Cradle cap: Easy home cures to try
Cradle cap can appear on your baby's head from around three months, but what should you do about it? Helen Foster finds out
These patches of thick, greasy skin on the scalp look worse than they are. Normally appearing around three months, they can be confined to small spots on the scalp or start to cover the whole area. 'But even in the worst cases, it rarely bothers your baby – nor does it mean they are going to be prone to eczema or skin problems in later life,' says Dr Ilves.
Simply leave it be
Just wash your baby's hair and scalp as normal and wait for it to clear up. 'It is a self-limiting condition,' says Dr Markus Hesseling of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 'Most babies are free of it by the age of 12 months.'
Try a scalp brush
Put a little olive oil on the dry patches, let it soak in for a few minutes, then use a baby toothbrush to lift the patches away. 'This helps loosen the scales, and many of my patients find it's a benefit,' says Dr Ashley Reece, a consultant paediatrician from the Spire Bushey Hospital. But don't be tempted to pick the scales off as this could cause an infection. Neither should you try using a nit comb, as is often recommended on many forums. 'This is a problem that's not causing your baby any discomfort, so why would you want to scrape their head with a metal comb?' asks Dr Hesseling.
Keep the scalp moisturised
'Aqueous cream works well for cradle cap,' suggests Dr Reece. Apply a layer before bedtime, then wash it off in the morning.
When to see the doctor
If the patches begin to appear in areas other than the scalp or if you see blood, pus or weeping from the patches, which can mean that an infection has developed.