What is cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis)? Natural treatment alternatives that work
Cradle Cap (seborrheic dermatitis) is a common, chronic inflammatory scalp disorder causing crusty, yellow scaling on infants.
Cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) in quite common on the scalp and nappy area on babies, which usually clears up after a few months. It’s the most common skin problem in children after eczema.
Cradle cap may be the most common skin condition to occur at the same time as rosacea. Although the two disorders are unrelated, a recent clinical study found that 26% of patients with rosacea also had facial seborrheic dermatitis, and 28% had seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp.
Dandruff (mild seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp) can affect almost half of all adults. It can start at any time after puberty and is slightly more common in men.
What causes cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis)?
It is thought that cradle cap is triggered by an overproduction of a harmless type of yeast called malassezia that lives on the skin, or an overreaction to this yeast by the skin’s immune system. These are not the same as the yeasts that cause thrush or those that are present in foods.
Cradle cap is not usually linked to any underlying illness, but it can be stubborn and severe in some adults. Tiredness and stress can sometimes trigger a flare-up it is more common in cold weather than in warm and is not related to diet.
What does cradle cap it look like?
Scaling and redness are the two dominant characteristics of seborrheic dermatitis. Cradle cap normally appears on infants in the first few days or weeks after being born. It appears on the scalp and upper face, and behind the ears, which can concern parents being somewhat unsightly but it usually clears up spontaneously during the first 6-12 months of life, however, it can occasionally be particularly troublesome and require treatment.
In adults, it can present as powdery or greasy scales on the face and other parts of the body and may also cause a mild cause of dandruff or an itchy sensation.
The most commonly affected sites are:
On the scalp: seborrhoeic dermatitis here ranges from mild flaky skin (dandruff) to a redder, scalier and sometimes yellow weeping rash.
On the face: it often affects the inner eyebrows and creases around the nose and cheeks. The eyelids may also become red, swollen and flaky (seborrhoeic blepharitis).
In and around the ears: inflammation inside the ear canals (otitis externa) can cause it to become blocked. The skin can become infected with a bacteria, causing oozing and crusting.
On the front of the chest and between the shoulder blades: it presents as well-defined, round, pink-red patches with mild scaling.
In the skin folds: it often affects moist areas such as the skin under the breasts, in the groin, under the arms, or in folds of skin on the abdomen. The skin is pink and shiny with surface cracks.
Try simple measures first, such as regular washing of the scalp with an anti-fungal shampoo, followed by brushing with a soft brush to loosen any scaling.
Prior to shampooing, the crusts can be soaked overnight with with a warmed coconut or olive oil or massaging into the scalp our Body Lotion,will help to keep the scalp moisturised and assist in reducing any irritation and redness. The next morning wash the hair and scalp using our Shampoo and gently using a soft brush lifting the crusts. Of course, with any new cream, we recommend that you test an area of skin first (on an arm or a leg) and leave for 24 hours to check that there will be no unknown reactions to any ingredient. You can read how to do thishere.
Read our customers experiences
Hear directly from a few of our lovely Manuka Mum’s sharing their experiences of using our products on their little one’s cradle cap. Click on the names below to see their story.
There’s a lot you can do to relieve symptoms if your cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) gets worse. Check out the following websites for further information or join our private Facebook support group on how you can treat and prevent the condition. Remember, your health provider will be able to treat you with assessing and treating your symptoms.
Please read the full ingredient list for any known irritants or allergies. We advise trying new products on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 hours to make sure there is no reaction. Any natural product on the market could contain an ingredient that won’t agree with your skin. You can read how to do this here.