Cradle cap usually doesn't require medical treatment. It clears up on its own within a few months. In the meantime, wash your baby's hair once a day with mild baby shampoo and brush the scalp lightly with a soft brush to loosen the scale.
If frequent shampooing doesn't help, consult your baby's doctor. He or she may recommend an adult dandruff shampoo, such as one containing 2 percent antifungal ketoconazole medication. Be sure the shampoo doesn't get in your baby's eyes, as it may cause irritation. Hydrocortisone cream is sometimes helpful to reduce redness and inflammation.
Don't use over-the-counter cortisone or antifungal creams without talking to your baby's doctor, because some of these products can be toxic when absorbed through a baby's skin. Dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid aren't recommended for use in babies either, because they can be absorbed through the skin.
Nov. 12, 2015
- AskMayoExpert. Seborrheic dermatitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Sasseville D. Cradle cap and seborrheic dermatitis in infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 15, 2015.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Caring for Your Newborn. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.