Cradle cap is a condition that affects newborns, within the first three months of their life. This condition is also referred to as seborrhoeic dermatitis. Cradle cap usually has a patchy, scaly, greasy, yellowish and crusty appearance, which doesn’t itch or bother the baby. While there is little consensus over the causes of cradle cap, it is not caused due to bacterial infection, poor hygiene or allergy.
Reports suggest that cradle cap is a very common condition and affects almost half the babies. Most of the babies suffer from milder version of cradle cap, though severe conditions may also be observed. This article will provide information about the various causes of cradle cap in babies and simple home remedies that can be used for effective management of neonatal dermatitis.
Causes Of Cradle Cap In Babies
Cradle cap is not linked with poor hygiene or bacterial infection and nor is it associated with allergy. While there is conflict within the medical community over the causes of cradle cap, there are two hypotheses which are considered to explain the causative factors,
- Some believe that cradle cap in real terms is a fungal infection which is linked to the antibiotics that are given to the mother, just before the birth of the child.
- Some believe that cradle cap is also caused due to the deficiency of biotin. Presence of maternal hormones in the child, especially during the first few weeks of life, which influence fatty acid biosynthesis. This in turn causes the sebaceous glands to become overactive, resulting in the release of greasy substance. Dead skin cells instead of falling off, stick to the scalp due to the presence of this greasy substance, resulting in the appearance of a cradle cap.
Natural Remedies For Cradle Cap In Babies
Here are some simple home remedies to deal with cradle cap in babies. These home remedies are safe to be used in children; however there are certain precautions that need to be followed,
- Local application of Aloe Vera gel or petroleum jelly is considered to moisturize the skin of the scalp. While research studies shown that lotions and moisturizing cream don’t seem to have any added value in the management of cradle cap, this technique is worth trying.
- Dilute tea tree oil (1% concentration) with five parts of walnut oil. Local application of this mixture is considered to be of high value in management of fungal infection on the scalp. Ensure that you adequately dilute the tea tree oil before using it.
- Local application of Arnica Mother Tincture on the scalp may also be beneficial. However ensure that the mother tincture is adequately diluted with coconut or other carrier oils.
While in general, cradle cap is a self-limiting disease, studies conducted in Australia have shown that some children diagnosed of the condition, continue to have eczema during adolescence and into adulthood. In some cases cradle cap may develop into atopic dermatitis, while in rare instances, cradle cap may actually be misdiagnosed psoriasis.