Crusta Lactea or cradle cap is a very common problem in infants, with over half the babies being affected by this condition. Although it causes no discomfort to the baby, it is better to treat it in the early stages than let it spread to other areas.
Cradle Cap in Infants – Causes and Symptoms
A yellowish, greasy, patchy and crusty skin rash occurring on the scalp of a new born is usually referred to as cradle cap. Cradle cap in infants is a common condition and prominent near eyebrows, eyelids or around the ear. It is not itchy or bothersome but can spread and become thicker. Causes of cradle cap are not well defined but research has shown that it is not caused by allergy, poor hygiene or infection. Mother’s hormones present in the baby’s circulation and the presence of sebaceous glands in the newborn’s skin probably causes this condition. These glands release a substance responsible for making old skin cells attach to the scalp instead of falling off. Immature digestive system of the baby makes it unable to absorb sufficient biotin and cause cradle cap in infants. Crusty, thick patches in brown or yellow color is the first symptom. Scalp skin becomes greasy and oily and some babies can also experience hair loss. Sometimes, skin can turn red and itchy. The condition when unattended can result in sore formation.
Cradle Cap Treatment – Remedies Available
Treating cradle cap does not just happen by seeing the symptoms but also by understanding the type of cradle cap. The first type of cradle cap demonstrates excessive oiliness without inflammation and is termed as seborrhea oleosa. Cradle cap treatment for this type involves using gentle soap or cleansers to remove excess oil. The second and most common type of cradle cap is when crust or scale formation appears with oiliness and this is medically termed as seborrhea sicca. This is treated by gently washing the affected area so that hardened fats soften and can be easily peeled off. Take care not to aggravate skin for it can worsen the problem. Applying and leaving petroleum jelly overnight will cause scales to soften and fall. The third type of cradle cap is when oiliness and scaling is combined with inflammation. This is termed as seborrhoica dermatitis and cradle cap treatment is best advised by doctors in this case.
Cradle Cap Shampoo – Alternatives in Market
Shampooing you baby’s scalp is the best way to remove crusts or scale formation. Mild baby shampoos or ketoconazole shampoos and creams are found to be effective in treating moderate to severe cradle cap cases. Many kinds of cradle cap shampoo are available in the market today. While it is recommended to begin with non-medicated shampoos for cleaning your baby’s scalp, you can switch to shampoos containing tar or as per your pediatrician’s advise for getting rid of the condition. Dentinox is one of the popular names in this category of products and is considered suitable for use from birth. It helps to maintain clean and healthy hair and scalp. Use a soft brush to gently rub the affected area to soften flakes while they are moist. Excessive rubbing can cause infection and hence it is critical to be meticulous.