Have you ever noticed a thick, waxy yellow crust on your baby’s scalp, or other parts of the body? This is likely cradle cap, a very common skin conditions affecting young babies. While it looks uncomfortable, it’s harmless and doesn’t usually itch or cause discomfort, so your little one is likely not bothered by it at all.
Cradle cap occurs if your baby’s skin produces too much oil (sebum), interfering with the natural shedding of the skin and creating a build-up of dead skin, likely because mum’s hormones are still circulating through their body. It most commonly occurs on the scalp, but can also occur on the eyebrows, behind the ears or even on the torso or in skin folds. The condition can cause hair to become matted, but won’t cause hair loss.
Cradle cap doesn’t need to be treated, and usually clears up on its own. You can help it clear up by regularly massaging baby oil into the crusts before bathing your baby and using mild baby shampoo to wash it out. Don’t forcibly peel them off, as this may make the skin bleed. Sometimes, cradle cap can get infected; signs of this include the skin feeling warm and the rash draining fluid.
Take your baby to see the doctor if they seem irritated, the rash is spreading or you’re in doubt that it is cradle cap. It may be infected or may be infantile eczema, both of which require different treatment.