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Head gneiss or cradle cap - how to recognize both & what you can do about it

The terms head gneiss and cradle cap are often used synonymously and are easily confused. Both skin diseases are characterized by dandruff on the scalp, appear in infancy and even look similar at first glance. Nevertheless, it is important to make the right diagnosis! Because while one disease is harmless and usually grows together, the other can be a harbinger of neurodermatitis and become more severe. In this article, doctor & founder Michaela explains: What is the difference between head gneiss and cradle cap? And what can you do about dandruff in babies?

Yellowish scales stuck to the baby's scalp - more than half of all parents know immediately what it is about. Colloquially, this is often referred to as "cradle cap" spoken because the scales are reminiscent of burnt milk. In fact, this is almost always the case head gneiss It is not uncommon for parents to confuse the terms or use them interchangeably, even though they are two different skin diseases that are also treated differently. dr Michaela Hagemann, doctor and founder of the boep care series, explains.


head gneiss (also Infant seborrheic dermatitis ) is a subtype of seborrheic eczema and occurs in the first three months of life up after birth. It is believed that residual hormones from the mother cause the baby to produce excess sebum on the scalp. This is how greasy (= Seborrheic ), adherent yellow scales on the infant's hairy scalp. Often the forehead, the area around the eyes, the nose or the diaper area of ​​the baby are also affected. head gneiss is the more common but harmless skin condition and usually heals by itself after a few months without any consequences. Since it hardly causes itching, head gneiss is more of a cosmetic, optical problem that can be easily remedied with a few tricks. Only in rare cases can the scaling spread to the entire body and must then be treated in a targeted manner.

2. Cradle cap

At sheds, the strongly adherent, caked and with severe itching are connected, it is most likely to cradle cap . Cradle cap is a subtype of atopic eczema and thus belongs to a group of diseases that also includes neurodermatitis. The "real" cradle cap is often found on the forehead, the cheeks and the extensor sides of the legs and arms. The diaper region is typically unaffected. The name comes from the resemblance of the scales to burnt milk. In contrast to the head gneiss However, the scales are not greasy but rather dry and cause itching on the baby's affected skin. Scratching the affected areas often leads to inflammation of the skin, resulting in yellow, weeping scabs that can be very uncomfortable. Cradle cap often subsides after several months. But unlike with head gneiss, the following applies: Off to the pediatrician! Because here medical advice and special care for the skin and the annoying itching is required.

Almond oil helps with dandruff: simply spread the baby almond oil on the dandruff, let it soak in and gently remove it with a washcloth - but don't scratch it


Actually, you don't have to do anything, because the Dandruff will disappear by itself . However, if it bothers you visually, large areas are affected and even hair growth is impaired, you can remove the dandruff gently and carefully. However, you should pay attention to definitely not to scratch the spots and thus to spread possible germs on the scalp. We simply recommend you nourishing almond oil to distribute on your baby's head and let it soak in for a few hours . You can then carefully remove the dandruff by circling your head with a soft washcloth in gentle movements and then rinsing out the hair or gently combing it out with a soft comb against the direction of hair growth. You may have to repeat this after a few days. You will notice that the fine baby hairs grow much faster once the dandruff is gone.


As with all skin diseases, the severity can be very different. While some children only have isolated affected areas that are only slightly disturbing, other children are severely affected. In general, I recommend talking to a doctor about the need for therapy. The therapy ranges from dandruff-dissolving ointments and tinctures to creams containing cortisone and must be determined individually depending on the degree of severity.

Since cradle cap is an atopic eczema, your child may develop other atopic diseases such as neurodermatitis or hay fever. Maybe you are even affected by it in the family and already know it from you. As a rule, all of these diseases are easy to treat nowadays, some simply grow together by themselves and, apart from the fact that they can of course be very disruptive in the acute episodes, pose little or no risk of more serious diseases.


Generally you should Avoid overheating and sweating of your baby , because sweat can also irritate the skin. Airy, light clothing (adapted to the weather, of course) made of cotton reduces contact friction and thus the itching somewhat. You should also make sure that your baby does not injure itself on the skin by scratching. It's best to pull your baby at night wear thin mittens or overalls that cover the little hands holds. For care, I recommend moisturizing creams that can relieve skin irritation. Many of our customers feel that the Baby cream for basic care works well, a Regular bathing with our bath oil also ensures lasting skin care .


head gneiss cradle cap
skin disease seborrheic eczema atopic eczema
shed greasy, sticky, bleached rather dry, adherent, yellowish
itching hardly any itching severe itching
Appear in the first 3 months of life typically after the first 3 months of life
localization hairy scalp, forehead, nose, diaper region hairy scalp, forehead, cheeks, extensor sides of the extremities
redness barely flushed very red
healing after a few months without consequences after a few months, however, course may recur
removal of
unnecessary; gently and carefully with baby oil possible (without scratching) gently and carefully without scratching, if necessary therapy in consultation with the doctor

I hope that this information will help you to recognize cradle cap and cranial gneiss more easily - and to decide what to do in each case.

Best regards,

dr Michaela Hagemann

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Bei das boep habe ich endlich keine Angst mehr etwas falsch zu machen, die zarte Haut meiner Tochter verträgt die Produkte ganz wunderbar. Außerdem wird der natürliche Babygeruch, den wir so lieben, unterstrichen und nicht wegparfümiert. So soll es sein.

Alina Merkau, Moderatorin


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