Dry Scalp on Baby Causes, Symptoms, Cradle Cap, Treatments, Best Shampoos, Remedies...

Dry Scalp on Baby Causes, Symptoms, Cradle Cap, Treatments, Best Shampoos, Remedies and Prevention

What causes baby dry scalp and how can it be treated? How can I tell between dry baby scalp and baby cradle cap or what is medically term seborrheic dermatitis? Well, dry scalp isn’t entirely an adult problem, even little heads of hair can be bothered too. Young people with dry scalp will predictably struggle with itching and flaking. Fortunately, infant dry scalp is curable. In this article, we are going to learn about the causes of baby dry scalp, dry baby scalp and cradle cap meaning, symptoms, treatments and preventions of dry scalp on babies.

Is it dry scalp or baby cradle cap?

It is a widespread misapprehension that dry scalp and cradle cap mean the same thing. They don’t. So to clarify on the question whether it is dry scalp or cradle cap, we want to make it clear that dry scalp is condition of the scalp skin being dry (as the name suggest) whereas cradle cap baby  presents when the scalp become oily. Now, you see the two may be connected but doesn`t mean the same thing?

More on baby cradle cap, it usually show up during the baby`s first two months of birth and clears up after the first year. It is also nicknamed seborrheic dermatitis. What causes cradle cap is not clear but providentially, there are many remedies for cradle cap that can successfully help control it. These may include cradle cap cream, baby shampoo for cradle cap, baby oil and certain lotions. All the same, you may see your doctor over the same.

Infant dry scalp on the other hand, may have many roots. They may involve conditions or factors that wash away the natural oils on the scalp skin. Read on to explore more on the dry baby scalp causes, treatments as well as prevention tips.

Causes of dry baby scalp

Get yourself familiarized with these common causes for dry scalp on baby:

Baby eczema

Baby eczema can cause the dry scalp on babies. According to Webmd.com, baby eczema “shows up as patches of red or dry skin. The skin is almost always itchy and rough, too.” Causes of baby eczema may include genetics or problem with skin protection that allow the moisture and the germs in. Actually, eczema occur when the body make too few fatty cells called ceramides.

Baby eczema usually disappears of its own especially before the child start going to school. In rare cases, some babies will develop eczema to adulthood. Factors that can worsen baby eczema include, irritants, allergens, heat and sweat and stress. Baby dandruff can also be linked to eczema. In cases of chronic toddler eczema, then you can apply some natural home remedies or visit your dermatologist for further medication.

Psoriasis in babies

Psoriasis is a skin condition caused when the skin cells are growing too quickly, building up and shedding faster than they should, says Babycentre.co.uk. This condition is characterized by raised, red patches covered silvery scales on the affected skin, be it the skin on scalp or anywhere else. The skin on the scalp may be dry and flaky.

Clear cause of psoriasis in not know defined but, it is linked with our body immune system and genetics. Again differentiating between psoriasis and eczema is also very difficult. Baby psoriasis is not usually common in children but can occur and lead to severe dry scalp. It may also cause other dreadful symptoms alongside infant dry scalp.

Baby ichthyosis

This is a family disorder characterized by dry or scaly and thickened skin. It is called so because the thickened skin usually has the appearance of the fish scales. It is inherited and usually present during the first year of life, more common at birth. Firstskinfoundation.org reports that, “A recent study has determined that approximately 300 babies are born each year with a moderate to severe form of ichthyosis.”

That being said, we want to put it clear that ichthyosis affects people of all ages, races and both genders. Dry scalp as well as scalp scales can be a common problem with individuals suffering from ichthyosis.

Currently, there is no cure for ichthyosis but there are team of enthusiastic researchers and physicians developing appropriate ways to help manage this condition.

