What is Cradle Cap: What Causes Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap, infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is one of the common skin disorders that is associated with infants. Generally cradle cap is noticeable in infants shortly after birth. There is no indication that this condition causes itching or discomfort to the baby unless it becomes severe.  A baby with cradle cap may have a yellowish crusted flaking rash on the scalp. These rashes may also be observed around the ears and neck. When noticeable, it is important to seek the advice of your medical physician for a firm diagnosis to determine the cause of the cradle cap and seek the proper treatment. Generally cradle cap is treatable at home.

What causes Cradle Cap:
Although there is no firm agreement among physicians as to the cause of cradle cap, there is a general consensus that two most probable causes of this disorder are overactive sebaceous glands and fungal infection. Fortunately cradle cap is not contagious. Often cradle cap is actually a fungal infection which may result from antibiotics given to the mother before the birth of the child or given to the child after birth.

Cradle cap may also result from overactive sebaceous glands. Hormones that a baby receives from his mother may overstimulate the baby’s seborrheic glands to produce too much sebum. This prevents the old skin cells falling off the scalp. In the past, cradle cap was associated¬† with the poor hygienic conditions, bacterial infections and allergies; however medical studies has proven that this hypothesis is inaccurate.


Common Treatments:
In mild causes, the doctor may recommend a mild shampoo with a gentle brush to remove the flakes. For a more persistent problem, it may be necessary to treat the infant with a stronger shampoo applying a lotion to soften the scaly patches of the infected area. In some instances, a steroid cream such as hydrocortisone may be prescribed or an anti fungal shampoo or soap may be needed to alleviate the problem. Cradle cap does not generally persist beyond the first year of life, and is not a dangerous condition for the baby.

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