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How to Combat Cradle Cap

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 3 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Cradle Cap Oils Seborrheic Dermatitis

Although it may not look very nice, cradle cap is actually a harmless condition and may affect anyone though it does tend to be a familial trait. There are trains of thought that it arises because the scalp has many sebaceous glands which produce oils. These oils are made quite productively and collect on the scalp causing the flakes but this is purely conjecture.

What Exactly is it?

Cradle cap, otherwise known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a very common infant condition that may begin shortly after birth and last for a few weeks or up until the child is two years of age, sometimes a little longer.It can vary in severity from a few patches of flaky skin to being quite nasty looking with thick yellow crusts covering the scalp. They often take on a scab-like appearance and can become raised away from the scalp.

For most babies there is no discomfort or accompanying pain, unless it is incorrectly treated and an infection arises.There is a small possibility that the cradle cap can spread to other parts of the body such as the eyebrows or in areas where the skin is creased, this may lead to a fungal infection and children with cradle cap should be closely observed for any spread.Experts also believe that those who had cradle cap as a young baby may be more susceptible to developing eczema in later life, but this may not be serious and may be easily treatable.

How Can I Treat it?

If the cradle cap is not problematic for the child it may not need treatment at all and will resolve itself over time. If however it is particularly bad and your baby is shedding a lot of flaking skin you may want to try one of the specially formulated shampoos that have been created especially for this condition.

These shampoos can be gently massaged into the affected area and aim to help lift the affected patches and remove them leaving the healthy scalp behind. There is a possibility that it may take any attached hair away with it, but babies grow their hair back very easily so this isn’t a problem.

What if That Doesn’t Work?

If using a specially formulated shampoo doesn’t work there are some home remedies that can be tried; in fact they may be cheaper and involve the use of less chemicals so you may want to try these first.

What are the Alternative Remedies?

Many people find using an oil based products works well at softening the crusted patches and allows them to shed off by themselves more easily. Try using an olive oil, almond oil (be wary if a nut allergy is suspected) or even a baby oil. Massage the hair gently before bath time and rinse of well with warm water. If your baby has hair, you can try brushing it gently with a soft baby brush and this should encourage the area to lose it’s crusty patches.

Never be tempted to pick at the area as this will encourage a skin infection to develop and will be painful for your child, may spread to other parts of the body, may cause redness and bleeding and may require your baby to take powerful anti-biotics of fungal preparations.

Cradle cap is a common baby-related condition and often causes more concern and distress for the parents than it does for the baby.It may be treated using formulated preparations or some home remedies but is just as likely to resolve itself over time as long as it is not picked off.

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A sure way to cure cradle cap is to mix: 1 part medicinal olive oil: 1 part glycerine: 1 part boiled water in a small bottle, and shake vigorously. Give it another good shake and apply generously at bed-time. It is a bit messy, so use a cotton, (preferably well-washed flannelette,) pillow case to absorb the run-off. The cradle cap will clear up within 3 days of treatment. If it recurs, just one application usually does the job. The medicinal olive oil and the glycerine are available at local chemist shops, are quite cheap, and once a bottle is empty, I re-use it for the mix itself.
molly - 3-Mar-13 @ 1:02 PM
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