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Cradle Cap Skin Rash Causes, Treatments, Home Remedies for Babies

Cradle cap is the common name for condition newborns or young babies develop, which causes redness and scaly patches on the scalp. The baby gets a sort of infant dandruff, which is caused by overactive oil glands on the scalp and face, and the condition sometimes also affects necks, ears and even armpits. It's upsetting when your beautiful baby suddenly comes down with cradle cap, but don't worry: it isn't serious, it isn't catching, there are treatment options that may affect a cure, and even if you have to put up with it for awhile, it will go away in time.

Cradle cap's specific cause is unknown, but it seems to be related to hormonal changes the baby experiences after birth. The oil glands overproduce for several weeks to several months, resulting in the condition. Although some children have cradle cap even until their first year, it's unusual for a toddler or preschooler to have it. If your pre-schooler has something that looks like cradle cap, get to the pediatrician to rule out other potential ailments or allergies.

If the scaliness and redness spread to the face, neck or armpits, or even the diaper area, doctors call cradle cap "seborrheic dermatitis". Even though it looks uncomfortable, as far as we can tell, it usually doesn't cause the baby any discomfort, although it upsets parents and makes them wonder what they're doing wrong.

But you aren't doing anything wrong! Cradle cap is a natural condition, and once your baby's sebaceous (oil-producing) glands settle into a routine, you'll easily get rid of it. The only prevention may be in frequent shampooing, but even that won't stop oil glands from making excess oil. If you look for home remedies on how to prevent or even curing cradle cap, you may find people discussing everything from adult dandruff shampoo to petroleum jelly—substances not recognized as curing cradle cap! But there are a few things you can do to control the condition until it goes away.

Was your baby's hair more frequently, and use a soft brush to brush the scales away. Some people swear by using baby oil or mineral oil (most baby oil is just mineral oil with a baby scent added), but others say it can worsen the condition by increasing the oil even more on the scalp. If you've been shampooing your baby's hair without noticing any decrease in the flaking, try using oil. If you don't like the idea of mineral oil, use a natural product such as olive oil. Rub it on your baby's head, use a soft brush to brush the flakes out with it, and then finish up with a gentle shampoo. In this way, you're using the oil to loosen the oily flakes and then washing it away so it doesn't add to the build-up.

If you try the baby oil home remedy and the cradle cap still doesn't decrease, you can get a special medicated baby shampoo from your pediatrician. These shampoos contain salicylic acid (the main ingredient in aspirin) and another well-known dandruff cure, sulfur. But they can irritate the baby's skin and dry the scalp, so use them carefully after consulting with your doctor. For strong cases of cradle cap or unusual amounts of spreading, the doctor may prescribe a cream made of hydrocortisone to treat the redness and rash.

If your baby's skin gets red and itchy, it may be that a yeast infection has found a foothold on the irritated skin. This most often happens in places with creases—behind ears, around the face, under arms or in the folds of the neck. If you notice the rash has spread and your baby is acting uncomfortable, the pediatrician may prescribe an anti-fungal cream product to kill the yeast infection.

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