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How Long Does Cradle Cap Last?

Cute baby is washing her hair in bath

Cradle Cap- What exactly is cradle cap? How long does cradle cap last? Why does cradle cap happen? How can cradle cap be treated? These are the most common questions asked when a suspected case of cradle cap occurs. Dr. Amy and the Baby Pibu team are here to help you answer these questions.

What exactly is cradle cap?

Cradle cap presents as a 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 a common baby skin condition that is not uncomfortable or itchy, and it may seem worse than it is. Think of cradle cap as baby dandruff.

How long does cradle cap last?

Cradle cap typically presents within the first 3 months and can last for 6 to 12 months.

Why does cradle cap happen?

Cradle cap forms when there is overgrowth of a yeast-like Malassezia furfur in combination with our natural skin oils. Cradle cap can be prevented with a couple of bathing tips to minimize the buildup of the natural skin oils and the Malassezia furfur. 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.

How can cradle cap be treated?

If cradle cap can’t be prevented and it forms, there are medicated shampoos that can be used, including over-the-counter Selsun Blue shampoo with selenium sulfide, Neutrogena T Sal shampoo with salicylic acid, Nizoral Shampoo with ketoconazole, and Baby Pibu’s Gentle Scalp Lather cleanser with salicylic acid. These medicated shampoos target the yeast-like Malassezia furfur. These 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.

And now you have your most common questions about cradle cap answered!