Cradle Cap: It's Not Just for Newborns!

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baby hair
Flickr photo by surlygirl
I took my baby for a haircut last week -- his fourth one! He's got wild wavy hair and it grows like a weed.

As the stylist was combing his hair forward, I saw it: Flaky, dry, scaly patches of skin on the top of his head. It was cradle cap!

Now I know cradle cap is not serious, and he had it when he was a couple of months old, but why did it come back?

Cradle cap can occur in any baby, and most commonly begins sometime in the first three months and usually disappears within the first year of life.

Except when it doesn't. My baby is over 12 months old. Why did his cradle cap suddenly reappear? Was I washing his hair too often? Not enough? Using the wrong shampoo? Was he allergic to something? Every mother's greatest fear took over: Was I doing something wrong?

A little research confirmed there was no real cause for concern. Everyone makes new skin cells at about the rate that we lose old, dry skin cells. But for some babies, the skin cells on their scalp grow faster than they can fall off, leaving a layer of crusty extra skin behind. It may look gross, but it's harmless.

The sebaceous glands in Rowan's skin just are more active than normal right now. For now, I'm following the home remedies I've tried before. I'm rubbing a little baby oil on his head before bathtime and gently brushing the scales away after a few minutes. It seems to actually relax him, so I don't mind if we need to do it for awhile.

What have you tried to help your baby's cradle cap?


cradle cap