Is there anything sweeter than a new baby’s precious head? Not much. You lean in close and snuggle your little one right up to your face. You inhale, about to smell that perfect new baby smell when you see it. Is that lint? Did I drop lunch on him? It might take a minute. You might not be able to process what you are seeing right away. After all, you are sleep deprived. You just stare at it for a minute or two, seemingly waiting for it to do something or even willing it away. A snowflake – that must be it. But deep inside, you know exactly what it is.
Dandruff. What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks? My baby is a newborn, he can’t have dandruff! That’s impossible! You know the five steps of grief? There are four steps when it comes to dandruff. The first one is denial. But as you inspect closer, you know it’s true. Dandruff. Step 2 – acceptance and maybe a little creative problem solving. Okay, he has dandruff. That’s not the end of the world, is it? Baby hats are cute. So what if we live in Miami and the temperature is always above 85. We’ll just get him some cute caps and no one will ever know the difference.
And then step 3 sets in – panic. What will my friends think? How can this be – he’s beautiful, he’s perfect! My mother-in-law will probably say that I’m bathing him wrong. Am I bathing him wrong? Wait – did I cause this? Was it something I ate during my pregnancy? I knew I should have given up wine! Oh my gosh, this is my first baby and I’ve already screwed it up. This kid is doomed.
Before you throw in the proverbial towel on motherhood and miss all of the wonderful moments to come, move to step 4. Take a deep breath and relax. Understand what’s going on here and how to handle it. I know those dry, itchy flakes were something you thought was reserved for suave –looking bachelors wearing black V-necks and gold chains, right? Then why does your precious little baby look like he needs to star in a Head and Shoulders commercial and what’s a parent to do?
Before you start reading everything you can on the Internet, take a deep breath and relax. After all, there’s a very good chance that the itchy, dry skin you’re seeing on your newborn’s head is cradle cap – and you wouldn’t be the first new parent to be concerned about this condition. But, rest assured it’s very common, and we’ve got some info to calm your worries, get rid of baby dandruff, and get your baby’s head sweet and smooth again.
So, what is cradle cap and how do you treat it? It’s basically dry scalp that has a waxy, scaly look to it. It happens when there is an abundance of a yeast-like substance (Malassezia furfur) that combines with the skin’s natural oils. The result? Cradle cap, which is essentially baby dandruff. You typically see it on your baby’s scalp, as well as around the eyebrows and nose, and behind the ears. Usually, parents are much more concerned than the baby, as it’s not typically an uncomfortable or itchy condition – it just looks that way to us.
Thankfully, cradle cap can be prevented with some simple hygiene steps. Introducing The Baby Bath. A nighttime bath regimen is not only great for your baby’s skin, but it’s very soothing and relaxing – a perfect fit right before bedtime. So to prevent cradle cap, here’s a good bath time routine:
- Using a soft, wet baby washcloth, take your index finger and gently rub the areas where the oil buildup occurs – eyebrows, nose and behind the ears. Don’t use any soap on these areas – just the washcloth.
- Use baby cleanser or shampoo with a soft bristle brush on your baby’s head, scrubbing in a soft, circular motion. This is a great exfoliator for your child’s skin.
- After the bath, soften your baby’s skin with a moisturizing cream. After all, if your newborn’s skin gets too dry, it tends to produce extra oil, which can lead to cradle cap.
Bath time is not only wonderful quality time with your baby; it also helps keep her precious skin in good condition. But, even with the best of intentions and routines, cradle cap flare-ups can still happen, so if prevention doesn’t work, these treatment tips should help:
- Use a medicated shampoo – essentially a baby dandruff shampoo – such as Baby Pibu’s Gentle Scalp Lather with salicylic acid. Other options also include over-the-counter Selsun Blue shampoo with selenium sulfide, Neutrogena T Sal shampoo (also with salicylic acid) and Nizoral Shampoo with ketoconazole.
- You can also apply a 1% hydrocortisone cream to the problem area. This is sold over-the-counter and should be used twice a day, but not for longer than 2-3 days.
- Finally, if the condition doesn’t improve after three days of treatment, contact your pediatrician or dermatologist.
Hey – it’s normal to freak out just a little. After all, as a mom, you want to keep your baby perfect, and what’s more perfect than that oh-so-soft baby skin. Rest assured that cradle cap is a common infant skin condition and doesn’t mean you should prepare for a lifelong supply of Head & Shoulders. Best of all, it’s something preventable and easily treatable. Since sleep is precious, especially for a new parent, definitely don’t let this keep you up at night. There will be plenty of other things to worry about in the years to come.
For more information on cradle cap, check out our other articles:
<a href="https://www team project management tools.babypibu.com/baby-bath-skincare-tips-prevent-cradle-cap/”>Baby Bath and Skincare Tips to Prevent Cradle Cap