How To Get Rid Of Cradle Cap
After all the waiting, your wonderful mini human has arrived. This beautiful tiny, wrinkly person is just perfect in every way. You can’t wait to show your flawless little wonder the world. But wait – what is this gross, yellow stuff on her/his scalp? Pretty sure, it has not been there yesterday. Don’t panic. Even though it doesn’t look nice, those yellow scales are absolutely normal. This is just one of the little, hardly known surprises newborns come equipped with: The cradle cap. Here is everything you need to know about cradle cap and how to get rid of it naturally.
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What Is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap, also known as Seborrheic Dermatitis, is a skin condition that typically affects infants under 3 Months. As the medical name suggests, this is a temporary form of dermatitis, which appears as waxy, yellow scales on the scalp, eyebrows and even in skin folds. It is harmless and not itchy or bothersome to the baby.
Who Can Get Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is very common in newborns. It may appear within the first three months of life and should clear up completely by 6 to 8 months. Since babies naturally outgrow this skin condition, it should not become worse or reappear after three months of age. Cradle cap is not contagious and cannot be passed on to another being.
What Causes Cradle Cap?
In the first few months after birth the babies body has still to adjust to the conditions outside of the womb. During the nine months in amniotic fluid sebaceous glands have been waterproofing the baby’s head by producing an oily grease called sebum. Since the mother’s hormones are still circulating in the newborns system, the sebaceous glands keep producing extra oil. Unfortunately, this leads to a build-up of dead skin on the baby’s scalp and clogging of pores. After three months of age, the sebaceous glands become inactive. Cradle cap is also believed to be caused by an overreaction to the natural yeast on the baby’s head and thus seen as a form of yeast infection.
How To Deal With Cradle Cap?
Usually, cradle cap can dissolve on its own after a few months. But you might find it unsightly and do not want to wait that long. Here is how you can prevent cradle cap from building up and get rid of it faster if it already appeared:
1. Wash your baby’s hair daily with mild baby shampoo.
Washing a baby’s hair daily with a small amount of mild baby shampoo on a face washer helps getting rid of extra oil and prevents the build up of dead skin cells. If your baby has eczema speak to your GP about which shampoo is safe for your little one to use. Do not use anti dandruff shampoo on the baby’s delicate skin. This is usually unnecessary and should not be used, unless recommended by the GP.
2. While the baby’s hair is still wet, brush it.
Brushing baby’s hair with a soft baby brush while the scalp is still wet, makes it easier to get rid of dead skin cells. When the hair is still wet, the skin of the scalp is softer. Dead skin cells that keep sticking to the skin are more likely to loosen from the surrounding soft skin.
3. Dry baby’s hair with a towel
Soaking up the water with a towel also means soaking up any excessive oil that separated from the hair or scalp due to the oil binding molecules of the soap. Additionally, gently drying baby’s hair with a towel aids the circulation and reduces the build up of dead skin cells. Don’t rub though, as skin can get irritated or start bleeding. Remember that your baby’s head has soft spots, as well, so don’t apply pressure.
4. Brush The Dry Hair
When the hair is dry, brush it again with a soft baby brush. Any loose scales should easily come off the baby’s hair, now. Do not pick on any scales as this can damage the skin underneath or cause bleeding and inflammation. When brushing out dead skin, hair might come off, too. This is very likely just some hair that is actually not attached anymore but sticks to the scalp due to the waxy scales and dead skin. So it would have come off any way. Cradle cap itself does not cause hair loss or prevents new hair to grow.
Repeat those simple steps daily for a safe way to get rid of cradle cap and prevent any new build up.
It is important not to scratch or pick on the cradle cap, even though it can be tempting. Scratching and picking can cause bleeding, irritation, inflammation and infection or even scarring.
Furthermore, it is not advisable to use any vegetable oils. The underlying cause of cradle cap is excessive oil, so it would not be helpful to add more oil. It might soften the scales and make it easy to loosen them at first, but the cradle cap can become more severe or inflamed. In addition to this, some babies might show allergic reactions to some vegetable oils. The problem with olive oil in specific is that olive oil has components that are, in the long run, actually drying baby’s delicate skin out too much. Unfortunately, I did not know that. I applied olive oil on my baby’s scalp when the cradle cap was only slightly visible. The next morning it was three times worse.
When To See The GP?
You should see the GP if the cradle cap does not seem to improve within two weeks despite this treatment, or if it continues after the baby is three months old.
You should see a GP if the cradle cap is itchy or bothers your baby in any way. Or if the cradle cap spreads to other parts of the body.
If the skin looks red, swollen, or inflamed, weeps, has an odor or bleeds, it might be an infection. This has to be treated by your GP, because your baby might need antibiotics.
If you are unsure in anyway if your baby has cradle cap, ask your GP about it.
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