Friday, January 22, 2016

Cradle cap/Nurse Kenlee's tips

Cradle cap is one of those things  that we get calls about on a regular basis. I was amazed to find that Nurse Judy had not yet tackled the issue in one her blogs.  I asked if I could give it a shot and she agreed, so here we go!
Cradle cap, also known as infantile or neonatal seborrhoeic dermatitis, crusta lactea, milk crust, or honeycomb disease is a yellowish, patchy, greasy, scaly and crusty skin rash that occurs on the scalp of recently born babies. The cause is unknown but most doctors believe it is hormonal and is related to an abnormal amount of oil in the hair follicles. It is common to see cradle cap on the scalp but can occur anywhere there is hair growth, such as eyebrows, eyelids and armpits. It usually occurs within the 1st few months of life and can continue until around 1 year old or until they get their hair.
 Pediatric dermatologist, Dr. Sorrell of Lucile Packard at Stanford advised to use plain mineral oil (found in constipation aisle) daily to area. Use a soft toothbrush or baby brush to gently brush away the scaly skin. If this does not work, try using a mild topical hydrocortisone cream 1% twice daily. Also, use a liberal amount of Vaseline to scalp to lock cream in. Yes, your child’s head and hair will look greasy but it will improve the cradle cap. If scalp is still resistant, talk to your doctor about adding an antifungal cream, stronger steroid or getting a dermatology referral.
Natural approaches that many people have luck with include massaging pure natural oil into the scalp such as coconut oil or olive oil and letting it soak for about 15 minutes per day prior to washing head. After shampoo, gently brush scalp with a soft bristle brush or cloth to remove loose, dead skin. Also, a baking soda rub overnight was reported to help a few patients. On occasion, for stubborn cases, Dr. Kaplan may suggest an OTC dandruff shampoo such as Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders.
Of course if at any point the dryness spreads beyond the scalp, the scalp becomes inflamed, painful or starts to bleed; you should notify us right away. Bottom line from Nurse Judy, if you child seems bothered from the condition in any way, check in with your doctor.
While working in the emergency room, cradle cap was not a common complaint but I did see it from time to time and knew that it was normal, harmless and no treatment was really required. Then along came my daughter who stayed bald until right before her 1 year photo shoot. As her hair grew, her head started to get flaky.  I initially thought I must have let my poor baby’s head get sunburn and it was peeling. After crying with mommy guilt to Dr. Hurd, she assured me, it was cradle cap and I started my home remedy of coconut oil massages. However, no one ever warned me that as the skin peeled off so would clumps of her new beautiful hair!
I swore that she must have had alopecia but she is now a 21 month old beauty with a full head of wonderful blonde hair.

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