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What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap can be alarming to new parents. However, it is a condition that can be treated.
Many a pediatrician has received a worried parent's phone call over these symptoms. And while it is always advisable to put in a call to the baby's doctor when something seems odd or out of normal range, this little crusting on the skin may be nothing more than a case of cradle cap. It is referred to as cradle cap, because the crusting on the skin is almost always located on the child's head.
Many a parent is worried that this condition may be contagious or may have been passed on by another child, yet this worry is entirely unwarranted. As a matter of fact, there is not connection between cradle cap and any kind of contagious disease, lax hygiene, or even allergy. Instead, it is simply a matter of the skin of the scalp producing more cells than are falling off - as dead skin - and as a result the accumulation of too many cells in one spot leads to flaky or crusty skin.
Usually cradle cap is seen in very young infants - commonly less than three months of age - but it may still show up later. While there are a number of home remedies that are bandied about, perhaps the gentlest way of dealing with cradle cap is simply by using some baby oil and slowly massaging it into the skin of the scalp where the flakes and crusts are located. After a few minutes, a gentle brushing - either with a baby hair brush or a baby tooth brush - will remove the crusts and flakes. If you are unsuccessful in taking care of your infant's cradle cap in this manner, or if it gets worse instead of better, your pediatrician will be able to suggest a specialized shampoo or lotion to deal with it.