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If your baby’s seborrheic dermatitis is limited to the scalp as cradle cap, you can treat it yourself. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Wash your baby’s scalp daily with mild baby shampoo.
  • Massage lathered hair gently with your fingers or a washcloth.
  • Softly brush your baby’s hair to help remove the scales. There are combs designed specifically for cradle cap, but a soft toothbrush also works. Do not pick at the scales with your fingernails or sharp tools as this may cause bleeding or lead to possible infection. (Alternative approach: Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly or mineral oil to help loosen the scales on your baby’s scalp. Leave on for several hours or overnight. Use a soft brush to remove the scales and wash your baby’s hair afterward.)
  • Over-the-counter cradle cap lotions are available. The lotion should be applied to your baby’s scalp at least 15 minutes before shampooing. Rinse it off well before shampooing.
  • After scales disappear, shampoo your baby’s hair two to three times a week to help prevent cradle cap from returning. Afterward, decrease shampoos to twice weekly.

Other treatments

Your pediatrician may also prescribe topical steroids, local antifungals, or anti-seborrheic shampoos if your baby’s condition persists.


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