoo meant for the babies once in a while is also a good option. Once the scales are gone, you can keep them under control by shampooing once in week. You must comb her hair and keep the brush clean. Also, ensure all traces of shampoos are washed off well.
If all these do not help, you shall visit your doctor for help. He might suggest a mild dandruff shampoo for the babies that contain suitable ingredients.
When it is a must to see a doctor?
You can easily identify problems like cradle cap at home. However, these are the conditions to be taken seriously and must be reported to the doctor. Take a look:
In case you are treating such a condition for the first time.
In case you find her suffering from this condition where there is no hair growth.
In case you get no positive results with treatments at home.
If you find her suffering from loss of hair and itchy skin.
If you find the area turning red or getting warm, it might be a sign of infection.
If you find her immune system getting weak and is she has problems gaining weight.
You must never use any over-the-counter products to treat cradle cap of your baby. Your doctor is the best person to help you with suitable products to deal with it. Never scratch it with your nails as it can worsen the condition.
Cradle cap tends to disappear only to appear after few months. The steps mentioned above should be followed when it reappears again. Following these steps you shall be able to keep at bay such skin problems and also ensure healthy hair growth. The best option is to consult your doctor so that you can follow the right approach to treat such condition.
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- The Indiaparenting Team