This is common in small babies, especially under 3 months of age. It is called Seborrheic Dermatitis (Seborrheic Capitis). It may or may not be associated with a separate skin condition called Eczema.
It is NOT a dangerous condition. It is NOT contagious. And it is NOT because of poor hygiene. It doesn’t hurt or harm the baby.
It is caused by over production of natural, water-proofing scalp oil from oil producing (sebaceous) glands of the hair follicle. The excessive oil forms a layer on the scalp and scales off in a yellowish/white waxy crust. The same condition can occur on other hairy parts of the body, eg. Eyebrow.
Home care for Cradle Cap.
- Don’t worry. It doesn’t hurt or harm your baby.
- Gently massage scalp using a thin baby oil. Using the soft tips of the fingers, massage the scalp with a good amount of oil for about 5-10 minutes.
- Then wet the scalp with a little bit of water and apply a baby shampoo. Using a soft tooth brush, massage the scalp to create a good lather. Massage for about 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse well and dry.
- Apply a small amount of a moisturizing lotion to the scalp.
Repeat steps 2-5 daily for about 2 weeks.
If Seborrheic dermatitis occurs on eyebrow:
- Gently massage the eyebrow with a cotton bud soaked in baby oil
- Wet the eyebrow with a bit of water and then massage with another cotton bud soaked in baby shampoo.
- Rinse well
- Apply a moisturizing lotion
Repeat steps 1 to 4 daily for a few days until resolved.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes the crusted skin can get infected causing an oozing secretion and redness. This is a condition that will need medical care.
Occasionally, along with crusting, the scalp can become dry and crack up. This may cause intense itching that may need medical care as well.