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What’s the Best Treatment for Cradle Cap?

You have a new baby! Congratulations on your new birth! Many new mothers are disturbed to find their baby has the symptoms of a harmless, but unsightly, condition known as cradle cap. 

Believing their baby has a serious skin condition, many mothers become frightened and seek treatment for this rather common condition.  Fortunately, there’s no need for alarm since this condition shouldn’t cause long term problems for your baby.

Just what is cradle cap and how does a baby get it?

Cradle cap is a harmless condition of the scalp occurring in infants and newborns. It presents with visible scaling and mild redness. It’s really more unsightly than anything else and is basically a harmless condition that will resolve on its own over a period of a few months whether it’s treated or not. It’s reassuring to know this condition is not passed from baby to baby or from baby to adult and shouldn’t cause any pain or discomfort to your baby.

Because of the benign nature of this condition, cradle cap treatment should be minimal and should consist of proper shampooing and gentle removal of the scales present on your baby’s scalp. Usually baby shampoo is the best choice for your baby’s shampoo as it’s pH is such that it won’t irritate a baby’s sensitive scalp. A soft toothbrush along with a small amount of baby oil can be used to remove the scales from a baby’s scalp, although this should be done gently to prevent further irritation to an already sensitive scalp.

If the symptoms of cradle cap fail to resolve over several weeks, a doctor should be consulted for further workup and evaluation. Other scalp conditions can cause scaling including ringworm which is best diagnosed and treated by your pediatrician. If the symptoms of cradle cap persist despite your best efforts at home, your doctor may prescribe a medicated shampoo to help dissolve the scales faster and return your baby’s scalp to normalcy. He may also recommend use of a cortisone cream if there is extensive scalp irritation.

Can cradle cap be prevented?

The best way to prevent cradle cap is to shampoo your infant’s scalp every few days with a mild baby shampoo.

It’s reassuring to know cradle cap is common and benign condition that will completely resolve even without treatment. Fortunately, by taking the above steps you can initiate your own cradle cap treatment and speed up the process considerably. Pretty soon your new baby will have a shiny and scale free scalp!

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