Tricks for Treating Cradle Cap
By Jill TomlinIf light yellow scales appear on your baby's scalp during the first few months of life, don't panic. It's a benign skin condition called cradle cap. The causes are uncertain, though overactive sebaceous glands (the glands that lubricate skin and hair) may be responsible.
"Cradle cap doesn't hurt or irritate the baby, and if you do nothing, it will generally resolve itself," says Dr. Ian Holzman, chief of newborn medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
However, to ease the condition, Dr. Holzman suggests the following: Rub a small amount of baby or mineral oil into the scalp a few hours before bathtime. Then, just before the bath, run a fine tooth comb gently through the baby's hair to comb the scales away. After washing with a mild baby shampoo, you can run the comb (make sure it's been cleaned) through the hair again. Avoid harsh shampoos, as they can make the condition worse.
Though cradle cap can last for a number of months (and in a few rare cases has persisted through the baby's first year of life), the condition should clear up within a few weeks. However, if the condition seems persistent or it looks as though the scalp is getting infected, call your pediatrician.