Your baby has grown out of the clear-skin newborn phase and now you are seeing your baby have a case of cradle cap. How do you know it is cradle cap and what is the best treatment for cradle cap?
Cradle cap is that common flaky, waxy dry scalp rash that usually presents within the first 3 months. It also affects the eyebrow and nose areas, and behind the ears. It is not uncomfortable or itchy, and it may look worse than it is. Cradle cap forms when there is overgrowth of a yeast-like Malassezia furfur in combination with our natural skin oils. Consider cradle cap the baby version of dandruff.
One of the best treatments for cradle cap centers around bathing tips. At the beginning of your baby’s bath, use your index finger with a soft baby washcloth without any cleanser and gently wipe around the oil-prone areas of the eyebrows, behind the ears, and around the nose. Doing this routinely prevents the oily buildup that allows cradle cap to form. Towards the end of the bath, apply some baby cleanser or shampoo to a soft bristle brush and use the brush to clean baby’s head with circular strokes. The gentle brushing of the scalp exfoliates away the daily buildup of dry skin and oil. Having this be part of the bathtime routine can both help prevent cradle cap from even developing and help treat cradle cap when it does develop.
When cradle cap forms, consider using a medicated shampoo that targets the cause of cradle cap. One of the best medicated shampoos that can be used include shampoos that contain salicylic acid. Both Neutrogena’s T Sal shampoo as well as Baby Pibu’s Gentle Scalp Lather contain a low and safe dose of salicylic acid. The salicylic acid works as an antimicrobial to target the yeast-like Malassezia furfur and it also helps to exfoliate away the waxiness and flakiness of cradle cap. Other cradle cap shampoo treatments include over-the-counter Selsun Blue shampoo with selenium sulfide and Nizoral Shampoo with ketoconazole. These two medicated shampoos also contain anti-yeast ingredients that target the Malassezia furfur. All of these medicated shampoos can be used twice weekly to help get the condition under control. If there are areas that are inflamed and red, over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream can be used twice daily for 2 to 3 days. If the cradle cap worsens, further advice from a pediatrician or dermatologist should be sought.
The best treatments for cradle cap involves using a washcloth and soft bristle brush with bathtime to help prevent the buildup that can lead to a cradle cap flare and involves using the right medicated shampoos that can target one of the causes of cradle cap, Malassezia furfur.
The Baby Pibu team hopes that you can keep it simple when it comes to preventing and treating a common case of cradle cap. Now, enjoy that baby of yours!