Cradle Cap/Seborrheic Dermatitis

Cradle Cap/Seborrheic Dermatitis

What is seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap)?

Also called cradle cap, seborrheic dermatitis in the infant is characterized by fine white scales. However, seborrheic dermatitis can also occur in the diaper area, face, neck, and trunk. Seborrheic dermatitis in this age group usually clears within the first year. This is a noninfectious skin condition that's very common in infants. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), seborrheic dermatitis is rarely uncomfortable or itchy.

What causes cradle cap?

The exact cause of this skin condition is not known. The AAP states that there is some belief that the overproduction of oil from the infant's oil glands may contribute to the scales and redness of the skin.

What does cradle cap look like?

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of cradle cap. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms include dry or greasy white to yellowish scales that form on oily areas of the scalp.

How is cradle cap diagnosed?

Cradle cap is usually diagnosed based on physical examination of your child. The rash involved with cradle cap is unique, and can usually be diagnosed simply on physical examination.

Treatment for cradle cap:

Specific treatment for cradle cap will be determined by your child's physician based on:

Although the condition responds to treatment, it may recur. Treatment is usually effective in helping symptoms and may include:

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pediatrics


Top of Page return to top of page