The Scoop on Cradle Cap
Your baby probably has cradle cap if you notice scaling skin on his scalp that often flakes off. Babies between six to 12 months generally are the most prone to this condition, which usually is rather mild and does not pose any harm. It is absolutely fine not to do anything about this skin condition, says Dr. Muething. He adds that parents, not babies, are often the most bothered by cradle cap.
There are several simple treatments that can help remove the dryness of cradle cap. "Many babies with cradle cap can be helped by simply massaging the scalp, routinely using shampoo before rinsing well, and ensuring that the hair is washed at least every other day. The addition of mineral oil to the scalp at the site of cradle cap to soften the scale prior to washing may also be helpful," says Dr. Amy S. Paller, MD, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and member of the Dermatology Department at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. For severe cradle cap, parents should consult with their child's pediatrician. "Scalp eczema, scalp psoriasis, and even a rare disorder called histiocytosis may masquerade as cradle cap in babies," adds Dr. Paller.
Still No Hair!
Don't focus on the hair, look to the scalp for answers. "If the scalp looks healthy, the hair loss is just a normal part of being a baby. A healthy scalp looks soft, with no scaling, redness, or oozing. If these symptoms occur it is best to discuss them with your baby's pediatrician who can prescribe a topical ointment," reports Dr. Paller. She adds that if hair growth is still sparse by age two, a doctor should look into the cause.