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Home > Infant Corner: Cradle Cap
Infant Corner: Cradle Cap
by Dave Foreman
Believe it or not, I have flashbacks to having this condition as a child. I had this for years (behind my ears and on my eyelids) as a child. Cradle Cap is often thought of as an infant issue, but believe it or not, even adults can have problems. Modern medicine calls this condition seborrheic dermatitis (remember any word in medicine with "itis" at the end means inflammation). Cradle cap is a form of this condition found in children up to the age of 6-12 months. It is NOT a contagious condition and usually doesn't cause discomfort. There are usually patches of dry, flaky skin on the scalp and sometimes behind the ears. In more severe cases, there can be mild itching, oozing, burning and greasy looking scales. Occasionally (mostly in adults) there may be problems on the eyelids, eyebrows, ears, forehead, groin and chest.
In most cases, my approach to this condition is diet related. Removing certain food groups like gluten (wheat, barley and rye), eggs, soy and dairy may be required to eliminate the condition completely. Food sensitivities are very common in infants due to their underdeveloped digestive system. Trying an elimination diet (avoiding a certain group of foods mentioned above) can be the easiest way to determine the culprit. You can learn more about the elimination diet on vitaminshoppe.com. If you are nursing your baby, it may be necessary for you to try the same diet changes as well.
Other than diet changes, using certain topical products can provide relief until you determine the underlying cause. Applying aloe (pure - not the watered down stuff. Read your labels.), calendula and even borage oil can provide you with fast effective relief. Of these, borage oil is my favorite. This essential fatty acid can be applied (very small amount) to the affected area and massaged in. Borage oil not only provides a soothing effect, but has mild anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Whichever you choose, make sure that you rub it in well and maybe even cover it up to keep your baby from getting it into his or her eyes.