Baby's Dandruff or Cradle Cap: is it Common? Suggestion
You have internal problems in your body it could be caused by Seborrheic dermatitis which is a skin ailment that focuses mainly in sebum rich areas of the skin. This condition manifests itself as a slight inflammation that eventually results in dry, flaky scales that are most commonly seen on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, skin behind the ears and middle of the chest. In adolescents and adults, it is commonly called "dandruff." In babies, it is known as "cradle cap."
Cradle cap is a condition created when a newborn’s oil-producing scalp glands become over-active as a result of hormonal changes. This can produce mild cases that look like flaky dandruff to more thick, crusty yellow patches on the scalp, the ears, and/or the eyebrows. This causes the dead skin cells that normally fall off to "stick" to the skin and form yellow crusts and scales. There may be a relationship with skin yeasts (malassezia). Common dandruff flakes are dry, with white scales that are scattered throughout the scalp.
They can also develop red scaling on the face and yellowish scaling behind the ears. In older children, large, thick scales that won't go away may appear on the scalp. The flakes associated with psoriasis look like silver scales, which may also commonly be apparent on the ears, extremities, palms, and soles. Common dandruff flakes are dry, with white scales that are scattered throughout the scalp.
How would you confirm?
- If the scalp is itchy and sheds white, oily skin flakes. When severe, the scalp can have dense, thick, adherent yellow scale and crust.
- If one or more of the following areas have patches of red, scaly skin: the scalp, hairline, forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, creases of the nose and ears, ear canals, breastbone, midback, groin, and armpit. In people with darker skin, some of the areas might look circular or lighter in color.
- Cradle cap is not contagious, nor is it caused by poor hygiene. It is not an allergy, and it is not dangerous. Cradle cap may or may not itch. If it itches, excessive scratching of the area may cause additional inflammation, and breaks in skin may cause mild infections or bleeding. Cradle cap is the term used when seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp of infants.
- Cradle cap in babies and infants is caused by Seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is also known as dandruff, eczema or cradle cap. It can extend to the face and diaper area, too, and when it does, pediatricians call it seborrheic dermatitis (because it occurs where there is the greatest number of oil-producing sebaceous glands)
- Cradle cap is common in the first three months of life. It affects many babies at some stage or another. In newborn babies, seborrheic dermatitis is observed when the maternal androgen hormones are passed from the mother to the child across the placenta. There is also itching and redness that will the affect in variety of areas of the scalp many times. It will also result in hair loss based on the condition of this specific scalp.
Seborrheic dermatitis also often appears as cradle cap in infants of around six months. It usually clears by 18 months but can be a persistent problem during this time. Seborrhea is caused by stress, hormones and/or heredity and it usually affects those with oily skin. After infancy, the condition is most common in middle age or older people. It may also be associated with a poor diet and obesity, HIV and neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease.
A different form of dermatitis, atopic dermatitis (infantile eczema), often develops as the cradle cap is improving. Atopic dermatitis generally continues for several years and is very itchy.
Sometimes the skin under the crusts of cradle cap can become infected. The skin becomes redder and small blisters appear, and then pop and weep. This is caused by the same germs that cause impetigo (‘school sores’). If this infection spreads, or your baby becomes unwell, make sure that you have your baby checked by a doctor. Your baby may need antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Unlike cradle cap, impetigo is highly contagious.
Sometimes, yeast infections will become superimposed on the affected skin, most likely in the crease areas rather than on the scalp. If this occurs, the area will become extremely reddened and quite itchy. In this case, your pediatrician might prescribe some specific anti-yeast cream containing the medicine nystatin.
If your child's over a year old and has a continually scaly scalp, it could be ringworm. Ringworm is a common and easily-treated skin infection caused by a fungus, not by a worm. In children, it can appear as a scaly round patch on the chest or the side of the scalp, and there may be hair loss. Scalp ringworm is contagious, often spread to a child by contact with an infected dog or cat. It may be confused with dandruff or with 'cradle cap,' which is a disease that occurs only during infancy.
It’s not totally clear what causes cradle cap, but a yeast-like or fungal organism may be involved. It usually clears by itself by 8 to 12 months of age. The good news is that sebhorrea can be treated. Keep your body clean. If it affects your scalp, use a medicated shampoo; if it affects your face and body, use a medicated soap every day. Keep your skin dry, and consider a little exposure to sunlight, which often helps as well.
- Cradle cap may look irritating, but for the most part, it is not bothersome to the baby. Wash your baby's hair no more than every other day, using a gentle baby shampoo. Over washing has a drying effect and can aggravate cradle cap.
- Rashes may be caused by allergies, but not always. Things like baby acne, prickly heat, cradle cap and diaper rash aren't usually related to allergies. But other rashes, like eczema, are triggered by allergens like soaps, detergents, animal dander or medications. Some babies may get rashes because of an allergy to food proteins in formula.
- For stubborn cases, some parents find an oil remedy helpful. (The oil helps to loosen dry flakes.) If you want to give it a try, rub just a small amount of pure, natural oil — such as almond or olive oil — on your baby's scalp and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Then gently comb out the flakes with a fine-toothed comb or brush them out with a soft brush.
- Rub the scalp with baby oil or petroleum jelly before washing the baby to help loosen scaly patches of skin. In the meantime, wash your baby's hair once a day with mild baby shampoo. The baby can be made more comfortable by loosening or removing any clothing covering the scalp. Keep in mind, however, that cradle cap is not an infection of any kind.
- Loosen the crusts by massaging the scalp with mineral oil (like baby oil) at night, then wash the hair with a baby shampoo the next morning, gently lifting the crusts off with a soft brush (a soft toothbrush can be good for this). Try this each day until your baby’s scalp looks clearer.
- If you decide to use oil, use only a little, rub it into the scales and then shampoo and brush it out. Stronger medicated shampoos (antiseborrhea shampoos containing sulfur and 2 percent salicylic acid) may loosen the scales more quickly, but since they also can be irritating, use them only after consulting your pediatrician.
- There are a few different treatments you could try. Some experts suggested: First, rub olive oil or baby oil into your son's scalp and leave it overnight. This should loosen the scales. In the morning, comb his hair with a fine toothed comb and some of the scales should be loose enough for you to simply comb out. You could then wash his hair with a mild shampoo to get rid of the greasiness of the oil. If there are still scales left, repeat the oil and combing treatment for a few nights in a row.
- Cradle cap has crusty patches on the scalp. The mainstays of treatment are topical steroids (hydrocortisone), moisturization (Aquaphor), and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for itching. Scratching may lead to impetigo.
- If frequent shampooing doesn't help or the scaly patches spread beyond your baby's scalp, consult your baby's doctor. He or she may recommend a stronger shampoo — such as an adult dandruff shampoo containing 1 percent selenium or 2% ketoconazole .
- If the area is very red and irritated, apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (nonprescription) 3 times a day for 7 days. It will also help to dissolve the scales or corticosteroid cream or lotion to reduce inflammation.
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