How to Care for Cradle Cap

Based on content from the baby care experts at JOHNSON'S® and ''Caring For Your Baby".

Of all the things you envisioned while preparing for your baby, you probably didn't imagine dandruff-like flakes covering her scalp. But your newborn may indeed have scaly patches on her scalp and eyebrows. It's called cradle cap and it's perfectly normal. Cradle cap, or seborrheic dermatitis, is a form of eczema that is very common in babies. It usually begins in the first weeks of life and slowly disappears over the next several weeks or months. Most cases of cradle cap clear up by the time your baby is between eight to 12 months old.

Although it may be tempting to do so, do not attempt to pick off the patches with your fingernails! The best way to treat cradle cap is to soften it first by massaging a baby oil, such as JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil into her hair and scalp. Leave the oil on for a few minutes to help to loosen the crusty patches. Then use a fine-toothed comb and clean your baby's scalp with a mild, gentle cleanser that will not sting her eyes. You can use a mild cleanser like JOHNSON'S® HEAD-TO-TOE® Baby Wash, or if your baby has a lot of hair, you may wish to use JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo. Add a little to a washcloth and use a gentle, circular motion to remove the flakes and oil from your baby's head. Although cradle cap can be unsightly at times, it is harmless. However, if you have any questions, or if cradle cap spreads to other areas of your baby's body (beyond her scalp or eyebrows), call your pediatrician.

Remember to be extra gentle when massaging or washing around the fontanels, or soft spots, on your baby's head.