Wednesday, January 7, 2009

There's nothing cute about cradle cap!

Cradle crap sure ruins family photos. There's nothing like snapping a picture of your healthy baby's cute smile only to see flaky, scaly skin cells gently floating like snow flakes in the background.

So what is cradle cap? Who gets it and how do I get rid of it? Is it contagious? These are the typical questions I get during a 15 minute appointment. Good news! No it's not contagious. BUT...bad can be a pain in the butt to get rid of completely.

Cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is common in babies and typically develops in the first 3 months of life and resolves by 6-12 months of age. It's secondary to overproduction of the sebaceous glands from maternal hormones. Once you see it you'll never forget it! It consists of dry scaly, flaky skin that can, if severe enough, cause an inflamed scalp. It can even show up in the eyebrows.

My daughter first developed cradle cap at about 4 weeks...she's now 3-months-old and still is the poster child. People are like, "ain't you like a pediatrician or something?"..."don't you know what this is?" YES...but I can't seem to get rid of it!

So how do you treat cradle cap? I first tried baby oil and gently brushing out the flakes. This does work (and it did)...but you have to be persistent about it, otherwise it will keep coming back! You can also try olive oil (I decided to use baby oil instead...I had a hard time coating my baby's head with cooking oil). If that can then try a shampoo with selenium sulfide (selsun blue). I decided to go out and try this technique myself I'll keep you posted.


  1. Oh my. I've never heard of that. Is there any end to the many ailments a human being can get?

  2. With babies it is endless! I've learned more about baby's skin problems in the past three months than I have in all my training!

  3. selenium sulfide? I would never knowingly put an antifungal agent on my newborn for cradle cap along with the host of other chemicals in Selsun.