Cradle cap is a common skin condition that affects young babies. It is commonly present in the first three months of life, and is rare after the age of one year. It is a form of seborrhoeic dermatitis and appears as thick, waxy, yellow crusts on the baby's scalp.
Cradle cap is neither painful nor itchy and usually clears by itself after a few months. It is not contagious, and it is not caused by poor hygiene. Babies with cradle cap are otherwise well, but many parents prefer to remove the crusts because they do not like how it looks.
Cradle cap may appear in your baby's eyebrows. Scaly patches on other parts of the face or body are not cradle cap and should be checked by your GP or paediatrician. If the cradle cap starts to ooze or smell, the area may be infected and you should have your baby assessed.
If your baby has cradle cap, they may have:
- Yellow, greasy, waxy scales or flakes on the scalp, or sometimes the eyebrows
- Reddening of the skin, which sometimes occurs due to eczema developing underneath the cradle cap.