Table of Contents
Definition of Cradle Cap and Treatment
Cradle Cap is a form of dermatitis, also called infantile seborrheic dermatitis, in which the sebaceous structures of the skin oversecrete oils. The excessive sebaceous secretions trap loose, dead skin cells, forming crusts or scales. Cradle cap, as the name implies, affects young infants.
Doctors believe the condition results from the surge of maternal hormones that infuse the infant’s bloodstream shortly before birth, stimulating the sebaceous glands. Because the primary location of body hair on the infant is on the head, the crusts are most common on the scalp.
They also may form around the eyebrows. Gentle shampooing helps keep the scalp clean. The caregiver can rub baby oil into crusted areas to soften crusts before shampooing to help remove them. Cradle cap generally clears up within a few months and does not occur after about age 12 months.
Page last reviewed: