Seven Things You Should Know about Cradle Cap

Seven Things You Should Know about Cradle Cap
Last week cradle cap was the top searched condition/disease on To help iTriage users learn more about this condition, we compiled a quick list of the top seven things you should know about cradle cap, since it’s one of the most common infant conditions that parents discover. Cradle cap has similar signs of eczema, so its outward appearance, which looks as if the parent is not bathing or caring for their child, can make the parent feel a bit uneasy.

1. Cradle cap is not dandruff. You don’t need to switch from Johnson’s® Baby Shampoo to Proctor & Gamble’s head and shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo when your baby’s scalp becomes flaky and dry, or even when yellowish and brown crusty patches appear. However, some doctors may suggest that. Cradle cap is considered a temporary condition.

2. Cradle cap may occur in other places than just the scalp. The same flaky and dry appearance may appear on the ears, eyebrows, armpits or other creases in your baby’s skin. When not on the scalp, the condition is referred to as seborrheic dermatitis.

3. Cradle cap is completely harmless. Often showing up in the first few months of life, this condition is completely harmless. While some babies may have cradle cap for years, most infants no longer exhibit the signs of cradle cap somewhere between six and 12 months of age.

4. The cause of cradle cap is unknown. While some believe that hormones received from the mother at the end of pregnancy contribute to an overstimulation of oil glands, no definitive evidence supports this theory.

5. Your baby is likely not bothered by cradle cap. Unless your infant has a severe case of cradle cap that would likely lead to an itchy feeling, most babies are completely unaware of the condition. If it bothers you, as a parent, you might try more frequent shampooing and use a soft-bristled brush or terrycloth towel to gently brush the scalp.

6. Parents should not pick off the build-up of cradle cap scales. A baby’s scalp is extremely delicate, so never use your fingernails to pick off the scales from cradle cap. By doing so, you may increase the risk of infection.

7. A doctor can treat more severe cases of cradle cap. When cradle cap spreads beyond the scalp to other parts of the body or becomes severe, your pediatrician can suggest an over-the-counter medication or a prescription of seborrhea shampoo. If the scalp is inflamed, a cortisone treatment may be necessary. Your baby’s doctor may also refer you to a dermatologist in your area for more specialized treatment.

To learn more about cradle cap, eczema and where to locate a pediatrician or dermatologist, please download the free iTriage mobile application or log onto

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