Find out more about cradle cap, a common scalp condition affecting newborns. Hair expert Karen Shelton tells you how to manage it.
Karen Shelton

About cradle cap
Some babies, in the very first few months of life, may experience a general scaliness and redness around the scalp area. The scales may be oily and yellow in color. It may also appear as red or slightly pinkish crusted patches. This condition is known as "cradle cap" and is pretty common in brand new babies.

If the redness and scaliness also occurs on the baby's face, behind the ears, on the forehead or eyebrows and/or in the diaper area, the condition is labeled as seborrheic dermatitis. For most babies, cradle cap will heal by itself within a few months without any special treatments. Most experts believe that cradle cap does not cause any itching or discomfort to a baby.

Treatment for cradle cap
Cradle cap can usually be helped by shampooing the baby's hair with a mild type of baby shampoo (perhaps more frequently than usual) and brushing with a very soft bristle brush to loosen the scales. You can also use a fine-toothed comb to remove the scales.

A mild soap should be used to wash any other body areas that are affected besides the hair and scalp. If the cradle cap symptoms also occur on the face and/or in the diaper area make sure a pediatrician is consulted. It is important to contact your pediatrician before using a medicated shampoo or cortisone creams.

In some cases, the doctor may prescribe an ointment containing hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation for this condition, and may also recommend use of a stronger antiseborrhic shampoo. If the condition worsens or lasts longer than three weeks, be sure to contact your baby's

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