If you begin to notice flakes on your baby’s head – don’t be alarmed! The most common cause of flakes on babies’ heads, eyebrows, or ears is a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.
A more intense version of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis is a mild sloughing of the topmost layer of skin that is characterized by itching and flaking almost anywhere on the body, but particularly around oil-producing glands in the neck folds, diaper area, armpits, and head. Some cases of seborrheic dermatitis, which is also colloquially called “cradle cap,” can also cause scaling, redness, yellow crusting, inflammation, or irritation.
You haven’t done anything wrong if your baby develops seborrheic dermatitis. It’s not contagious or caused by inadequate care. Plus, it’s fairly easy to treat with a seborrheic dermatitis shampoo.
What If It’s Not Seborrheic Dermatitis?
There are a few other potential causes for flakes on a baby’s head, including:
- Newborn skin peeling
It is almost universal that newborns will have thin peeling, dry skin right after birth. However, unlike seborrheic dermatitis, newborn skin peeling won’t be concentrated in specific areas, and it won’t manifest in conjunction with thick crusting or discoloration. Also, newborn skin peeling is most common in the first 1 to 4 weeks of life, while seborrheic dermatitis mostly affects children from 1 to 12 months old.
If the flakes on your baby’s head were caused by eczema, there would also most likely be itchy, red, and dry spots on other parts of the body beyond the scalp, such as on the cheeks, elbows, or knees.
Similarly, ichthyosis is a dry skin condition that occurs on large parts of the body. If it was ichthyosis, you would see flaking and dry skin on the arms, legs, and even the whole trunk of your baby’s body. It is important to note ichthyosis is rare.
Finally, if the head flakes were Psoriasis, you would see many other symptoms beyond flaking. Psoriasis would also cause sharply defined, red rashes with thick, white scale. Psoriasis is more common than ichthyosis but is very rare in the first year after birth.
1 in 3 Babies Will Develop Seborrheic Dermatitis
If your baby has flakes on his head, it is most likely seborrheic dermatitis. In fact, 1 in 3 babies will develop this condition in the first year of life, which means about 1.4 million babies per year. Plus, seborrheic dermatitis is very easy to treat, making it a good diagnosis to start with before jumping to more serious conditions.
If your baby’s flakes don’t go away or get worse, consult with your pediatrician.
Soothe Your Baby’s Flakes
Seborrheic dermatitis, or “cradle cap,” isn’t something you caused or even something you can prevent, but it is something you can easily soothe. A medicated cradle cap shampoo is a great way to help relieve cradle cap flaking.
Made with the active ingredient pyrithione zinc, Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash is designed to control seborrheic dermatitis. Happy Cappy is also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, non-irritating, and paraben-free to be gentle on sensitive young skin.
Gently wash your baby’s head every day with Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo & Body Wash. Before rinsing, massage the scalp with your fingertips or a washcloth to help loosen the scales and flakes. After the scales fade, repeat the process every two to three days to help prevent a future flake build-up.