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Cradle Cap

What is Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap is very common in infants and can be a problem any time within the first year. The medical term for cradle cap is ‘infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis’. Cradle cap is usually seen as thick oily yellowish scaling on the scalp, but it may also appear dry and flaky like dandruff.

Cradle cap does not itch. It is a harmless condition which does not cause the baby any distress. It is not caused by bacteria, allergy or poor hygiene but is thought to probably be due to overactive sebaceous glands. (These are the glands which produce oils in our skin).

Treatment of Cradle Cap

Cradle cap does not require any specific treatment and usually clears up within a few months. It may however be unsightly. More frequent washing and massaging of the scalp with a gentle baby shampoo such as Johnsons® Baby No More Tangles Shampoo, will often remove the flakes. After washing, the scalp should be brushed with a soft baby brush such as NUK® Baby BrushThis brush has extra soft bristles suitable for baby’s delicate scalp.

If the cradle cap is thick and stubborn and does not shift with shampoo, a small amount of olive oil can be used to lift it. The oil should be gently rubbed into the areas affected by the cradle cap and left on for about ten minutes. Johnsons® Baby Oil or Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly can also be massaged into the scalp at night to loosen the crust. A soft brush can then be used to remove the flakes. After this the scalp should be washed with baby shampoo to remove the oil.

If your baby’s cradle cap is severe, if there is bleeding or if it affects areas other than the scalp you should visit your doctor.