Cradle Cap Defined and Symptoms
Cradle cap (Infantile seborrheic dermatitis) is a common skin rash found in children. The skin rash is typically found in newborn babies. The rash may not appear as soon as the baby is born, but it can develop within the first year after birth. Occasionally, the rash may appear in preschool-age children.
The skin rash can range from small scales to large scales. Typically, the rash is seen as small patches and/or scaly with a yellowish color. It is not considered a serious, long-term skin condition and it may be treated with self-care at home. Occasionally, cradle cap may be treated by a physician in a doctor’s office or an outpatient clinic.
Cradle Cap Treatments
Cradle cap treatments may range from no treatment to medical treatment under a physician’s care. It depends on the intensity of the scalp rash.
Parents/guardians may treat cradle cap at home with effective results. One home treatment is leaving the cradle cap alone. Most cases of cradle cap clear up without any treatment so a parent/guardian may decide against active treatment. Or, a parent/guardian may apply a liberal amount of petroleum jelly on the scalp and hair roots. The petroleum jelly may remain overnight, which allows the softened scalp scales to be combed in the morning during bath time.
Another treatment for cradle cap is shampoo. A mild, non-irritating shampoo formula should be used to minimize causing the baby discomfort and reduce the chance of the baby crying. Also, the shampoo directions should be followed to clear up the scalp scales.
Self-treatment is the first choice for cradle cap used by parents/guardians. However, a physician should be notified if the cradle cap is inflamed or reddened because the self-treatment may not have worked effectively. A physician can perform a medical examination to rule out other skin conditions.
Once cradle cap has been diagnosed, the physician may prescribe an over-the-counter cortisone cream. The cream should be used as directed by the physician. For instance, the cream may need to be applied more than once daily to prevent the cradle cap from spreading to various body parts. Parents/guardians may seek follow-up medical treatment to verify that the cradle cap has been cleared.
Sources: Cradle Cap-Topic Overview