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Cradle Cap Advice

To view our range of cradle cap treatments please visit our main cradle cap page.

About Cradle Cap

Cradle Cap Advice
Cradle cap, also know as infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp, milk crust or honeycomb disease, is a common condition in recently born and young children. It is characterised by thick, yellow, greasy, scaly patches on the skin of the scalp. Despite the unappealing appearance of cradle cap, it is a temporary and harmless skin condition that shouldn't bother your child at all.

Cradle cap usually appears at some point during the first three months of a child's life and generally lasts for a few weeks or months. Not all children will develop cradle cap, but the condition is very common.

Most children will out-grow cradle cap around the age of two, but it has been known for children to have the condition for much longer.

Cradle Cap at a Glance

  • Cradle cap, or infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp, is a very common condition in newborn and very young children.
  • The condition is characterised by a scaly rash that forms a thick, yellow, greasy, scaly layer on the scalp.
  • It is not known what causes cradle cap.
  • Despite the unpleasant appearance, the condition is temporary and harmless and shouldn't bother your child at all.
  • Cradle cap is easy to treat and should clear up altogether by the time your child reaches two years of age.

Symptoms of Cradle Cap

Usually, cradle cap begins as a red, scaly rash on the scalp. This soon builds up to form a thick, greasy, yellow, scaly layer or scab-like plaques. The condition is not itchy and shouldn't cause your child any discomfort; but there can, occasionally, be hair loss in the affected area.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis occurs in areas with a lot of sebaceous glands (which produce sebum). The scalp is one such area, as are the eyebrows, eyelids, armpits, creases of the nose, back of the ears and groin. Occasionally cradle cap can spread to these areas on the face and body, particularly around the neck and groin. In rare instances, cradle cap can cause eczema in the groin and armpits.

Causes of Cradle Cap

Even though it is a common condition, the cause/causes of cradle cap are unknown. What is known, however, is that it is not caused by infection, allergy or poor hygiene. Nor is cradle cap contagious, so your child won't have picked it up from anybody else. Some think that the condition could be a genetic predisposition, as it tends to run in families. It has also been suggested that cradle cap could be caused by increased activity of the sebum producing glands due to hormones from the mother still being present in a baby's system.

Treating Cradle Cap

Cradle cap shouldn't be a worry for you or your baby; as mentioned earlier, cradle cap is a temporary condition and will usually clear up and settle with time. That said, there are treatments and remedies available for the condition.

Rubbing a little baby oil, olive oil or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline or Metanium Soft Petroleum Jelly) into the baby's scalp before bedtime will help loosen the scales. In the morning, brushing or combing the hair with fingers, a soft brush or a fine-toothed comb will help to remove the loosened scales. Finally, wash the baby's head with a mild baby shampoo. It may be tempting to pick at the scales or plaques, but don't, as this will may cause an infection and make the situation much worse.

Recurrences of the condition are common, so if your baby seems prone to cradle cap it may be worth trying a dedicated treatment.

Treatments such as Metanium Cradle Cap Cream and Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo have been specially formulated to treat the greasy scaling and flaking of cradle cap. Metanium Cradle Cap Cream is a keratolytic cream containing salicylic acid 1.5%. It is an effective treatment that usually clears the condition after one application. Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo is a gentle product that can be used for even the youngest baby. It can also be used as a general shampoo once the condition has cleared.

In older children, it may be worth trying a dandruff or medicated shampoo such as Capasal Therapeutic Shampoo.

Please remember, it is important not to scratch or pick at your child's cradle cap, as this could cause an infection. If the condition becomes inflamed or affected in may be worth trying an antifungal cream. ALWAYS check with your doctor first though.

Please visit our main cradle cap page, where you will find our range of treatments for the condition.
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  • Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo 125ml

    Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo 125ml

    Our recommendation - Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo has been specially formulated to treat cradle cap in babies and young children.
    It is a gentle product that can be used for even the youngest baby. In fact, Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo is so gentle that it can be used as a general shampoo once the condition has cleared. It the contains the active ingredients, sodium lauryl ether sulpho-succinate and sodium lauryl ether sulphate.

    (incl VAT)