Seborrheic dermatitis or Dandruff is a common skin condition that mainly affects the scalp. It causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff. It affects oily parts of the body, such as the face, upper chest and back.Also known as cradle cap or dandruff, Seborrheic dermatitis can be uncomfortable and cause embarrassment. It is not contagious and it is not a sign of poor personal hygiene.Cradle cap can occur in any baby and it usually begins during the first three months of the baby’s life. It is an infection that mostly affects babies, especially their hairline. It causes loss of hair and a kind of discoloration.It is not common after the first year of life, until the child approaches adolescence when hormone levels rise. Teenagers often have a similar scalp condition called seborrhea.I had an encounter with a group of nursing mothers recently. They were mostly new mums waiting to immunise their babies at a primary health centre in Lagos. I listened to their conversation and was able to educate them in the end.
Mother A: My baby has a cradle cap. I have used all sorts of baby creams and baby lotions, but the rashes keep spreading to the body.
Mother B: what your baby has is not cradle cap, but ‘Eela.’ Stop using baby oil. It causes ‘Eela.’ If you can, use only shea butter or coconut oil. The rash will disappear at once. (Eela is a term used in Yorubaland for all kinds of eczema, including cradle caps)
Mother C: It is true. It is Eela. My baby once had it and we cured it with Agbo (herbs) .I bought a mixture from Elewe-Omo. I used it to bath my baby and also gave her to drink. It worked like magic. (The term, Elewe-omo, refers to women who sell herbs, medicinal leaves and roots in Lagos and other parts of the South-West)
Doctor: This rash is called cradle cap, baby dandruff or baby eczema. Beware of these herbs, medicinal leaves and roots. You never know the composition of the chemicals inside the Agbo. You need to be more careful because it is the baby that we are talking about her. Some of these chemicals are dangerous to the babies’ immature organs, such as the liver, spleen and kidney.
Mother D: That rash can be quite stubborn to treat in the hospital. You need to treat it from inside. There is a particular leaf that is boiled for drinking and used in bathing the baby. It is red in colour. Ask nursing or elderly mothers to describe it to you. I got mine from a neighbour’s compound.
Doctor: Cradle cap is treatable medically. It takes months to clear off in some infants. Such babies should be brought to the hospital to see a doctor.
Above all, our babies are God-given treasures. They are not to be used as Guinea pigs ( for experimental purpose). Let us seek expert opinions concerning them.
Seborrheic dermatitis or Dandruff is a common skin condition that mainly affects the scalp. It causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff. It affects oily parts of the body, such as the face, upper chest and back.
Also known as cradle cap or dandruff, Seborrheic dermatitis can be uncomfortable and cause embarrassment. It is not contagious and it is not a sign of poor personal hygiene.
Cradle cap can occur in any baby and it usually begins during the first three months of the baby’s life. It is an infection that mostly affects babies, especially their hairline. It causes loss of hair and a kind of discoloration.
It is not common after the first year of life, until the child approaches adolescence when hormone levels rise. Teenagers often have a similar scalp condition called seborrhea.
The causes of seborrheic dermatitis (Dandruff) remains unknown, although many factors, including hormonal, have been implicated
The exact cause of cradle cap isn’t known, although some researchers believe it can be caused by an overproduction of skin oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles.
Evidence of hormonal influence is provided by research. A type of yeast (fungus) called malassezia can grow in the sebum along with bacteria, and this may be another factor in the development of cradle cap.
Sometimes it is hereditary. Seborrhea often runs in families, meaning the conditions that lead to cradle cap can be passed from mother to baby before birth.
Certain factors, such as extreme weather, oily skin, infrequent skin cleaning, lotions that contain alcohol, obesity and other skin disorders can increase a child’s risk of developing cradle cap.
In most children, cradle cap disappears between eight and 12 months and often long before that.
Symptoms include skin flakes (dandruff) on the scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache. Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales or crust on the scalp, ears, face, chest, armpits, scrotum or other parts of the body.
Red skin, Redness or crusting of the eyelids (blepharitis) itching. Other common sites are the forehead, nose, the external ear canals, behind the ears, arm pits, navel, groin, scrotum thigh and buttocks.
Newborn and Infants: You don’t really need to do anything, but if it bothers you, try shampooing more frequently and gently brushing your baby’s scalp with a soft brush.
For stubborn cases, some parents find an oil remedy helpful. The oil helps to loosen dry flakes. Rub just a small amount of a pure, natural oil, such as olive oil, on your baby’s scalp and leave it on for about 15 minutes.
Then gently comb out the flakes with a fine-toothed comb or brush them out with a soft brush.
Older children and adults: Application of selenium sulfide, pyrithione zinc or antifungal containing shampoos, topical antifungal cream or solution, and topical corticosteroids.
In Conclusion, talk with your baby’s doctor, if the cradle cap is severe or if it spreads beyond the scalp.