Gentle Solutions and Effective Strategies to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants: A Parent’s Guide to a Healthy Scalp

Gentle Solutions and Effective Strategies to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants: A Parent's Guide to a Healthy Scalp

Cradle cap is a skin lesion that is particularly common in babies. The hairy head is usually affected, as well as the face (forehead, eyebrows, cheeks) and the neck, but rarely other areas. The so-called head gneiss is similar in appearance. In the vernacular, both skin changes are often used synonymously. However, there are some differences in symptoms and treatment, which are explained in more detail below.

What is a cradle cap?

The cradle cap owes its name to its appearance: the skin changes are reminiscent of milk burnt in a pot. “Real” cradle cap is a form of neurodermatitis (atopic eczema ) in which the skin changes are accompanied by itching. Cradle cap can be confused with seborrheic eczema, common in babies. But this is head gneiss.


Cradle cap: causes and symptoms

The cause of the cradle cap is unknown. It is not uncommon for cradle cap to be a sign of an atopic predisposition, i.e. a congenital hypersensitivity of the skin and mucous membrane to environmental substances and the first manifestation of neurodermatitis. Dry skin and food allergies can favour it. Many children with cradle caps suffer from neurodermatitis as adults. Sometimes, the cradle cap goes away independently after a few months.

Typical symptoms of cradle cap are:

  • initially hard, white scales
  • Inflammation of the affected skin areas
  • often intense itching
  • yellowish, partly weeping crusts with a greasy sheen

Because of the inflammation and itching, the affected children sleep poorly and are tearful, restless and jumpy. If it is a cradle cap, these symptoms usually begin in the infant between the third and fifth months.

Cradle cap or head gneiss?

In the vernacular, the term cradle cap is often also used for head gneiss, although there is a difference. In contrast to cradle cap, head gneiss, also known as seborrheic eczema, is not a sign of the onset of neurodermatitis.

The following signs indicate head gneiss:

  • greasy, yellowish-brown and adherent scales
  • usually in the middle of the head up to the forehead
  • very rarely itching
  • sometimes also eczema on the face, chest or back

Button gneiss occurs for the first time in infants between two weeks and six months. If left untreated, it usually heals entirely within the first year of life.

In rare cases, adults can also be affected by seborrheic dermatitis. However, the disease then becomes chronic.

Cradle cap is also not to be confused with baby acne. Baby acne is harmless skin changes that appear shortly after birth and are caused by hormonal changes.


Cradle cap: what to do?

First, If you are unsure whether the cradle cap causes skin changes in your baby or has another cause, ask your paediatrician for advice. As part of the doctor’s appointment, a physical examination and a query about the exact symptoms and, if necessary, the parents’ medical history (if hereditary neurodermatitis is suspected) will be carried out.

In the case of mild changes, herbal remedies can be used to combat cradle caps. In severe cases of cradle cap, the therapeutic principles of neurodermatitis apply.

If possible, avoid scraping off the scales, as this irritates and injures the skin and leads to inflammation. You should, therefore, cut your child’s fingernails as short as possible.

Gentle methods of softening the scales, such as medicinal plants or cradle cap gel available in pharmacies, are recommended for removing the scales.

Treat the cradle cap with medicinal plants.

To loosen dry crusts from the scalp, rub oil on your head before bed and wash it off with baby shampoo the following day. Olive oil, calendula oil or burdock root oil are particularly suitable. Daisy or pansy tea, which is applied locally, also softens dandruff and works against itching and inflammation, and it has also proven itself.

You can dab and clean weeping spots with a saline solution that you can buy ready-made from the pharmacy or make yourself (boil 1 gram of table salt with 100 millilitres of water and keep in the refrigerator for up to five days). The areas are then left to dry.

Cradle cap and homoeopathy

Preparations with pansies are also used in homoeopathy: Viola tricolour is said to help, especially in heavily weeping areas. If the yellowish bark of the cradle cap is in the foreground, the homoeopathic remedy called Graphites is usually used. On the other hand, Sulfur is recommended for severe itching. Homoeopathic therapy should only be used for cradle caps as an accompanying treatment and after medical consultation.


Cradle cap as a sign of chronic neurodermatitis?

A cradle cap is the first sign of neurodermatitis. Affected people who had cradle caps in infancy do not always suffer from neurodermatitis but continue into adulthood. Symptoms may subside throughout childhood.

Nevertheless, if you suspect a cradle cap, consult a paediatrician. If it is a cradle cap, further treatment may be necessary. This includes:

  • search for causes
  • Fix custom triggers
  • Prevention of acute flare-ups
  • Treatment of skin changes and symptoms
  • psychological support

Critical in this context is the primary care of sensitive skin. The general rule is that wet skin rashes should be treated wet, for example, with compresses or gels, and dry eczema should be treated dry or dried out.

It is also essential to ensure regular exercise and a healthy diet. The treatment of cradle caps is always individually adapted to the child.

Treat head gneiss

No therapy is usually necessary if it is proven to be head gneiss and not cradle cap. If you find the scales annoying and want to remove them, you should never scrape them off, even if you have head gneiss. Instead, we recommend using oily gel or well-tolerated vegetable oils such as olive or calendula oil for babies. This allows the scales to be carefully removed.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *