Cradle cap?! 4013509031/ 4013509031/

Oh my!  Many parents bring in their babies with a thick, scaly crust on their head.  This is usually cradle cap.  The fancy (medical) name for this is seborrheic dermatitis.    The scaling, redness, and itching occurs most often on the scalp and face (often in the eyebrows).  On infants, cradle cap often resolves spontaneously, without treatment.  Cradle cap peaks at 2 and at 12 months of age.  It also may occur in adolescence and early adulthood.

Treatment of infantile seborrheic dermatitis is primarily rubbing emollients that help loosen scales.  Good examples of emollients are mineral oil, olive oil or petroleum jelly.  The scales can then be removed by rubbing with a cloth or an infant hair brush.  Ketoconazole is an antifungal cream that can also be used and is thought to be safe.  The FDA has not approved any medicated shampoos for children younger than two years.

If you get this as an adolescent or an adult,  over-the-counter shampoos and topical antifungals (like ketoconazole) are helpful.  It is more common in men and is typically more severe in cold and dry climates and during periods of increased stress.  Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition and so ongoing maintenance therapy is often necessary.

There are lots of other skin conditions that can be flaky on the scalp so if the above treatment does not work, see your doctor.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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