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What ingredients should you want in a cradle cap shampoo?

What ingredients should you want in a cradle cap shampoo?

Congratulations! You have a beautiful baby in your home or perhaps your sister just had a baby or your second grandson was just born.

Many concerns are swirling around, are all these hiccups normal? Why does my child sleep during the day but not at night? By 3 to 4 weeks of age some of these concerns have tapered, but new ones have probably emerged. The newest addition to the family may now have red dots on her face (neonatal acne).

Sometimes around 3 to 5 weeks of age you may notice flakes in the eyebrows and in his scalp and you may see pink moist skin in the folds of the groin or in the armpits. Many kids by 2-3 months old have full on thick, yellow, greasy scales on their scalp—many times on their soft spot (fontanelle). These flakes and scale are commonly called “cradle cap.” When there is also redness in the armpits, neck folds, groin and behind the ear you will hear doctors refer to this as seborrheic dermatitis.

They may not bother you but you may wonder is there a cradle cap shampoo perhaps that can get rid of this stuff? If there is a cradle cap shampoo, what ingredients should you want in a cradle cap shampoo? Is there a cradle cap shampoo that also doubles as a body wash for cradle cap relief?

Many people have heard that they can use oils (mineral oil, olive oil, coconut oil) or petroleum jelly to loosen these scales. Using these products can occasionally help but they can be messy, and they do not get to root of the problem. Also using a regular old baby shampoo also can help loosen the scales but may not make the problem go away.

It is not your fault these flakes and scales have emerged, they are due to a naturally occurring yeast that eats the oils that naturally lubricate the skin and this causes irritation which leads to the peeling of the skin that we call flakes and scale.

Which leads us now to what ingredients should you want in a cradle cap shampoo?

You should have a cradle cap shampoo that is gentle on the scalp and one that can be used on the face and body as well.

First, what makes a shampoo gentle. For starters avoid sulfates, these are the part of a shampoo that makes a shampoo bubble—they are technically called surfactants. Two extremely common ones are SLS and SLES. You don’t have to sacrifice lather. There are sulfate-free cradle cap shampoos out there that are plant-derived and less drying on your child’s scalp.

Second, your loved one’s scalp is irritated. Avoid ingredients that will make this irritation worse. The preservative parabens can sometimes cause problems and there are cradle cap shampoos without this preservative. Scent and color are other common irritants. Get a cradle cap shampoo that is fragrance-free and dye-free. Avoid salicylic acid. This can sometimes make irritation worse.

Third, make sure your cradle cap shampoo and body wash has been clinically tested and dermatologist tested on humans.

Fourth, what other ingredients are in there? Are there ingredients known to smooth and soothe like glycerin, apple fruit extract, and Provitamin B5? Is there natural redness soothing ingredient licorice root extract in your cradle cap shampoo?

Finally, and most importantly get a cradle cap shampoo that has a safe and effective ingredient like pyrithione zinc that can reduce the yeast that causes this problem to begin with.

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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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