Baby Hair: Four Conditions You Should Know About
As caring and responsible parents, we want to be as informed as possible when it comes to babies' hair. Baby hair disorders should not be an exception. We would do well to ensure that we are educated about common scalp and hair conditions that affect babies. This article will cover some common hair and scalp disorders, how to prevent them, common treatments, and more.
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1. Cradle cap
Cradle cap (a type of seborrheic dermatitis) is a common skin condition found in babies. There are hundreds of thousands of cases per year in the United States. The condition is characterized by red, scaly patches of skin on a baby’s scalp. The scales look like they might be painful, but affected babies are usually unbothered by this condition.
Causes of Cradle Cap
Experts have been unable to pinpoint an exact cause of cradle cap in baby hair, but some believe that an issue with the oil glands in the scalp could be to blame.
Preventing Cradle Cap
Since no one knows for sure why a cradle cap occurs, there is no guaranteed way to prevent the condition. The focus then is on treatment.
Cradle Cap Treatment
Mild cases of cradle cap can be treated at home. It is generally recommended by doctors to wash the scalp daily with a gentle baby shampoo and then attempt to remove scales from the affected area with a soft brush (Scalp Scrubbie Brush) or a cradle cap comb (Safety1st Cradle Cap Brush). If the area seems to get worse (you notice redness, irritation, bleeding, or you suspect infection), contact a medical professional for advice
2. Baby hair dandruff
Dandruff is a type of seborrheic dermatitis that is similar to cradle cap. While both dandruff and cradle cap involves a flaky scalp, these conditions are not the same.
Cause of Baby Hair Dandruff
Baby dandruff is caused by dry skin. This is good to know because it enables you to take preventive measures to ensure that your baby doesn’t develop the condition.
Prevent Baby Hair Dandruff
You can avoid baby hair dandruff by:
- Keeping your baby’s hair moisturized
- Rinsing shampoo out thoroughly
- Using gentle hair products
3. Alopecia (Baby hair loss)
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Alopecia refers to baby hair loss. In infants, this is a very common condition. Usually, within the first several months of a baby’s life, some will lose a portion or all of their hair. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about.
Causes of Hair Loss in Babies
- Frequent rubbing of the head on various fabrics
- Tight hairstyles
- Over-washing the baby’s hair
- Sleeping in the same position repeatedly
- Normal hair growth cycle
Preventing Baby Hair Loss
While hair loss can’t always be prevented, there are some steps that you can take to reduce the chances of hair loss in your baby.
- Encourage tummy time
- Rotate baby’s sleeping position periodically
- Limit or refrain from styling your baby’s hair in any style that pulls at the scalp or requires manipulation.
- Try not to over-wash your baby’s hair
Treating Baby Hair Loss
If your baby is older than six months and is losing his or her hair, it would be a good idea to let a pediatrician know. The pediatrician is well-equipped to give you advice on how to treat any underlying condition related to hair loss.
4. Ringworm in the baby scalp
Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can affect the scalps of infants. It is easily diagnosed by a healthcare professional’s visual assessment, as it looks like a circular rash with raised edges.
Ringworm is spread by making contact with a person or animal who has ringworm or touching something that an infected person or animal has made contact with.
Though it’s not always possible to prevent ringworm, you can try the following:
- Keep baby away from those who have ringworm
- Keep Baby’s shoes on when he/she is walking around in unfamiliar areas.
Treatment for Scalp Ringworm
When ringworm is on a baby’s scalp, prescription anti-fungal medication is necessary. See a doctor if you suspect that your baby’s scalp is infected with ringworm.
Use this information to take great care of your little one’s hair and scalp.