Cradle cap refers to a non-contagious medical condition which normally affects the scalp of babies during their first two months. This is characterized by scaly patches that are greasy and somewhat yellowish in color. Although it does not pose any potential harm, it is normally itchy and may lead to discomfort on the part of the person. When the scaly patches begin to flake, the area will become red and the hair may also come off.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is the formal medical term for cradle cap. Aside from the scalp, other parts of the body which can be affected by this condition are the face, back of the knees, neck, armpits, and ears. The exact cause of this medical condition has not yet been established. However, cradle cap is commonly associated with the overactivity of the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for the production of sebum. Too much sebum in the skin may cause the old cells to be retained, rather than drying up and peeling off. Furthermore, it has also been suggested that babies who have been affected by cradle cap is more likely to acquire other forms of seborrhoeic dermatitis (eg., dandruff) as they grow older.
Treatment is not required for this skin condition because it normally goes away on its own after a couple of weeks/ months. The best course of action that will address this problem is through gentle washing of the affected area. In addition, natural oils or baby oil may also be used to massage the area gently, such that the scaly patches will become soft and will loosen. The loose flakes can then be removed with the use of a soft brush or a piece of cloth.
In some cases, cradle cap can become infected. When this happens, special kinds of shampoos and creams that are antifungal, as well as antibiotics will be advised by the physician. Finally, mild steroid creams may also be prescribed to ease the inflammation of rashes.