Bathing baby too often

Usually, babies are every so often playful so, things like food, dirt, and other materials may end up on their hair and can necessitate frequent washing of the scalp. This can sweep away the scalp`s natural oils leaving it extremely dry. Dry scalp due to over washing of the baby scalp may lead to more revolting complications such as greasy hair and scalp. Avoid bathing baby too often and make sure you apply appropriate moisturizers on your baby scalp after moisturizing

Allergic reaction in babies

Dry scalp can also be a symptom of allergic reactions in babies. Your baby may be allergic to certain foods, medicines, pollen and insect bites and more. Many allergic reactions are mild but there are those that can lead to severe symptoms such as extremely dry scalp, runny nose, ear problems and more. The best treatment for allergies is the application of the antihistamines, but before running to drugs stores to purchase the antihistamine treatments, define the substances your baby is allergic to and avoiding them in the first place.

Harsh weather conditions

When the temperatures drops, the humidity level drops too, this is common with winter weather. It should be noted that cold, dry outdoor hair rob the skin its natural oil. Summer weathers are also not safe for your baby delicate scalp skin. This is because the summer sunburn, air conditioning and salt water can also be drying.

Sunburn on scalp

Though many people love the warmth from the sunlight, too much exposure to the sun can damage the skin. Drugs.com advises that, “Sun-exposed skin can gradually lose moisture and essential oils, making it appear dry, flaky and prematurely wrinkled, even in younger people.” Therefore it is your responsibility to make sure your baby`s scalp skin is protected from sunburn to avoid dryness.

Steamy showers

Remember your baby`s skin is very delicate and also hypersensitive and thus steamy showers can be a troublemaker upon the baby skin. Steamy showers are even a threat to adults’ skin too, they usually strip off oils from the skin than warm water. Try to skip long hot showers that can also actually result to your infant dry scalp.

Remember, it is worth to moisturize your baby skin or scalp after bathing while the scalp skin is still wet. This should be done about 5 minutes of washing to lock the moisture content in.

Moisture-robbing soaps

On the same note, there are also cleansers and harsh soaps that can rob the skin moistures content leaving it extremely dry. Such cleansers and soap should not be used to bathe you baby. They may deprive the skin oil on the entire body including the scalp and therefore instead of harsh cleansers, go for fragrance-free, soap-free or mild soaps

Apart from the above discussed causes, dry scalp toddler may also be due to harsh clothes, harsh brushing or combing, poor diet, yeast infection, hereditary factors or more veiled medical conditions not forgetting factors inferring with the baby body immune system. We therefore have no option but to advise you to see your child`s medical service provider if the baby scalp dryness cause is not clear to you. Remember, you have to know the cause of toddler dry scalp to determine the best treatment.

Symptoms of dry scalp baby

Symptoms of dry scalp skin on babies will vary depending on the primary causes. Some can be mild while others may be very unsympathetic. You also have to know that, dry scalp toddler may be due to something specifically happening on the skin or certain medical conditions that affect the whole body and this can result to dry skin all over the body. Some of the common symptoms that may occur alongside dry scalp on a baby include:

  • Itching that may trigger scratching
  • Rough dry skin
  • Red plagues
  • Scaly and peeling skin on the scalp
  • The baby may also cry a lot especially those that don’t speak yet

Itchy sensation may aggravate the severity of baby dry scalp, it may result to the damage of scalp skin leading to more outrageous symptoms, i.e. when it triggers painful sores or some irritating lesions on the scalp. The symptoms of dry scalp on baby should be treated as soon as they are discovered to prevent them from developing to their extremity.

Baby dry scalp treatment

Before we jump into the ladder of treating baby dry scalp, there are several factors we have to consider. Well, we have to answer these questions; which conditions are treated at home? Which conditions need medical treatment? And how can you prevent dry scalp on baby from occurring or reoccurring? The causes, severity of the symptoms and medical history of the baby must be considered too.


Certain over the counter products i.e. hydrocortisone creams and ointments may help control itchiness and inflammation that may be triggered by dry scalp skin. Antihistamines and antibiotics may be effective especially for baby psoriasis and eczema. In cases of severe symptoms of psoriasis light therapy may be applicable. Our piece of advice is therefore to schedule appointment with your dermatologist or doctor when you suggest your baby dry scalp may be due to medical conditions such eczema, psoriasis and ichthyosis among other. In short, see your doctor if the baby dry scalp symptoms can`t accomplished at home or cannot respond to over the counter products. Always, check on the instructions in case you want to apply these medications and don’t use them for too long, or they lead to vile side effects.

