What it is
Infantile seborrheic dermatitis, commonly known as cradle cap, is a harmless and temporary condition that causes dry, brown or yellow scaly patches to form on baby’s scalp. The condition isn’t contagious and it’s not caused by poor hygiene.
How to handle it
You can care for cradle cap easily at home. Before bath time, gently massage baby’s scalp with your fingers, a soft bristle brush or terry cloth towel to loosen the scales. Brush the scales away and shampoo baby’s scalp using a mild soap. You’ll need to shampoo more frequently—about once each day—until the condition clears. For stubborn scales, massage some natural oil, such as almond or olive, into the scalp and leave for at least 15 minutes to help loosen flakes. Then brush baby’s hair and shampoo as usual.
When to call the doc
Cradle cap typically clears on its own. However, the condition can be itchy, and scratching can increase inflammation and risk for infection. If you notice your little one is uncomfortable and scratching at his scalp, or if the patches drain fluid or pus, contact your pediatrician; she may prescribe a cream to treat and soothe the scalp.