Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Cradle cap consists of oily, yellow scales on the scalp. It
begins in the first weeks of life and is probably caused by
adult hormones that crossed the placenta before birth.
Without treatment it can last for months; with treatment it
usually is cleared up in a few weeks.
- Antidandruff shampoo
Buy an antidandruff shampoo (nonprescription) at the
drugstore. Wash your baby's hair with it once a day.
While the hair is lathered, massage your baby's scalp
with a soft brush or rough washcloth. Don't worry about
hurting the soft spot. Once the cradle cap has cleared
up, use a regular shampoo twice a week.
- Softening thick crusts
If your child's scalp is very crusty, put some baby oil
or olive oil on the scalp 1 hour before washing to soften
the crust. Wash all the oil off, however, or it may
worsen the cradle cap.
- Resistant cases of cradle cap
If the rash is very red and irritated, apply 1%
hydrocortisone cream (nonprescription) three times a day
for 7 days.
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:
- The cradle cap lasts more than 2 weeks with treatment.
- The rash spreads beyond the scalp.
- You have other concerns or questions.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems