Always see a doctor or your maternal health nurse if you're concerned about any aspects of your baby's health or wellbeing.
Cradle cap is common in newborn babies. Caused by the same increased oil production that’s usually behind baby acne, it will also usually clear up after a few weeks or months.
Unlike baby acne, however, the oil combines with dead skin cells on the scalp, giving the appearance of dandruff. The skin will be flaky and there can be inflammation.
Cradle cap can also develop on the skin around the baby’s hairline and in the eyebrows.
A baby with cradle cap.
To treat general cases of cradle cap, massage baby oil or olive oil into the baby’s scalp, then allow it to seep into the skin before shampooing the hair. This should soften the skin and loosen the dead skin cells. You can then use a soft baby brush to sweep the skin flakes off the scalp.
If the skin is weeping or bleeding at any time, it may be that the skin has become infected. Applying creams such as baby moisturiser, sorbelene cream or aloe vera can help, but speak to your baby’s doctor first – this will help ensure there isn’t another skin condition, such as eczema, causing the inflammation. Be sure the shampoo you are using is suitable for a baby’s sensitive skin and won’t cause any further irritation.
Have a baby under six months of age? Join other parents of young children to discuss life with a newborn in the Essential Baby forum.