Cradle cap symptoms

You may suspect that your baby has cradle cap but what are the signs of this skin rash?

Cradle cap is a distinctive form of skin rash which appears as follows:

  • Starts with red patches on the scalp
  • These bind together to form a cluster of thick white, yellow or brown scabs.
  • Scabs are greasy or crusty at the edges
  • These clusters are dry and flaky
  • The rash may spread to other parts of the body. These are likely to be areas which are moist and contain plenty of sebaceous glands. Examples of these include the ears, eyebrows, eyelids, the armpits and groin.
  • Hair may be lost from the scalp when the scabs fall off. This can happen if these scabs are picked at or rubbed so stop your child from doing so.

If the rash spreads from the scalp to other parts of the body then this is likely to be seborrhoeic dermatitis. Some babies develop cradle cap only whereas others develop both cradle cap and seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Other illnesses which have similar symptoms to cradle cap include scabies, eczema and fungal infections.

Note: cradle cap can be a sign of an immune system disorder. If your baby is not thriving as he/she should and displays other symptoms such as diarrhoea then visit your GP. These can be signs of an underlying problem.

It is the case that babies who have cradle cap may be a greater risk of developing eczema when older but this is easy to treat.

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