Seborrhoeic Dermatitis (Cradle Cap)

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

It is also known as a cradle cap. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is bad dandruff caused in babies. It is a skin inflammation that mainly affects the scalp and face. On other areas of the skin, it sometimes causes a rash.
The exact cause is not known. More oil called sebum from sebaceous glands is produced in babies with seborrhoeic dermatitis in their skin, and there could be involvement from Malassezia species like yeast germs. This condition is not contagious. It is just a normal skin infection.
A mild form of seborrhoeic dermatitis is seen in many babies within the first six months of their life and goes off on its own when they grow up. It is not commonly seen in young children. They may have a similar condition called bad dandruff and rash.

Symptoms Of Cradle Cap

Symptoms of seborrhoeic dermatitis include:

Cradle cap:

A cradle cap is seen on the scalp like greasy, yellow scaly patches. The cradle cap does not cause any discomfort or problem to the baby. It is not itchy. Sometimes, the whole scalp is covered by a thick, scaly layer, and it may become flaky and rub off over time. Most commonly, it develops in the first six months of life and lasts for a few weeks or months, and goes away.


Along with the cradle cap, some of the babies may have a rash which is mild red on the eyebrows, around the neck, on the skin next to the nose, in the armpits, or behind the ears. In the groin creases, it can cause some kind of nappy rash as well.


The cradle cap does not cause any discomfort to the baby. It does not need any treatment as it is a mild skin infection that will clear off on its own.
As it appears on the scalp, appearance can be improved. To loosen scales, daily washing the scalp with shampoo and then gently brushing with a soft brush is recommended. Scales can be softened first with baby oil and then gentle brushing followed by washing with shampoo. If this does not work, rubbing with olive oil, vegetable oil, or white petroleum jelly to soften the scales could be helpful. For this to work, leave it overnight and wash it off with baby shampoo the next morning. A greasy, moisturizing lotion-like emulsifying ointment could be another option. Regular washing helps over other affected areas. Emollient cream is to be used instead of soap on the affected skin. The Paediatrician may sometimes advise antifungal cream, which is medicated like clotrimazole, miconazole, or econazole to clear the rash. If the inflammation is severe, a mild steroid cream may be prescribed by the Paediatrician.


Seborrhoeic dermatitis, known as cradle cap, is a mild skin infection with bad dandruff caused in babies. Treatment is not usually needed. It occurs mostly in the first six months of life in babies and clears off on its own.

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