If dry scales have appeared on your baby’s noggin, it’s most likely seborrheic dermatitis, commonly known by its less frightening name, cradle cap. Here’s what you need to know should you find yourself facing the condition head on.
Show and tell
Cradle cap is harmless, but it can be a startling sight for new mamas. It’s easy to spot and resembles a baby equivalent of dandruff, notes Jennifer Chu, MD, pediatrician and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. Look for flaky skin or yellow or white scales that appear on the top of your baby’s head within the first few months postbirth.
Give it time
Chu suggests leaving cradle cap alone because it can be difficult to get rid of, and it’s not worth losing (already elusive) sleep over. Eventually this common nuisance will run its course and disappear on its own within baby’s first year.
If you just can’t wait it out, there are ways to shake the flakes. Chu recommends massaging your baby’s scalp with a mild oil—try mineral oil, baby oil or baby shampoo—and then using a soft brush to gently remove the scales. You can also talk to your pediatrician about over-the-counter cradle cap washes.