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What You Should Know

Baby’s scalp has its own unique set of challenges and can require loving care. Cradle cap, dandruff (also known as dry scalp), and scalp psoriasis are all common in babies and young children. These skin issues should be diagnosed by a pediatrician or dermatologist.

Tips for Taking Care of Baby’s Scalp1

  • Use a mild, fragrance-free baby shampoo formulated with ceramides to not disrupt baby’s protective skin barrier as it develops.
  • Look for a soap-free shampoo that is gentle on skin and hair.2
  • Don’t over wash.3
  • Rinse thoroughly; shampoo buildup can lead to dandruff.
  • Brush hair with a soft-bristle brush.

Three Common Skin Conditions Babies Can Develop on Their Scalp

Cradle Cap

More than 50 percent of infants under one year experience this skin condition.4 It often appears a few weeks after birth and is most common at three months of age.5 About seven percent of babies will continue to have symptoms past their first year of life.6

Unlike eczema or psoriasis, cradle cap is not known to be itchy or uncomfortable. While the exact cause is unknown, it's not known to be caused by poor hygiene.7

What to do if you think your baby has cradle cap? First, consult with your pediatrician or dermatologist to diagnose whether or not your baby does indeed have cradle cap. If your baby is diagnosed with cradle cap, be mindful if any of the products you are using on baby are formulated with fragrances, which are a common cause of skin irritation.8 Look for words such as “fragrance free” on your baby’s products.9

Dry scalp or dandruff

Babies can get dandruff, too. One tip is to rinse hair thoroughly after washing, as residual shampoo can contribute to baby dandruff forming.10 Wash your baby’s hair two to three times per week with a gentle baby shampoo and brush with a soft baby brush. A humidifier can also help, particularly in the dry winter months.

Scalp Psoriasis

Though most common in adults, this chronic skin condition can occur in newborns, too. Infant psoriasis may be itchy, particularly on the scalp. Talk to your pediatrician or dermatologist, who may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter product to help.11

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