What is cradle cap?
It can look slightly different on each child, but in general, it looks like rough, scaly white or yellow patches, similar to large, thick scales of dandruff. It’s most commonly spotted on the scalp (like a cap—hence the name) but can occur in other areas like the ears, eyelids, eyebrows, and even armpits.
There’s no definitive cause for cradle cap but experts believe that it’s caused by caused by an overproduction of skin oil (aka sebum) and can be exacerbated by other skin conditions, weather, and harsh ingredients in skin care products.
Fortunately, although it can look alarming, cradle cap (also known as seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea) is harmless. And while it gets many worried parents up in arms (and may put a temporary damper on photo shoots), babies typically don’t even know it’s there!
How to treat cradle cap
When it comes to cradle cap treatment, less is more. In many cases, it will resolve itself. If not, a doctor may recommend a medicated shampoo or other treatment. And remember, resist the urge to pick. The thick scales will start to look like they’re naturally peeling off, and even when they’re just “hanging by a thread,” picking at them can cause hair to come off with the scales or even cause little cuts and tears.
You can help loosen and remove the scales by washing baby’s scalp daily with mild shampoo like California Baby Therapeutic Relief Eczema Shampoo.