Cradle cap, medically known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin problem among babies. It is characterized by rough, scaly patches on the scalp. This condition can be seen among newborns as well as children up to three years old.
Symptoms of cradle cap include greasy patches of skin, yellow or white scales, thick crusty flakes, red and irritated skin as well as hair loss. Cradle cap is not associated with any illness and does not indicate that a baby is not being well cared for.
The exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known, although some researchers believe it can be due to hormones passed from the mother to the baby, antibiotics taken by the mother during pregnancy, overstimulation of the baby’s oil glands, extreme weather, irregular skin cleaning, food allergies and growth of yeast in the digestive tract.
Despite the name, cradle cap can also appear on the eyebrows, eyelids, ears, crease of the nose, back of the neck, diaper area or armpits. If it is spreading from the scalp to other parts of a baby’s body, it is good idea to consult a doctor.
Though cradle cap is unsightly, it is generally considered harmless and temporary, unless caused by infection or some other underlying cause. It usually clears up on its own within a few weeks or months, but many parents have a hard time just waiting for it to self-heal.