Cradle-cap is a common, non-contagious skin condition which mostly appears on the baby's head as crusty or scaly oily patches. It is quite common. Cradle-cap can already occur in the first week after birth and is very similar to the skin condition `Milk scab. Milk scab usually occurs after the third month of life and, contrary to cradle cap, can lead to an increased risk of allergies, such as hay fever and / or neurodermatitis.
The name cradle-cap is only used in the first four weeks after the birth of the baby, then it is called Seborrhoeic eczema or eczema seborrhoicum.
Cradle-cap may be unsightly, but is harmless for your baby and usually goes away before too long. It consists of a crust of greasy yellow to brownish flakes, sometimes with some redness on the edge. The sticky flakes sits on the baby's head and the disease usually very local.
Origin of the disease
This skin disorder also occurs in adults. The exact cause is not yet known. Often is is interchanged in adults with the formation of milk scabs or other flaky formations.
It is believed that it is no more than dried-up fat (skin wax or Vernix caseosa), which covers the skin of babies in the womb. Another possibility could be that the fat stays on the scalp for a while. The fat is then a kind of natural protective layer of the skin against temperature differences that is effective against micro-organisms thanks to antibacterial substances.
Sometimes parents think that the flakes are a sign of a disease or allergy. Or that it has to do with the baby's diet. Sometimes there is uncertainty about whether it is painful for the baby and whether it is contagious. These doubts are fortunately not necessary.
Ask your doctor or the clinic if you are not sure whether your baby has Cradle-cap or Milk-scabs
You can usually treat cradle-cap yourself. If the baby has flakes and / or scabs on the head, then you can rub the area with oil. The oil can remain for a few hours, after which you can carefully remove the crusts and flakes with a comb. If cradle-cap is not treated at all, the condition disappears by itself. It will take a little longer. It is important not to use aggressive agents and to wash the baby's hair only with a baby shampoo. Do not try to loosen the flakes too roughly, as this can cause mild bleeding.