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Caring for Baby Dry Scalp

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 2 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
Cradle Cap Skin Baby Infant Child

Cradle cap or scaly skin patches on a baby’s scalp are common conditions that affect infants. The patches of yellow scaly skin can look like flaky dandruff and may also form a crusty layer. The condition can clear up naturally but can also be gently treated.

Baby Scalp Dryness

The oil-producing glands on a baby’s head can sometimes be over-stimulated during birth and this causes an imbalance. Scalp dryness can also be the result of a fungal or yeast infection. Infant cradle cap, or scaly scalp, is not caused by poor hygiene or allergic reaction and is generally accepted as a natural condition that affects young infants and clears up on its own. Severe cases of scaly scalp, or seborrheic dermatitis, should be treated by a GP or pediatrician.

Cradle cap affects the scalp but may spread to the eyelids, ears and nose where it appears as flaky red patches. If this happens it is important to seek medical advice before treating. Cradle cap most commonly appears between two weeks and three months of a baby’s birth and will usually have cleared completely by about 7 months of age.

How to Spot Symptoms

Scalp conditions vary in severity and type. Cradle cap is the most common condition that affects babies and young infants and this usually manifests as a harmless, painless and unattractive yellow crust that covers the scalp or collects in patches.

Dry scalp conditions may appear dry and flaky and crusty or as oily or greasy patches of skin. Either way, most scalp conditions in young children can become itchy and irritating if not treated promptly. In some cases, however, scaly scalp problems can be a result of other skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis and should be checked by a GP or health practitioner.

Cradle Cap Treatment

Flaky dry skin on a baby’s scalp can be treated by gentle, frequent washing with a mild chemical and fragrance-free shampoo. Using a soft baby hairbrush the accumulated patches of yellow scaly skin can be gentle brushed off. The scaly skin can also be removed by gentle rubbing with a towel or soft cloth. This action should be continued over the course of a few days so that the buildup of scaly patches is loosened.

To moisturise the dry skin it is important to massage the scalp using baby oil or other mineral oil. As the dry skin scales begin to loosen gentle brushing with a soft brush will encourage the flaky crusts to break up further. To avoid irritation of the scalp skin brushing must be performed gently. Finish the treatment by washing off the oil and residual skin crusts and gently patting the scalp dry.

Treating Toddlers

Flaky scalp conditions, experienced by toddlers, should be treated in the same way as treatment for babies and infants. It is important to wash the child’s hair with gentle shampoo. As you lather the hair pay careful attention to the scalp and gently rub and loosen flakes of scaly skin. A soft toothbrush can also be used to loosen the scaly patches. Rinse hair with clean, warm water and repeat the procedure.

Apply conditioner to your hands and work this through the child’s hair, massaging the scalp gently to remove any residual dry skin flakes. Rinse hair again and towel dry.

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@America Quiroz - You should really visit your GP, if this does not clear up in a day or so!
Jess - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:47 PM
My baby has cradle cap and I think he may have a score patch due to the fact that my boyfriend was picking off some of the dry flakes from his scalp. And now he is producing a clear watery looking goo on the area he picked at. I don't want it to get infected but what if I just keep washing it with warm almost hot water and conditioner after applying the oil and brushing off the dry scalp with a smooth baby brush. Will that be okay? Or what can that watery substance be?
America Quiroz - 2-Aug-17 @ 6:36 AM
My baby is 2 months old and has Flaky scalp which is gradually comming off. We do not use soap or shampoo for baby...we have been giving massage with coconut oil and cleaning with hot water during bath. Would this create a problem for the baby..we live in India - Mumbai
Dales - 31-May-17 @ 7:04 AM
The info furnished here is very important..i appreciate it a lot..i hv a baby boy .3 months old..he hassome sort of scalp infection which reduced his hair growth and almost all his hair just came off considerably..he was given birth in the last week of 9th month.is it the posibility that his imune sys is weak?
vikas - 8-Jan-17 @ 8:40 AM
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