Another good remedy for baby dry scalp is the medicated and shampoos designed for baby dry scalp, let`s see:

Best baby shampoo for dry scalp

There are wonderful shampoos in the market that can relief the dry skin on your baby scalp, but did you know even those shampoos labelled mild can too lead to dry scalp? Yes, some of the baby shampoo for dry scalp can as well contain the harsh chemical that can lead to dry baby scalp. Healthy Child Healthy World advises that, sodium laureth sulfate found in many shampoos can be irritating to a child’s skin. It is not meant for prolonged use. Again, adult shampoos should not be used for baby`s dry scalp, they irritate and inflame the baby`s skin.

So, what is the best shampoo for dry scalp on baby? You should look for a pH balanced shampoo without any content of sodium laureth Sulphate or sodium lauryl Sulphate. Rinsing with such shampoos to loosen dry scalp skin could be what is needed to relieve your toddler dandruff or generally dry skin. Consult your child`s physician if you suspect you child’s dry scalp is due to eczema, psoriasis, head lice, allergy or ringworm and is not responding to baby shampoo for dry scalp. Also see the doctor if the condition persists or aggravates.

Dry Scalp on baby home treatment and preventions

Give your baby`s dry scalp some home treatments as the first medical procedure. This forms the first step of treating baby dry scalp. Below are the recommended home treatments for dry scalp on baby.

  • Apply Moisturizers: Moisturizers for baby dry scalp are available over the counter but some are also prescribed. Go for those with ceramides, they are the best option so far. All the same, perfect moisturizer, fragrance-free or ointments when applied daily can help your baby scalp skin to retrieve its moisture. This should be done immediately after each bath.
  • Use mild, unscented body and laundry soaps: Remember to choose good cleansers for your baby skin. Perfumed, deodorant, and anti-bacterial soaps can be very cruel on your baby delicate skin, they can strip the skin of its natural moisture.
  • Protect the Baby scalp: Make sure the baby scalp is protected from sunburn. You should also avoid all sorts of allergens and irritant from coming into contact with the baby scalp skin. Also make sure your baby wear loose-fitting headwear to avoid irritation
  • Wash with lukewarm water: lukewarm water usually hydrates and cools the skin. It also relieves itching. In addition, make sure the bath is short actually not more than 10 minutes. For even more effective result, make sure you add oatmeal on the baby`s bath tub. Remember hot baths causes the baby skin to lose its natural oil and become very dry. Always make sure your baby scalp is clean and wash his/her clothes regularly.
  • Natural Home remedies: There are also natural products that can help moisturize, hydrate, supple and prevent baby dry skin. These products are readily available at our home or kitchens. They include breast milk, avocado aloe Vera, Oatmeal, coconut oil, oatmeal among others. Remember some of these natural products such as lemon juice or baking soda can be too harsh for your baby dry scalp skin, so be careful before you apply them.

What to do about dry scalp

First thing, try to prevent your baby from scratching his/her skin since this can lead to infection and influence the skin to become thicker and leathery. To enhance this, make sure you trim his/her nails or make it hard for them to scratch by using scratch mittens.

You can then try some over the counter products or home treatments, but if the condition still persists, see the doctor for advanced treatment.

Our References
  1. What Causes Dry and Itchy Scalp: http://natural-alternative-therapies.com/homemade-dry-itchy-scalp-remedies/
  2. Is It Cradle Cap or Dry Scalp: https://www.dryscalpgone.com/cradle-cap-dry-scalp/
  3. How to Treat Dry Scalp in Babies: http://www.livestrong.com/article/15761-treat-dry-scalp-babies/
  4. Simple Tips to Keep Baby’s Skin Healthy: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/ss/slideshow-baby-skin-care
  5. Baby Dry Skin Remedies: http://www.remedies-for-skin.com/baby-dry-skin.html
  6. Home Remedies for Dry Skin In children: https://www.mylittlemoppet.com/5-amazing-home-remedies-for-dry-skin-children/
  7. Cradle cap (infantile seborrheic dermatitis): https://www.babycenter.com/0_cradle-cap-infantile-seborrheic-dermatitis_80.bc


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