How to Handle a Child Who Has Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is a condition that babies can suffer from that leads to oily or crusty scaly areas on the scalp. Though the condition isn’t itchy or painful, it can cause thick yellow or white scales that can be challenging to remove. While cradle cap will typically clear up on its own within a few weeks or months, there are some remedies to make the process quicker.
Common Symptoms of Cradle Cap
There are several signs of cradle cap, including the following:
- Mild redness to the scalp
- Thick crust or patchy scales on the scalp
- Skin flakes
- Dry or oil skin covered with yellow scales or white flakes
In some cases, cradle cap can also be found on the eyelids, in the ears, on the nose, and in the groin area. It’s a common problem for infants but usually causes no discomfort.
Treating Cradle Cap Using Shampoo
While you might be concerned about whether you should wash a baby’s hair when they have cradle cap, it’s one of the best things you can do. The best option is to use a mild baby shampoo to wash the child’s hair more frequently than you usually do. Shampooing and gentle brushing are often helpful for removing the cradle cap scales.
There are also medicated shampoos that can be used to loosen scales, but they may cause irritation. These products should only be used if your pediatrician recommends them. After the cradle cap has cleared up, washing the baby’s hair every other day can help prevent new scales from forming.
Don’t Use Baby Oil to Treat the Problem
While it might seem to make sense to use baby oil on cradle cap, most people find that it doesn’t offer much relief. Using unperfumed mineral oil or baby oil and trying no other remedies can actually cause the scalp scales to build up again. This can be especially problematic when the scales are located on the fontanelle at the back of the head.
There are also other remedies that should be avoided. Peanut oil should not be used on the baby’s scalp since it poses an allergy risk. Adult shampoos and soaps should also be avoided since they contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the scalp further. It’s also important to avoid picking at the crust on the baby’s head since this can create an infection.
Consider a Prescription Lotion or Cream
If your doctor believes it is the right option, your child may be prescribed a cortisone lotion or cream. This can help alleviate the cradle cap and remove the scales and flakes on the scalp. After things are looking a bit better, going back to frequent hair washing with a gentle baby shampoo will often prevent the reoccurrence of cradle cap.
After applying a cream or lotion, you can rub the scalp with a washcloth or your fingers to loosen the scales but avoid scratching. If the scales don’t loosen easily, let the remedy soak in and use a brush to try again. You can also shampoo the baby’s hair again to loosen up the scales for easier removal.
Try a Tested Balm to Alleviate Cradle Cap
One of the best remedies for cradle cap is Baby Bum Balm by Woman in the Moon. It works well for the symptoms of cradle cap but can also be used for diaper rash and other children’s irritations. This balm comes in a light golden color and has a soft texture that children will love. It can start helping with cradle cap upon its first application. Use it regularly to keep the problem handled.