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Cradle Cap Vs Dry Skin: How Can I Tell the Difference?

Cradle cap vs dry skin in babies

Babies have soft, delicate skin, which means they’re more susceptible to irritation and dryness. But luckily, most dry skin conditions are easy for you to treat at home, so you can help your baby’s skin feel healthy and comfortable.

If your baby has dry, flaking skin, you may be wondering how to tell if it’s cradle cap vs dry skin or another condition. These conditions are pretty similar, so it can be difficult to tell them apart, but there are a few key differences between the two.

How to tell the difference between dry skin vs seborrheic dermatitis

If you notice small red or white flakes on your baby’s head, this is probably dry skin or dry scalp. It’s essentially just baby dandruff, and you can treat it much the same way as you would treat adult dandruff. You may notice small red or white skin flakes, or sometimes redness and small bumps on the scalp. Dry skin in babies can look similar to other skin conditions, like eczema.

On the other hand, seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap, is dry skin that’s progressed just a little bit further. Some symptoms of cradle cap you may notice are rough or crusty bumps, or larger yellowish flakes coming off your baby’s scalp. They also may feel slightly greasy to the touch and usually occur around the scalp and sometimes the eyebrows.

So as you can see, there is a slight difference between seborrheic dermatitis vs dry skin, and both conditions are treated in similar ways.

How to treat cradle cap and dry skin

Both cradle cap and dry skin can usually be treated at home. Since neither condition is thought to cause babies any pain or itchiness, you can usually treat these conditions by changing your shampoo and bath time routines. If the symptoms don’t go away, or if it starts to look like your baby is uncomfortable, then you can consult your doctor.

If your baby has dry skin, you don’t want to shampoo too often, since it can strip the hair of its natural oils. You also want to make sure that you’re using a specially formulated shampoo and daily shampoo to restore your baby’s scalp to health.

To treat cradle cap, on the other hand, you do want to shampoo daily so you can help address the oily patches. Cradle cap can usually be treated at home with a moisturizing shampoo and a soft brush to massage the scalp and remove the flakes.

If the symptoms don’t go away, you can talk to your doctor about using a medicated shampoo to specifically target the cradle cap.

Help your baby’s skin be healthy

Both of these scalp conditions in your baby are natural and common—there’s nothing you did to cause them, and usually, they can’t be prevented either. Luckily, they’re both easy to treat at home with pediatrician-created and approved shampoos and moisturizers like products from Happy Cappy, so you can easily help your baby’s skin stay soft and healthy.

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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