Cradle cap is a form of dermatitis that affects infants.
Most parents will notice white or yellowish crusty, scaly patches on their child’s head which does not seem to easily wash away when bathing the child as normal. Some people call it ‘baby dandruff’.
Cradle cap is not contagious and not harmful. It is basically shed skin cells which are trapped in a layer of natural oils produced by the baby’s scalp.
It is most frequently seen in children at about age 6 weeks, and usually resolves quickly, though some cases can last until the child is about a year old. The scales do not itch, and do not cause the baby any discomfort.
To loose the scaly patches, apply a small amount of baby oil. Brush the baby’s hair gently to loosen the scales, then shampoo with baby shampoo.
Regular brushing and shampooing will usually resolve the problem. Do not use adult shampoos on a baby.
If the scaly patches seem red or inflamed, if they do not respond to treatment, if they seem to be spreading to other areas of the body, or if your baby also develops diaper rash at the same time, consult your baby’s pediatrician.