“Cradle cap” is a skin condition that causes waxy, thick scale to develop on babies’ scalps, eyelids, face, diaper area, skin folds, and foreheads. Most mild “cradle cap” cases do not smell. However, there are instances in which more severe baby cradle cap cases do develop a slight “oily” scent because of sebum build-up.
While this condition is rather unsightly with its oily, yellowish crust and patchy scales, it’s not usually painful, itchy, or uncomfortable for the child in any way. It’s also not contagious or a sign of poor care.
What Causes Cradle Cap?
The exact cause isn’t clear, but doctors think the condition is related to overactive sebaceous glands, which produce and secrete an oily substance that moisturizes and protects the skin. A sebum excess can create cradle cap’s well-known oily, flaky build-up. Other experts theorize that it might also be connected to Malassezia, a natural-occurring yeast that lives on the skin and eats sebum.
Should You Be Worried About Cradle Cap?
It’s natural to be worried about your child developing an unsightly, crusty rash. But, in reality, cradle cap is mostly harmless. It’s not contagious, or dangerous, and it generally clears up on its own. It is noteworthy though that as baby’s get older, around 6 months old, I have had office visits with parents concerned about them rubbing ears, and low and behold there is evidence of cradle cap behind the ear folds.
While quite rare, it’s important to keep an eye on your child’s cradle cap to make sure it doesn’t get infected. Watch for signs of infection like redness, swelling, oozing, or weeping. Itching is another sign that the condition is getting worse. You should also keep an eye out for a yeasty odor that can indicate a yeast infection or an unpleasant smell that could be a sign of a bacterial infection.
If you do notice any of these signs, pay a visit to your pediatrician right away.
How Long Does Cradle Cap Last?
Most cradle cap cases go away all on their own without any sort of intervention or treatment. How long the condition lasts depends on factors like:
- Severity – Most cases are harmlessly mild. But, rarely, cradle cap can be severe. These more intense cases often take longer to clear up.
- Irritation – Additional irritation around the affected areas can extend the cradle cap. Irritation is most often caused by parents picking or scratching at the scales in an attempt to loosen or remove them. As tempting as this may be, do not pick at the scales.
- Cradle Cap Shampoo – Using a medicated shampoo or body wash can help clear up scale and prevent future build-up. Be sure to avoid over-using the medicated shampoo to prevent irritation. When not using the special shampoo, use gentle, non-soap cleansers to avoid irritating your baby’s skin or scalp.
A Shampoo for “Cradle Cap” Relief
Many pediatricians recommend soothing symptoms with a shampoo for cradle cap, more often referred to as an anti-dandruff or anti-seborrheic dermatitis shampoo. Utilizing a safe body wash and shampoo is a great way to help soothe skin and prevent more flakes from forming.
Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash is made to the highest possible safety standards without fragrances, sulfates, dyes, or parabens, making it perfect for use on sensitive young skin. Happy Cappy contains an active ingredient, Pyrithione Zinc, that helps stop the recurrence of skin and scalp itching, irritation, redness, flaking, and scaling, associated with seborrheic dermatitis. Happy Cappy also contains Licorice Root Extract to soothe redness, Provitamin B5, and Apple Fruit Extract to hydrate skin and hair. Happy Cappy uses the words “sulfate-free” to explain that we avoid harsh lathering ingredients that can excessively dry out sensitive skin.
Try Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash to help combat your little one’s flakes.