Cradle cap is a harmless condition resembling dandruff that is extremely common in young babies. It usually appears during the first three months of a baby’s life, but can also affect toddlers and young children. If your baby develops cradle cap, you may first of all notice a little scurf on his or her head, followed by the appearance of yellowish or brownish greasy-looking scales of thickened skin which stick to the scalp. These patches sometimes appear over the whole head, sometimes just in small areas. Some specialists believe the crusts are due to excess production of sebum -grease from the sebaceous glands – in response to the mother’s hormones.
Although it can be unsightly, cradle cap is unlikely to do your baby any harm. It usually disappears on its own after a few months. To ease it you can rub the baby’s head with baby oil or olive oil and leave for 24 hours. Comb the hair gently, then wash the flakes of skin away. Alternatively, treat cradle cap with specially formulated gentle, medicated shampoo until the scalp is clear.
If you are worried and the cradle cap persists despite treatment, do seek the advice of your doctor or health visitor.
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