Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is common among newborns, but the symptoms typically disappear within a few months. See more pictures of skin problems.
© Rzymanek

There are so many things to worry about as a parent with a baby in the house -- the foods your baby eats, the toys he plays with, the daycare center you use. So if you see scaly, flaky patches on your baby's scalp, you might stress out.

Your baby is most likely suffering from nothing more than a bad case of cradle cap, or infantile sebborheic dermatitis. If a child has cradle cap, thick crusting and white or yellow scales may appear on his or her head. And although it may look pretty gross, cradle cap isn't actually harmful to your baby. It's a relatively common condition among newborns. No one knows for sure what causes it, but scientists think that genetics, bacteria that live on the human skin, stress, environment and general health may have a hand in causing the scaly disorder. Fortunately, cradle cap usually goes away fairly quickly.

The goods news is that parents can easily treat and manage cradle cap. Gentle and frequent washings can help loosen and remove the scales, improving your baby's condition. If home remedies don't seem to work, a dermatologist or pediatrician can recommend other solutions, like antifungal medication or corticosteroids.

Life with a baby is far from easy, but cradle cap doesn't have to be another source of distress. It may not look particularly cute, but cradle cap is a small hurdle when it comes to raising a healthy and happy baby. Want to learn where cradle cap can occur besides the head? Read on.