That sweet new baby. That amazing new baby smell, naps on the chest, tiny sighs. There are a lot of wonderful firsts in the first few months with a baby. Unfortunately, cradle cap also happens in the first few months and it’s not so wonderful. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are 3 easy steps to treat cradle cap.
Cradle cap is a common infant skin condition that usually appears within the first three months of a baby’s life. It often looks like oily, flaky patches on that beautiful baby skin. Good news for parents though. While cradle cap appears itchy or uncomfortable, it rarely causes babies any discomfort. It usually bothers parents more than babies.
Cradle cap is also known as seborrheic dermatitis and it is much like adult dandruff. Areas that are typically affected in babies are the scalp, eyebrows, around the nose, and behind the ears. The cradle cap rash forms when there is excess oil and skin build-up, as well as an overgrowth of a normal skin substance called Malassezia furfur, which is much like yeast. Cradle cap is not contagious – some babies are just more prone to it.
Here are a few tips to prevent your baby from having a case of cradle cap:
- Just add water. During your baby’s bath time, clean the baby’s eyebrows, around the nose and behind
the ears with warm water and a washcloth. Do not use any soap or cleanser. Just use your index finger in the washcloth. This will help to exfoliate away the extra skin and oils of the areas.
- Gently scrub a dub dub. At the end of the bath, use a soft bristle brush to clean your baby’s scalp. We personally like the soft bristle brush by Safety 1st. Place a pea size amount of liquid tear-free hair and body wash on the wet brush and use circular motions to clean your baby’s head. This will help to exfoliate away the extra skin and oils of the scalp and prevent any buildup that can cause cradle cap.
If your baby still develops cradle cap despite these preventative tips, here are 3 easy steps to treat cradle cap:
- Wash your troubles away. Switch to a medicated shampoo with an anti-yeast ingredient. Some good ones to consider include Selsun Blue with selenium sulfide, Nizoral shampoo with ketoconazole,
Neutrogena TSal shampoo with salicylic acid and our own Baby Pibu™ Gentle Scalp Lather with salicylic acid. Use a medicated shampoo daily during cradle cap flares until the condition improves. If your baby is prone to cradle cap, you can use a medicated shampoo 1 to 2 times per week to help prevent a flare.
- Calm down. If you need quick relief from cradle cap (like your mother-in-law is coming to visit and you need your baby to look angelic), you can use a safe over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream. Use the cream twice daily for two to three days to calm the rash. Remember to check with your pediatrician before using hydrocortisone on babies, and never use it for more than three days.
- See the doc. If the cradle cap doesn’t improve within three days of using the above treatments, take your baby to see a pediatrician or dermatologist.
By following these 3 easy steps to treat cradle cap, your baby’s skin will be back to its delicious state in no time, and you can move on to experiencing more firsts. Enjoy your little one!