“Cradle cap,” clinically known as seborrheic dermatitis, is the dry, flaky, scaly, or crusty patches of skin you might see pop up on your little one. It might look ugly, painful, and scary, but cradle cap is harmless.
In fact, cradle cap is really just a different form of dandruff. It’s a temporary condition that is quite common in newborns. If your baby has cradle cap, don’t worry – you haven’t done anything wrong, and there is an easy and effective way to treat its symptoms.
1. Use Medicated Seborrheic Dermatitis Shampoo
Even though cradle cap and dandruff are very similar, parents should not use adult dandruff shampoo on babies. Most adult dandruff shampoos are much too harsh for sensitive young skin and can cause irritation or even make the cradle cap worse.
Instead, use a seborrheic dermatitis shampoo made for kids, like Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash. Made with 95% natural ingredients, this product is free of fragrances, sulfates, parabens, dyes, and other ingredients that could irritate young skin. It features FDA approved active ingredient, pyrithione zinc, to fight back against the symptoms of flaking and scaling associated with seborrheic dermatitis and contains licorice root extract to soothe redness.
Many parents report results in just two washes but keep using the medicated shampoo for two to three days after the scales clear to prevent new buildup. We suggest continued use at least twice a week for a few months. On the days not using the medicated shampoo continuing to avoid irritants is possible by using an eczema shampoo.
Also, consider using a baby eczema cream to supplement the shampoo for any dry skincare needs.
2. Brush Away Scales
If there are copious scales that are hanging around after a week of using a medicated shampoo for cradle cap, gently massage away scales from your baby’s scalp using a soft tool like a silicon baby brush, soft bristle toothbrush, soft face cloth, or a natural bristle nail brush.
Pro-tip: Do this at bath time when the scales are softer and already loose. Utilize the cradle cap shampoo with the cradle cap brush for maximal results. . Never scratch or pick at the scales with your fingernails, as this could cause infection or further irritation.
3. One Bath Per Day
It may be tempting to try and wash away the cradle cap with extra baths. But this can actually make the cradle cap worse and dry out already irritated skin.
Keep baths short, about 10 minutes long, and limit them to once per day. Be sure to use warm water that’s not too hot as heat can also lead to more irritation. While some infants are initially not fans of a bath, bathing will likely become a fun bonding experience with your child.
4. Use a Humidifier
In the winter months, humidifiers can do wonders for a baby with dry skin whether or not they have cradle cap. A humidifier is ideal for keeping skin moisturized, but make sure to regularly service your humidifier to avoid mold build up.
Place the humidifier in the room in which your baby sleeps and turn it on during naps and at night.