Cradle cap is a very common condition – roughly 50% of babies experience it and there is no cause for concern. The appearance of cradle cap is not linked to hygiene or allergies. It is harmless and, unless severe, does not cause discomfort for the baby.
Usually cradle cap appears on the top of the head, but it can also be found around the ears, eyebrows and eyelids of babies. It varies in appearance from flaky dry skin that looks like dandruff to yellowish or brown scaly or crusty patches. Cradle cap most commonly appears when the child is a few months old and will most likely clear up, if left alone, within six to twelve months.
If your child’s cradle cap is bothering you, there are measures you can take to help get rid of it. Apply baby oil, mineral oil or petroleum jelly to your little one’s head. Leave it on for about an hour and then brush with a soft bristle brush or a fine toothed comb and try to remove the scales. Then wash with your regular baby shampoo, rinse well and pat dry with a towel. If the cradle cap persists, you can speak to your child’s doctor about using a dandruff shampoo, but special precautions will need to be taken to avoid getting the shampoo in your baby’s eyes. In more severe cases, your doctor may have further suggestions or may prescribe special medications.