Many people have never heard of cradle cap until they have a baby and their beautiful baby ends up with a scaly flaky scalp. I hadn’t even noticed N’s because it wasn’t scaly or flaky. It just looked like he had freckles over part of his head. But then a health visitor was talking to another mum at Baby Café when N was about 6 months old and I realised that his might have been cradle cap too.
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What is cradle cap?
It’s a harmless skin condition, usually yellow scaly greasy patches on the scalp of new babies sometimes with a bit of redness underneath. It’s not usually itchy or irritating for the baby.
For some it goes away on its own, other babies need a bit of help with natural oils like olive oil said to be good to rubbing and leaving on until the flakes can be rubbed away. You can also use mild baby shampoo and then brush off.
With N we used some Dentinox shampoo. Olive oil isn’t the most pleasant, and is a faff, plus we didn’t see much difference because his wasn’t scaly or flaky. Dentinox did help but you need to keep using it, and given N’s hair is so short and just flops into place, we don’t wash it frequently, and we never really combed or brushed his hair. So the cradle cap never really disappeared.
Cradle cap in older children
I always thought children just grew out of cradle cap and most do. But speaking to the hair dresser, she said she still sees a lot of it in primary age children. I suppose once their hair grows you forget it’s there unless you’re doing a head lice treatment and examining their hair.
In older children, cradle cap is usually just referred to as dandruff. Dandruff to me always makes me think of white bits on shoulder and in the hair, and I don’t see that with N. He still just has darker freckles amongst his hair. Yes, we can use Dentinox occasionally, but it never really makes that much difference. And I don’t fancy oil everywhere – it’s not the nicest once your children have hair to have it slicked down and then spread around the house.
So what can you do to get rid?
It seems if you don’t want to coat them in olive oil 15 minutes before bathtime, then an over the counter dandruff shampoo maybe worth a try. I’ve bought head and shoulders dandruff shampoo in the hope that will help, but as N sorts himself out in the shower, I doubt it gets used much at all.
Combing regularly should also help, although we’ve not found it does much – unless the scalp is quite flaky. Using an Nitty Gritty nit comb or an alternative is probably the best option with older children.
If nothing is helping and it’s irritating them, then a trip to the doctor to check it’s not something else is an option.
We’ll be trying out more regular shampooing and combing, and hopefully it’ll gradually go.
Do your children still suffer with cradle cap? How did you get rid?
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