Infant Cradle Cap: What It Is and How to Treat It

Infant Cradle Cap: What It Is and How to Treat It

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Harish

MBBS, MD | Consultant- Paediatrics Neurlogy


Cradle cap, also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects newborns and infants. While it may look concerning to new parents, it’s generally harmless and easy to manage. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on what cradle cap is and how to treat it effectively.

What is Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap manifests as yellow or white scaly patches on your baby’s scalp. These patches may appear greasy or flaky and can sometimes be accompanied by a mild rash. The best pediatricians suggest It’s important to note that while the condition is most commonly found on the scalp, it can also appear on the face, neck, and even the diaper area.

Causes of Cradle Cap

The exact cause of cradle cap is not fully understood, but it’s believed to be related to the overproduction of skin oils. Factors like hormonal changes in the baby and the presence of a specific type of yeast may contribute to the condition.

Home Care Remedies

Managing cradle cap at home is usually straightforward. Here are some tips:
  • Gentle Shampooing: Use a mild, fragrance-free baby shampoo to clean the scalp.
  • Soft Brushing: Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove the scales.
  •  Moisturizing: Apply a baby-safe oil or lotion to keep the scalp moisturized. When to Seek Medical Help While cradle cap is generally harmless, there are situations where medical advice is warranted:
  • Persistent Symptoms: If the condition doesn’t improve with home care.
  • Infection Signs: Redness, swelling, or oozing indicates a possible infection.
  • Spread to Other Areas: If the condition spreads beyond the scalp to other parts of the body.

Medical Treatments

 For more severe cases, healthcare providers may recommend:

  • Hydrocortisone Cream: A low-potency steroid cream to reduce inflammation.
  • Antifungal Shampoo: Ketoconazole shampoo can help if a fungal infection is suspected.
  • Prescription Medication: In rare cases, prescription medication may be required.

Prevention Tips

Preventing cradle cap involves regular scalp care:

  • Regular Washing: Keep the baby’s scalp clean but avoid excessive washing.
  • Avoid Irritants: Use fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products.
  • Monitor Diet: Sometimes, food allergies can contribute to skin conditions.


  1. Is cradle cap contagious? – No, cradle cap is not contagious.
  2. Can adults get cradle cap? – The condition is most common in infants but can occur in adults, where it’s known as seborrheic dermatitis.
  3. How long does cradle cap last? – It usually clears up within the first year but can persist longer in some cases.
  4. Is cradle cap itchy for the baby? – Generally, it’s not itchy, but scratching can lead to infection

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