Most mother's of a newborn dread the day their little one gets cradle cap. It always seems to happen when you're booked in to do a family photo session or about to attend some kind of special occasion where your baby will be the centre of attention. Sigh...will a beanie, hat or headband hide it?
What is cradle cap?
Cradle cap is an oily, scaly, yellow crust that babies get on their scalp. It is a form of seborrhoeic dermatitis which can also appear on their face, around the nappy area, armpits and nose. It is commonly present in the first three months of a baby's life and is very rare after the age of one. On the positive side, although cradle cap may look really uncomfortable and unpleasant it is not itchy and does not usually bother your baby.
What causes it?
Cradle cap occurs as a result of hormones left in your baby's body from pregnancy. Your baby's skin makes too much oil known as sebum and this interferes with the natural shedding of skin on the scalp. This in turn creates a build-up of dead skin over the scalp area.
Cradle cap is not contagious and it has not occurred due to poor hygiene or bad parenting.
How do you treat it?
Cradle cap does not usually need to be treated. It should disappear on its own within a few months after birth. However, if you want to help it, you can loosen the crusts by massaging your baby's scalp regularly with a baby oil such as our First Light Baby Oil and leave it on overnight. The next morning, wash your baby's hair with our calming First Light Bath Wash and gently lift the crusts off with a soft toothbrush. Over time your baby's scalp should look clearer. Don't be alarmed if some of your baby's hair comes out too.
Never pick at the crusts as it can cause sore patches that can become infected. Also, don't worry if the cradle cap comes back after treating it as your baby's glands still continue to produce sebum for several months after birth.
Always seek medical advice if your baby's cradle cap does not improve, appears to be spreading to other areas of the face or body, and your baby seems irritated by it.
First Light & Love xx