Cradle cap, also known as Infantile Seborrhoea Dermatitis, Crust ea Lac tea or Milk Crust affects many healthy babies. It is quite common and develops in the early weeks and months after birth. Most cases resolve themselves within the first year of life, rarely it can continue into Toddler hood and beyond.
Cosmetically parents dislike Cradle Cap but it causes no harm to your baby and unless the condition causes bleeding and discomfort there is no need to worry. Doctors are divided themselves as to the actual cause but there appear to be two main theories. It is thought to be either a fungal infection or due to over active Sebaceous glands. It is not a bacterial infection as sometimes thought or down to poor hygiene.
The majority of cases of Cradle Cap clear up without any intervention, in fact doing so can aggravate the condition in some babies, prolonging it.
It is possible to develop the condition not only on the scalp but also on the eyebrows and ears. It produces dry flakes like dandruff that can be unsightly. In more developed cases you can see the formation of a yellow crust.
As many parents dislike the look of this condition they attempt to treat it themselves. It is impossible to say if home remedies actually work or not. You will always here and receive tips from parents who "successfully" treated it on their child and recommending you follow their advice. Experts are sceptical about the genuine success of these methods believing it can cause re occurrence and actually prolong the condition.
People commonly apply oils such as Olive Oil, lotions and petroleum jelly, leaving on the scalp to Moisturize and then combing the scalp to remove flakes. It is thought these methods can lead to blocked pores and a worsening of the condition.
If a Doctor decides the cause is Fungal they may prescribe special creams. Older toddlers can use special medicated shampoos but again the condition seems best left to disappear naturally.
For babies simply using a mild shampoo on the scalp is best and allowing the condition to heal in time. Do not try to exfoliate the skin as this is far too abrasive for a babies delicate skin.
You can now buy special products aimed at treating Cradle Cap in babies. On the whole they do not so much cure the condition as reduce the time your child has it, These products work by softening the area encouraging the flakes to drop gently from the scalp. Always check they are age appropriate for your child.
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