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Taming the Flakes: A Guide to Managing Cradle Cap

Cradle cap, also known as neonatal dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, can be the root of frustration and worry among parents. Luckily, it’s not a reason for concern as the condition is common and treatment is manageable.

What is Cradle Cap?

According to Healthy Children, cradle cap is a form of Seborrheic Dermatitis that affects 70% of babies during the early stages of infanthood. It typically presents on the scalp as a scaly and flaky rash with a greasy appearance. Although it appears to be irritating, cradle cap does not cause harm or affect baby's health, and it is not contagious.

What causes Cradle Cap?

The exact cause of cradle cap is unknown. Researchers believe cradle cap may be linked to overly active oil glands or natural yeast, like Malassezia, living on the skin.

Tips for Managing Cradle Cap

What can you do if your baby has cradle cap? While it may not be possible to prevent cradle cap or baby dandruff, here are some tips that can help:

  • Keeping the scalp moisturized is a good way to help loosen the scales. An emollient like petroleum jelly or an ointment can be applied before bathtime to soften or loosen the flakes from the scalp gently.
  • Cleansing the scalp more often can be beneficial to help soften and gently remove the flakes and scales. Parents should opt for a mild, fragrance-free baby wash, such as Vanicream™ Foaming Wash for Baby, to avoid further irritation.
  • Once the scales are softened and loose, you can use a soft brush to lift away the flakes gently. Be careful not to aggressively pick or harshly scrub the scalp, as this can further irritate the skin.

If you still have concerns

You should always check with your child's healthcare provider or pediatrician for any specific skin concerns and recommendations.  


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