Cradle cap of baby is very much common condition in infants. When a new baby is born in the house, everyone in the house takes good care of the baby but sometimes the old people in the home tells some old customs. Not all of those customs are in vain, but over the time we learn new things.
So one of the healthiest way to stay away from such practices like to apply a lot of oil on the scalp. It is believed that applying oil in this way fills the scalp immediately. But while doing this, a fungal infection develops over the scalp. This fungal infection is called cradle cap in infants .
What is a cradle cap?
Cradle cap in infants is also called as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, crusta lactia, milk crust, honeycomb disease. The cradle cap is a type of dandruff.
Cradle cap is seen in 10% of babies under one month, in 70% of babies under three months and in 7% of babies after one to two years. The disease is not contagious.
What are the symptoms of cradle cap of baby ?
The cradle cap has the following symptoms-
A yellow scab forms on the baby’s frontal area.
Initially, these yellow scabs are formed in some areas and then they are joined together to form large scab. The formed scab is dry and it is not painful nor itchy.
Mostly such fungal infections appear in the first two to six weeks.
What are the causes of cradle cap of baby ?
The most important reason for the formation of cradle cap is that the mother’s hormones enter the baby’s body through the placenta before birth. These hormones release a lot of oil from the glands on the scalp so the oil sticks to the dead skin cells over the scalp and forms a yellow crust.
What is Fontanell?
There are 14 types of bones in a newborn baby’s skull. When a baby is born, the scalp is formed to connect bones that are not fully connected. The scalp is a kind of fleshy thick membrane.
The most important thing is that the baby gets out of the mother’s womb easily because of the scalp (fontanell). This is because the scalp flexes the bones of the skull. The fontanell are present in four sites on the baby’s head.
- The largest is on the top of the baby’s head called the Frontal fontanell.
- The other on the back is called the Posterior fontanell.
- The upper part of the ear is called the Spenoidal fontanell.
- The area above the jaw joints is called the Mastoidal fontanell.
As the baby grows, the scalp transforms into bones. The posterior fontanell closes at 3 month, spenoidal and mastoidal fontanell closes at 6 month and the largest anterior fontanel closes at 12 to 18 months.
Fontanell closing is a natural process. Calcium and hormones in the baby’s body are responsible for closure of the fontanels.
What is the treatment for cradle cap of baby ?
The cradle cap of baby is self resolving. Sometimes treatment is not needed to reduce it if you take proper care of baby but if there is too much fungal infection spread over the scalp and the face then treatment is needed.
The cradle cap can be treated in the following ways.
- Use of Shampoo – Wash the baby’s scalp hair three times a week with anti-fungal shampoo.
- Do not try to remove the fungal scabs completely from the scalp. If there is a part that can be removed, it can be removed with a brush.
- After bathing the baby, apply petroleum jelly or a small amount of baby oil on the scalp. Do not apply too much oil as it will increase the risk of fungal infections.
- Apply steroid cream only on the advice of a doctor. It doesn’t even need to be taken if proper care is taken.
What are complications of cradle cap of baby ?
Cradle cap rarely cause complications.
- Redness of the surrounding skin.
- The baby is very irritated by the scab over the scalp.
- If the fungal infection spreads around the mouth.
- If the baby starts having diaper rash.
- If the baby has white spots in the mouth.
- If the baby has dandruff in his ears and the baby is itching frequently.
Sometimes fungal infections can also lead to bacterial infections. So in bacterial infection, Bleeding from that area can occur. If any of the above symptoms appear, it is necessary to consult your pediatrician.
- Stay away from superstition.
- It is up to you to take care of your baby so it is important to check if the advice given by others is correct.
- Do not try to remove the forcibly formed scabs.
- Do not apply too much oil on the scalp, it is of no use.
Refrance – The Royal Childrens Hospital Melbourne