About cradle cap

What is cradle cap?

Cradle cap causes crusty or oily scaly patches on a baby's scalp. The condition isn't painful or itchy. But it can cause thick white or yellow scales that aren't easy to remove.

Cradle cap usually clears up on its own in a few months. Home-care measures include washing your baby's scalp daily with a mild shampoo. This can help loosen and remove the scales. Don't scratch cradle cap.

If cradle cap persists or seems severe, your doctor may suggest a medicated shampoo, lotion or other treatment.

What are the symptoms for cradle cap?

Common signs of cradle cap include:

  • Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
  • Oily or Dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
  • Skin flakes
  • Possibly mild redness

Similar scales may also be present on the ears, eyelids, nose and groin.

Cradle cap is common in newborns. It usually isn't itchy.

Cradle cap is the common term for infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It's sometimes confused with another skin condition, infantile eczema. A major difference between these conditions is that eczema usually causes significant itching.

When to see a doctor

See your baby's doctor if:

  • You've tried treating it at home without success
  • The patches spread to your baby's face or body

What are the causes for cradle cap?

The cause of cradle cap isn't known. One contributing factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones can cause too much production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles.

Another factor may be a yeast (fungus) called malassezia (mal-uh-SEE-zhuh) that grows in the sebum along with bacteria. Antifungal treatments, such as ketoconazole, are often effective, supporting the idea that yeast is a contributing factor.

Cradle cap isn't contagious, and it's not caused by poor hygiene.

What are the treatments for cradle cap?

Cradle cap usually doesn't require medical treatment. It clears up on its own within a few months. In the meantime, wash your baby's hair once a day with mild baby shampoo and brush the scalp lightly with a soft brush to loosen the scale.

If frequent shampooing doesn't help, consult your baby's doctor. He or she may recommend an adult dandruff shampoo, such as one containing 2 percent antifungal ketoconazole medication. Be sure the shampoo doesn't get in your baby's eyes, as it may cause irritation. Hydrocortisone cream is sometimes helpful to reduce redness and inflammation.

Don't use over-the-counter cortisone or antifungal creams without talking to your baby's doctor, because some of these products can be toxic when absorbed through a baby's skin. Dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid aren't recommended for use in babies either, because they can be absorbed through the skin.

What are the risk factors for cradle cap?


Is there a cure/medications for cradle cap?

Rough patches on the scalp are a frequent symptom of the skin disorder known as cradle cap in infants and newborns. Despite having smooth, silky skin, babies frequently get cradle cap.

What specifically causes cradle cap is unknown to doctors. However, they believe that rough patches may appear when your baby's skin's oil glands produce more oil than is necessary. Dead skin cells may adhere to the scalp as a result of the increased oil, according to doctors.


1. Cradle cap typically resolves on its own, with no medical attention. Wash your baby's hair with gentle baby shampoo once a day while you wait.
2. Apply mineral oil to the scalp for a few hours before shampooing if the scaling is severe.
3. After that, wash your hair as usual and gently brush your scalp to remove any buildup with a gentle brush.
4. If routine shampooing is ineffective, speak with your child's doctor about other remedies, such as low-potency hydrocortisone cream or a shampoo containing the antifungal drug ketoconazole at a concentration of 2%.
5. Make sure the shampoo doesn't end up in your child's eyes because it could irritate them. So, in conclusion, we can say that cradle cap is a normal situation that can be cured.

Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp,Oily or dry skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales,Skin flakes,Possibly mild redness
Excessive sebum (oil) production in the hair follicles and oil glands
Mild baby shampoo,Mineral oil or olive oil,Antifungal cream,Antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream

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