Though the exact cause of cradle cap isn't known, one contributing factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones can cause an abnormal production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles.
Another factor may be a yeast (fungus) called malassezia (mal-uh-SEE-zhuh) that grows in the sebum along with bacteria. Antifungal treatments, such as ketoconazole, are often effective, supporting the idea that yeast is a contributing factor.
Nov. 13, 2012
- Sasseville D. Cradle cap and seborrheic dermatitis in infants. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 21, 2012.
- South-Paul JE, et al.. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Family Medicine. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=52. Accessed Sept. 21, 2012.
- Sheffield RC, et al. Clinical inquiries. What's the best treatment for cradle cap? Journal of Family Practice. 2007;56:232.
- O'Connor N, et al. Newborn skin: Part I. Common rashes. American Family Physician 2008;77:4.