What Is Cradle Cap?

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By christine
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Cradle Cap: What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment.' Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15786-cradle-cap-seborrheic-dermatitis-in-infants.
  • 2. 'Cradle Cap (Seborrheic Dermatitis) in Infants (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth.' Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Feb. 2019, kidshealth.org/en/parents/cradle-cap.html.
  • 3. 'Cradle Cap.' Seattle Children's Hospital, www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/cradle-cap/.
  • 4. 'Seborrheic Dermatitis (Cradle Cap).' Symptoms, Causes and Treatment, www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/cradle-cap.
  • 5. 'Seborrheic Dermatitis (Cradle Cap).' Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/seborrheic-dermatitis-cradle-cap.
  • 6. 'Cradle Cap.' Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cradle-cap/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350400.
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Cradle cap can give new parents a scare. This common skin condition typically occurs during a newborn’s first three months of age, affecting seven out of 10 babies. Cradle cap is harmless and often treatable with self-care solutions at home. Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, the term, cradle cap, is used when the rash affects the scalp.1‘Cradle Cap: What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment.’ Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15786-cradle-cap-seborrheic-dermatitis-in-infants.

Although it’s unpleasant to look at, cradle cap isn’t painful for your baby and shouldn’t cause them any discomfort, including itching. Most cases go away on their own without care, but some symptoms may require a physician’s visit.

1. Symptoms of Cradle Cap

Parents often notice cradle cap quickly. It develops on the infant’s head between the ages of two weeks and twelve months, but it’s most common from two weeks to six weeks. Cradle cap starts in patches and may cover the entire scalp. It’s red and scaly in appearance with crusty yellow patches. The rash may have greasy patches and can flake.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also appear in the skin folds as a bright red rash. Common areas include under the arms, behind the knees, in the elbow crease, and the neck and groin fold.2‘Cradle Cap (Seborrheic Dermatitis) in Infants (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth.’ Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Feb. 2019, kidshealth.org/en/parents/cradle-cap.html.

Cradle Cap

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