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

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

Yellowish dandruff on the baby's scalp - more than half of all parents know immediately what it is about. In colloquial language, this is often referred to as “Cradle cap” because the scales resemble burnt milk. In fact, however, they are almost always Cradle gneiss . Parents often confuse the terms or use them synonymously, although they are These are two different skin diseases that are treated differently. Dr. med. Michaela Hagemann, doctor and founder of the boep skin care range, explains.

Head gneiss

Head gneiss (also Infant seborrhoeic dermatitis is a subtype of seborrhoeic eczema and occurs in the first three months of life after birth. It is believed that residual hormones from the mother cause the baby to produce excessive amounts of sebum on the scalp. This creates greasy (= seborrhoeic ), firmly adhering, yellow scales on the hairy scalp of the infant. Often the forehead, the eye area, the nose or the diaper area of ​​the baby are also affected. Cradle cap is the more common but less serious skin disease and usually heals itself after a few months without any consequences. Since it hardly causes any itching, cradle cap 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 then needs to be treated specifically.

Cradle cap

For dandruff, strongly adhesive, caked and with strong itching are most likely connected to Cradle cap . Cradle cap is a subtype of atopic eczema and belongs to a group of diseases that also includes neurodermatitis. The “real” cradle cap is often found on the forehead, cheeks and the extensor sides of the legs and arms. The diaper region is typically not affected. The name comes from the resemblance of the scales to burnt milk. In contrast to cradle cap The scales are not greasy , but rather dry and cause itching on the affected areas of the baby's skin. Scratching the affected areas often leads to inflammation of the skin, causing yellow, weeping crusts that can be very unpleasant. Cradle cap often goes away after a few months. But unlike cradle cap, you should go to the pediatrician! This is because medical advice and special care for the skin and the annoying itching are required.

Almond oil helps with cradle cap dandruff: simply spread the baby almond oil on the dandruff, allow it to soak in and gently remove with a washcloth - but do not scratch

What can I do if my baby has cradle cap?

Actually, you don’t have to do anything, because the Dandruff will disappear on its own . 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 make sure that Do not scratch the areas under any circumstances and thus spread possible germs on the scalp. We recommend that you simply nourishing almond oil to spread on your baby's head and leave to absorb for a few hours . Then you can carefully remove the dandruff by gently rubbing a soft washcloth over the head and then rinsing the hair or gently combing it out with a soft comb against the direction of hair growth. You may need to repeat this after a few days. You will notice that the fine baby hair grows much faster once the dandruff is gone.

What can I do if my baby has cradle cap?

As with all skin diseases, the severity can vary greatly. While some children only have individual affected areas that are only slightly bothersome, other children are severely affected. In general, I recommend talking to a doctor about the need for treatment. Treatment ranges from dandruff-removing ointments and tinctures to cortisone-containing creams and must be determined individually depending on the severity.

Since cradle cap is a type of atopic eczema, your child may develop other atopic diseases over time, such as neurodermatitis or hay fever. Perhaps you even have a family history of this and are already familiar with it. As a rule, all of these diseases are easy to treat nowadays, sometimes simply heal on their own and, apart from the fact that they can of course be very bothersome during acute attacks, they pose little to no risk of more serious diseases.

What other tips can help my baby with sensitive, itchy skin?

In general, you should Avoid overheating and sweating of your baby , as sweat can irritate the skin even more. Airy, light clothing (adapted to the weather, of course) made of cotton reduces the contact friction and thus the itching somewhat. You should also make sure that your baby does not injure itself by scratching the skin. It is best to dress your baby At night, wear thin mittens or overalls that cover the hands For care, I recommend moisturizing creams that can relieve skin irritations. Many of our customers feel that the Baby cream for basic care works well, a Regular bathing with our bath oil also ensures long-lasting skin care .

The differences at a glance

Head gneiss Cradle cap
Skin disease seborrhoeic eczema atopic eczema
Dandruff greasy, sticky, yellowish 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 area hairy scalp, forehead, cheeks, extensor surfaces of extremities
Redness barely reddened very red
Healing after a few months without consequences after a few months, but the course can recur
Removal of
not necessary; 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 head gneiss more easily – and to decide what to do in each case. You can also click through our skin advice guide for babies - perhaps you will find helpful answers here!

If you have any further questions, please contact us!


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