What Causes Cradle Cap?

September 20, 2021 @ 8:25 am

Causes of Cradle Cap

So, your baby has cradle cap. First things first, don’t panic. It’s perfectly natural and something that most babies go through.

Cradle cap looks far worse than it feels, it’s not painful or itchy and most the time won’t affect your baby whatsoever.

We aren’t entirely sure what causes cradle cap, but we know that it can’t be caught or passed on child to child.

What is Cradle Cap

Better known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap is a common condition that affects around 20% of babies.

It is similar to eczema and can create a dry, yellowy crust which can also create a red glow around the top of the head.

Contrary to popular belief you can also get cradle cap on other parts of the body, most popularly the eyebrows, nose, and nappy area.

How do you get Cradle Cap? 

The thing to note here is that cradle cap isn’t contagious. Your baby can’t catch it from another baby. 

Cradle cap is caused by your baby’s scalp creating too much oil (sebum) and it interferes with your child’s natural skin shredding. 

This in turn creates a build-up of dead skin. The extra oil is likely caused by the mothers’ hormones still swirling around and causing an imbalance in the baby.

How to treat Cradle Cap? 

There is no way to actually treat cradle cap but there are several ways you can help control it whilst you wait for it to heal.

  1. Cradle cap will sort itself out over a few weeks and or months.
  2. Wash your baby’s hair, daily, with a cradle cap shampoo.
  3. Loosen flakes with a soft brush whilst being careful not to pick any crusts.
  4. Use baby oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil to soften the crusts. Don’t use peanut oil as this could cause an allergic reaction.

You should never pick the scabs as this can lead to infection which you’ll have to see your GP about.

You should also seek advice from your GP if your baby displays any of the following:

  • Cradle cap all over the body
  • Crusts are leaking fluid or start to bleed
  • Any swelling to the infected areas
  • There is no improvement after a few weeks of treatment

Although cradle cap is harmless it can create harm if un-properly cared for or put under unnecessary stress. If you are concerned about your child’s cradle cap and have tried some of the remedies without any sign of it improving, you should contact your local GP.

Can, not washing my baby’s hair cause cradle cap?

Seeing as cradle cap is caused by having excess oil being produced, not washing your baby’s hair can cause cradle cap to be worse.

Surprisingly, washing your hair too much can also lead to excess oil. Medical experts suggest you can wash your baby’s hair as little as 2 times per week.

 We would recommend washing with cradle cap shampoo at least 3-4 times per week if you infant is suffering with cradle cap.