As parents of little ones, we all want our babies to look cute. And cradle cap, that flaky, dandruff-like condition, just isn’t cute. And as parents, we worry about how this awful looking stuff might affect our little one. However, with cradle cap, there is no need to worry. Its looks are about the scariest part of the condition. Read on for bath and skincare tips on how to prevent cradle cap.
Cradle cap is a common baby skin condition that most often appears within the first three months of a baby’s life. It is a flaky skin rash that can cause more concern than needed. Although it may appears uncomfortable, it rarely causes any irritation or itchiness to our babies.
The formal medical term for cradle cap is seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic means oily so, as the term suggests, this dermatitis affects the skin in the more oily areas: the scalp, eyebrows, around the nose, and behind the ears. The adult comparison to cradle cap is dandruff. Cradle cap forms when the skin’s environment is the right blend of sebaceous oils with the yeast that normally lives on our skin called Malassezia furfur. The combination of the two produces the flaky, oily skin you notice. Cradle cap is not contagious. Some babies are just more prone to it, just like some adults are more prone to dandruff.
Here are a few bathing tips and skincare tips from Baby Pibu™ and Moms on Call that can help prevent your baby from developing cradle cap:
- Once the baby’s umbilical cord remnant falls off of your baby’s belly button (usually when your baby is about two weeks old) you can begin to give your baby a bath. Baby Pibu™ and Moms on Call recommend that a bath be part of your nightly routine to calm your baby, clean your baby, and get your baby ready for nighttime. Your baby will soon associate the nightly bath with nighttime (the time to have lights out and go to sleep)!
- Please check out our instructional video on how to give a bath safely. https://www.babypibu.com/tub-time-tips-create-bath-time-routine-soothes/
- To help prevent cradle cap during bath time use your index finger with a soft baby washcloth without any cleanser or soap to clean the oily areas: eyebrows, around the nose, and behind the ears. This will help to exfoliate away the extra skin and oils of the areas and help to prevent cradle cap.
- At the end of the bath, use a soft bristle brush to clean your baby’s scalp. Baby Pibu™ recommends the soft bristle brushes by Safety 1st. Place a pea-sized amount of liquid tear-free hair and body wash like Baby Pibu™ Bathtime Wash on the wet brush and use circular motions to clean your baby’s head. The soft bristles will help to exfoliate away the extra skin and oils of the scalp and help to prevent cradle cap.
- At the end of the bath, apply a moisturizing cream to your baby’s skin. This will keep your baby’s skin moisturized and will minimize your baby’s skin’s tendency to produce extra oil, which can happen if the skin gets too dry.
If your baby still develops cradle cap despite these preventative tips on how to prevent cradle cap, here are a few cradle cap treatments you can safely use for your baby.
- Medicated shampoos with safe, low-dose anti-yeast ingredients can be used to decrease the yeast on the baby’s skin. These include over-the-counter Selsun Blue shampoo (with selenium sulfide), Nizoral shampoo (with ketoconazole), Neutrogena TSal shampoo (with salicylic acid), and Baby Pibu™ Gentle Scalp Lather (with salicylic acid). These shampoos can be used daily during cradle cap flares until the condition improves. Natural cradle cap shampoo can also be used 1 to 2 times a week to prevent cradle cap if your baby is prone to the condition.
- If you need your baby to look picture-ready with no red, flaky cradle cap rash, you can use over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone (Cortizone-10 or Baby Pibu™ Rash Relief) on the cradle cap areas twice daily for 2 to 3 days to calm the cradle cap rash down. Do not use cortisone for extended periods of time.
- If you don’t see improvement in your baby’s cradle cap within three days of using the above treatment measures, you should have your baby seen by your pediatrician or dermatologist.
No need to fear – cradle cap looks scarier than it actually is. And following the bathing and skincare tips from Baby Pibu™ and Moms on Call will help prevent your baby from having a case of cradle cap. If the tips above do not work, consult your doctor on what to use for cradle cap.
~ The Baby Pibu™ Team