Cradle Cap

By: Parker Rogers, MD

Cradle cap is an extremely common skin condition in babies. Cradle cap, or Seborrheic Dermatitis, appears as red patches with oily, yellow scales (or even crusts) on the scalp. The not so cute patches can also be in the diaper area, armpits, forehead or face.

Cradle cap often begins in the first few weeks of a child’s life. With treatment it will clear up in a matter of weeks. Without treatment, it will go away on its own after several months. Either way, cradle cap does not leave behind a scar.

You are not a negligent parent if you simply evaluate your child’s cradle cap weekly and wait it out. But, if the scaly complexion is giving you grief, you do have options for treatment of your child’s cradle cap…

  • Use a shampoo containing selenium sulfide. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain this active ingredient. While the hair is lathered, massage your baby’s scalp with a soft brush or rough washcloth, let it sit for 30 seconds, and then repeat. Wash your baby’s hair with this shampoo once or twice a week until the cradle cap has cleared up.
  • You may choose to soften thick crusts. If your child’s scalp is very crusty, put some baby oil or olive oil on the scalp 1 hour before washing to soften the crust. Wash all the oil off and gently massage the scalp with a tooth brush.
  • Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (nonprescription) once or twice a day if the area seems irritated. Simply rub a small amount of the cream on the infected area for up to two weeks at a time, giving two days break in between applications.

More questions about cradle cap? This is the exact type of topic we can discuss at your child’s next well check or even on the phone with one of our triage team members.

Until next time,

Dr. Parker Rogers

Parkside Provider, mountain biker, and father to three curly headed cuties

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