Cradle cap in babies is a form of dermatological ailment that appears in the form of greasy, oily and scaly rash on the scalp of the child. It generally manifests in the form of patches that develop around the third month of the child’s birth. The ailment is similar to dandruff and not contagious as it does not spread. It is essential to know that it is not caused due to the way baby is tended or cared for.The babies are unable to communicate by talking, the visible symptoms are thought to be the result of illness. These are assessed by the doctor on the basis of the behaviour of the child during its manifestation.
In some cases, it might even spread to the areas behind the ears and other parts of the body such as face, armpits, genitals etc. In such conditions a different name is ascribed to the rash and is called Seborrhoeic eczema. This condition may lead to hair loss in infant in the future.The causes or reasons for cradle cap in babies are still a disputed topic. However, certain speculations have been made by the doctors across the world to explain the manifestation of this dermatological disorder.
The main reasons for cradle cap in babies may be unidentified but, it has been proven for sure that it is not due to bad hygiene, allergy or a bacterial or viral infection.In fact, speculations are made that it may be caused due to a fungal infection. Another equally relevant theory is that it is caused due the over activity of the sebaceous gland that are responsible for producing oil like substance in the skin of the babies.This oil like substance is also known as sebum. An over production of sebum adds oil to the old and dead skin on the skin, in turn, preventing it from shedding as it should in babies.
The main reason attributed to the over production of sebum is the remnant of the mother’s hormones in the baby’s body after birth that may take some time to wear off.However, the fungal infection theory is equally satisfactory as the reasons for cradle cap in babies could be due to the use of antibiotics by the mother before the birth and are continued up till a week after birth. The antibiotics are an excellent remedy for fighting off bad bacteria.But, in the process they also damage the good ones that prevent fungal infections, in turn making the baby susceptible to fungal infections and diseases.
The latest speculation about the causes of cradle cap in babies is that it is a condition that is often seen in people with underlying conditions like eczema or asthma. However, the theory is yet to be proved.Although, there is no treatment for the illness, it is always advisable to consult a paediatrician before using any ointment to treat it. On a daily basis, use mild baby products for the child to avoid further aggravation of the problem and use a gentle baby comb or brush on the baby’s scalp.