Cradle cap is a skin condition most commonly seen in babies in the first three months of life. 

It often appears as pale yellow crusts on the head, eyebrows and sometimes the folds of the skin. 

If forms due to residual maternal hormones making the oil glands of the baby’s scalp overactive. This oil can get trapped under the skin cells on the scalp, building up and causing crusts. 

Usually cradle cap is nothing to be concerned about but some parents worry that it’s due to improper hygiene or a concerning skin condition. Also it can be very tempting to pick at those crusts while baby is snuggled in your lap, resist that urge! Picking at dry scabs can cause skin damage and this puts baby at risk of infection. 

One way to treat cradle cap is using an oil in the bath, gently massaging it into the scalp and the. Using a soft baby brush to slowly and gently brush away the crusts. Note the terms “gently, slowly and gently”? There is no quick fix. Nor does there need to be, unless your babies skin is looking inflamed or infected cradle cap is best slowly managed at home. If you are worried about infection, or if the scales spread to other parts of the body seek medical advice. 

Cradle cap is not contagious and does not cause any long term baldness or hair loss. 

Jessica Kumar
Child and Family Health Nurse

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