Cradle cap is one of the most common rashes we see in newborns and generally presents as a scaly, yellow rash on the infant’s head. This type of rash is caused by an overproduction of oils by the body’s sebaceous glands. When this rash is on parts of the body other than the head, it is called seborrheic dermatitis. Nobody is entirely sure why this condition happens, but it is generally not serious.
A common question among parents is how to fix it. There are myths that you should not bathe your baby while they have cradle cap. But a bath with a gentle shampoo can actually help this condition. Petroleum jelly or a mild ointment on the scalp can also help, but you should avoid baby oil and mineral oil. Brushing the scalp with a soft brush can help remove some of the flaky scales.
If your baby’s skin is not improving, your pediatrician may prescribe a hydrocortisone ointment. If the skin gets worse and is more red than yellow, this could be a sign of a yeast infection. In this case, be sure to consult a doctor. While cradle cap generally resolves on its own, if you are concerned about your baby’s skin you should call your pediatrician for guidance.