What causes cradle cap?


Quick Answer

According to Mayo Clinic, the direct cause of cradle cap is unknown; however, it is suggested that the yeast malassezia or hormones passed from mother to child during gestation are contributing factors. KidsHealth describes cradle cap as infant dandruff and lists other contributing factors, such as extremes in weather, certain skin and immune system conditions, or oily skin.

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Full Answer

KidsHealth assures that cradle cap is a non-serious, non-contagious condition. Though cradle cap can cause itchy and red skin, or in severe cases oozing, cracked skin, the majority of the time, children are not bothered by the condition. Cradle cap usually goes away on its own although doctors can prescribe medical shampoos and lotions to aid in the process.

Mayo Clinic agrees that cradle cap usually disappears within a few months without medical intervention. Washing the scalp daily using a mild non-medicated shampoo is suggested as a means to loosen the cradle cap and assist in getting rid of the symptoms more quickly. Cradle cap can also appear on other parts of the baby, such as ears, nose, groin area and eyelids. It is characterized by patches of flaking or crusted skin or oily white or yellow scales. The presence of itching is usually a distinguishing factor between cradle cap and eczema.

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