exact causes of cradle cap are not known, but the condition may
be hereditary and worsen during periods of cold weather or living
in northern climates. Cradle cap is not contagious and is not
caused by poor hygiene or allergies. Cradle cap may or may not
cause itching. Scratching the affected areas may cause additional
inflammation and possible infection.
Diagnosis: A diagnosis of cradle
cap is made by a visual inspection of the appearance and location
of the skin lesions.
Treatment: Cradle cap
is a chronic condition that is controllable with treatment. It
often goes through cycles of inactivity followed by flare-ups.
Following a doctor's recommendations,
cradle cap may be treated with OTC medicated dandruff shampoos
containing either selinium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, or salicylic
In moderate to severe cases
of cradle cap, shampoos or lotions with ketoconazole (an anti-fungal
ingredient) or corticosteroids may be prescribed. If the condition
has spread to other areas, lotions with these ingredients may
be prescribed and applied to those areas.
Use of medicated shampoos
on infants should involved a delicate approach. First massage
the baby's scalp to loosen the scales, then apply the medicated
shampoo in sections and massage into the scalp area for a few
minutes, then rinse thoroughly as you brush your fingers through
the scalp to remove unwanted scales and shampoo.
Caution: Excessive use of steroid
based creams (corticosteroids) may cause the skin to become thinner.
Always follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment of any
See Also: Seborrhoeic Dermatitis and Dandruff for more information.