How to keep this infant affliction under control.
No one is really sure of the cause of cradle cap but one theory is that Mum's hormones passing to baby causes over-active oil glands - the same thing that causes baby acne. It tends to show up when the infant is around three months old and in most cases it's harmless and will not cause your baby any irritation.
However, the scaly, flaky, greasy patches do not look pretty and many a mum has resorted to a bit of olive oil and a credit card to scrape it off. To these mums OHbaby! sleep expert and baby whisperer Dorothy Waide says, "Stop!" Do not pick the flaky bits off as it could result in infection and a weeping scalp.
Dorothy has her own remedy for moderately severe cases of cradle cap, as follows: "Use Vaseline quite thickly and massage well into the scalp.
"Leave for a while and then start gentle massaging and the flakes will start lifting. Massage or brush the hair with a soft brush in circular motions.
"Reapply Vaseline throughout the day and repeat the above."
She also recommends washing baby's hair every night using Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns and lightly scrubbing the scalp, especially the fontanelle area.
"After drying their hair I brush the scalp in all directions to lift the cradle cap and also I do a lot of circular brushing."
OHbaby! natural health expert Natasha Berman suggests another method: make a paste using half a teaspoon of baking soda and water and massage this on the affected area and leave on for at least five minutes while bathing. Wash out with water and gently use a soft baby brush to rid the area of any loose flakes. Then apply oil. You could also try one to two drops of Holistic Hair Therapy For Irritated Scalp mixed with 50ml of olive oil.
Holistic Hair Therapy For Irritated Scalp, $26.85, www.holistichair.co.nz
Mustela Stelaker Cradle Cap Cream, RRP$24.99 from baby stores and pharmacies
Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns, RRP$19.99 from baby stores and pharmacies
Johnson's Baby Oil, RRP$4.99 from supermarkets