What is Cradle Cap? Treatment, Causes and Prevention
You wake up one morning to discover crusty, flaking patches on your two-month-old’s scalp and what appears to be dandruff throughout their hair. Don’t worry! It’s likely not a sign of poor hygiene or even a rash. Rather, baby is likely just among the many infants who develop the noninfectious skin condition known as “cradle cap.” Read on to learn more, including how to get rid of cradle cap.
What is Cradle Cap on Babies?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a flaking of the skin that can occur on various places of baby’s body including behind the ears, along the eyebrows, or in crease areas such as the armpits or diaper region. However, when such flaking occurs on baby’s scalp, it is more aptly named cradle cap. Other common names for cradle cap include crib cap, milk crust, crusta lacteal, honeycomb disease, and pityriasis capitis.
You’ve likely heard at least one of these names before and for good reason: cradle cap affects roughly 1 in every 10 children up to five. For a vast majority of babies, the flaking of cradle cap first presents at three months of age.
What Causes Cradle Cap?
If you’re hoping to find cradle cap causes, you’re not alone. Scientists still aren’t exactly sure what causes cradle cap on babies, but some suspect it may be tied to hormonal shifts related to pregnancy. It’s possible these hormones stimulate overproduction in baby’s sebaceous oil glands. Alternatively, a yeast that grows in sebum known as malassezia is another possible culprit.
Regardless, you can rest assured that cradle cap is not an indication of inadequate cleanliness nor is it contagious.