Noticing yellow or white crusts with flakes on the baby’s scalp can turn out to be an alarming experience for many. If you are a first time mother, you would probably try to figure out quick solutions in understanding what went wrong nutritionally or hygienically that led to this condition. Well, your first step in dealing with this issue is to relax! Almost fifty percent of the babies the world over suffer from cradle cap, making it a very common issue among many. Occurrence of yellowish grayish flaky patches on the scalp, predominantly around the eyebrows, ears and forehead are some common symptoms of cradle cap. In most cases, these crusty flakes disappear without requiring medications or treatment. They are not itchy, so you need not worry about whether your little bundle of joy is feeling pain or is uncomfortable.
These patches may be caused due to a fungal infection. Antibiotics administered to the pregnant mother just before delivery is also responsible for triggering cradle cap in infants. However, in a large number of cases, overactive sebaceous glands end up releasing excess amount of greasy substances which tend to cling on to the scalp instead of falling down, causing this condition. In rare cases, cradle cap can also occur if the mother’s milk is deficient in biotin, a necessary vitamin required for fatty acid synthesis.
Tips To Prevent Cradle Cap
There are numerous tips to prevent the very possibility of your infant developing cradle cap in the first place. It is not necessary for all infants to develop this condition. However, the responsibility on you as a parent to prevent such conditions is paramount.
Follow these simple tips to prevent cradle cap in your baby:
1. Always remember to wash the baby’s scalp and body thoroughly to get rid of any type of soap residue after bathing the infant.
2. Do not use adult shampoos for the baby, even if they are classified as “mild”. These shampoos may be mild for adult skin but are most definitely not suitable for baby’s skin that is extremely sensitive to external application of chemicals.
3. Shampooing the scalp frequently will prevent excess oil secretions from sticking on to the scalp, reducing the effects of overactive sebaceous glands in the region.
How to Treat Cradle Cap?
Treatment is not required unless the condition starts deteriorating.
If the cause for cradle cap is due to fungal infection, your doctor might prescribe an anti fungal medication to be applied topically to ease the condition.
2. Olive Oil
The medicinal uses and benefits of olive oil are infinite. Applying natural olive oil on the affected area where flakes are observed is useful in relieving the condition because substances present in olive oil are unfavorable for fungal growth.
3. Brush it Off
Use a soft cloth or even your fingers to gently remove the flakes from the baby’s scalp. Do not use harsh fabric or rough combs for this purpose.
4. Aloe vera Gel
Aloe vera has been exploited in countless number of skin and hair care products for its medicinal properties. Gently crush or rip an aloe leaf into two pieces. You will find a gel like substance oozing out from the ruptured surface. Apply this directly on the baby’s scalp. However, if you notice that your baby’s skin is reacting in an allergic manner and is not accepting this external substance, you should immediately stop using it and consult a doctor as soon as possible.
5. Apply Oil
If you are planning to give your baby a head wash, massage the scalp gently with mineral oil before applying shampoo. In addition, remember to use shampoos that are classified as “mild” for such cases.
The condition is easily treatable and in most cases does not require any special medications or drugs. But if you notice these flaky substances spreading to other parts of the body or if they become itchy and are red in color, it is high time you consult a doctor immediately and prevent aggravation of the condition. This could be due to over activity of the fungus that spreads to other parts of the body leading to diaper rash and thrush in the mouth. If left untreated, the baby’s skin may start bleeding and allow a host of other microorganisms to invade the immune system, causing an array of infections and diseases. Taking preventive measures and following correct treatment procedures is essential to minimize the side effects associated with cradle cap.