cradle cap & seborrhoeic Treatment

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Dermatitis - what is it?
Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is an exaggerated form of
cradle cap. It presents as a thick, rough, scaly rash
seen mostly on the scalp, face, behind the ears,
eyebrows and along the hair line.
Although rare, it can occasionally occur under the arms and
in the nappy area. The skin under the thick scale can ‘flare’,
becoming red and aggravated if baby is hot or sweaty.
What causes it?
It is caused by an over activity and inflammation of the
sebaceous glands, the same as in cradle cap. However,
seborrhoic dermatitis differs to cradle cap in that it is believed
to be a fungal infection within these glands. Babies generally
outgrow Seborrhoeic Dermatitis within a few weeks or months
of treatment.
Use a diluted anti-fungal shampoo on a daily basis until the
seborrhoeic dermatitis is controlled. The shampoo is best to be
left on the scalp for a period of five to ten minutes then rinsed
off. Sometimes this treatment may have to be continued over a
period of one to two months to prevent reoccurrence. During
the treatment your baby’s scalp may become irritated by the
shampoo. This is normal as long as the baby is not distressed and
the redness subsides within an hour after treatment. In severe
cases of seborrhoeic dermatitis your doctor may prescribe an
anti-inflammatory steroid cream.
Similar to cradle cap, the dead skin or scale behind the ears,
hairline and eyebrow areas will need to be massaged off regularly.
Use a small amount of olive oil to soften the scale and gently
massage. This will keep the skin free of build up allowing it to
breathe. The regular use of a soft baby brush is also advised.
As sweating can irritate the condition it is advisable not to over
heat your baby. Do not over dress your baby or over heat their
environment. In these circumstances, cotton
fabrics work best.
Where to go for help
If you are worried about your child consult your GP,
Early Childhood Clinic, Pharmacist or Pharmacy Nurse.
This booklet is intended to provide basic information for the general public.
It is not intended to, nor does it, constitute medical advice. Readers are
warned against relying solely on the information contained herein, or changing
medical schedules or life activities based on the information it contains
without first consulting a doctor.
cradle cap &
Baby health
Cradle cap is a very common problem affecting babies
from around 4-6 weeks of age. It often reoccurs throughout
childhood, affecting children up to the age of 3-5 years old.
Cradle cap is a
What is it?
very common
Cradle cap first appears as small yellow
patches or dry flaky skin on a young
infant’s scalp. It usually occurs on the top
of the scalp over the front fontanelle
(the soft spot on top of a baby’s head),
but it can quickly spread over the entire
head if untreated.
infants from
around 4-6
weeks of age.
What causes it?
Cradle cap is caused by over activity of the sebaceous (oilproducing) glands on the baby’s scalp. If the scalp is not
massaged or stimulated, this over-activity leads to a build
up of natural oils and dry dead skin cells that form scales. A
thick yellow-brown crust on the baby’s head results and the
skin beneath the crusts can become red and inflamed and
prone to infection. It is not a form of dandruff and does not
indicate poor hygiene or lack of care. If cradle cap becomes
thick and widespread, it can become quite smelly. This is
due to dead skin and oil build up.
Treatment is simple
and can be done in
one of the following
1.Apply Wild Child Cradle Cap Oil or
Pure Olive Oil to the scalp by saturating a cotton wool ball with
the oil and thoroughly massaging in. Reapply oil at each nappy
change and leave on for 24 hours then wash off using a gentle,
mild shampoo such as AromaBaby, Sebamed or Dermaveen
2.Apply Calendula Cream to scalp during each nappy change,
massaging the scalp when applying and leave on for 24 hours
then shampoo off using a gentle shampoo as mentioned
3.Apply Ego Zite Cradle Cap Lotion twice a day for 3-5 days
without washing the hair, then shampoo off using a gentle
shampoo as above.
All treatments will loosen and lift the dead skin and/or crusts. You
will then need to massage the scalp vigorously to encourage the
cradle cap to be rubbed off. Treatments may have to be repeated
several times, depending on the amount of cradle cap present.
Do not be tempted to pick off the crusts yourself as this may hurt
your baby and could also lead to infection of the inflamed skin
underneath the scales.
Prevention of reoccurrences
When the problem has cleared up, it is a very good idea to
massage baby’s scalp regularly using a soft baby flannel, brush
or your hands. This stimulates baby’s scalp and helps prevent
further cradle cap from reappearing.
Don’t be frightened of massaging the fontanelle areas on baby’s
scalp. The skin over these spots is tough and strong and cannot
be easily damaged with normal handling.
Avoid perfumed shampoos and soaps and only shampoo the
scalp once or no more than twice a week. It’s also a good idea
to avoid wetting the scalp in the bath each night.
All of these factors can disrupt the delicate pH
(a term used to describe acidity or alkalinity) of
the skin and wash away essential oils, inflaming
the condition further.
If any small areas of cradle cap reappear, repeat above
treatment when necessary.
Helpful hint
Pre-mix shampoo with a cup of warm water before applying it
to baby’s scalp. This prevents the sensation of cold, causes less
distress and means your baby is more likely to enjoy
head-washing time. You can also pre-warm the wild child oil,
olive oil or egozite solution by standing it in a jug of warm water
for 5-10 minutes before applying it.