The skin on the scalp of our adorable young ones is delicate and soft just like the skin on their entire body. This scalp where the hair grows however gets irritated easily and develops as a dry scalp. A big percentage of people are unaware that a baby’s dry scalp is common and treatable. When dry scalp develops, the parents or guardians are often left wondering what it is and whether lotion is appropriate to treat the condition.
Well, whatever you do, always know that lotion is inappropriate as a treatment to dry the scalp. It will serve only to increase the skin flakes in the area and worsens the situation. This is a shocker but to understand the reasoning, first understand the symptoms of dry scalp, its causes, and the substitutes you can use instead of lotion.
Why You should not Apply Lotion on a Baby’s Dry Scalp
A dry scalp happens when the oils beneath the baby’s skin are excessively overproduced. This overproduction causes dead skin around the area to build up. A build-up of dead skin shows on the surface as whitish or reddish dry skin.
Quite obviously, lotion is also oil. When applied to the oily baby’s scalp, it adds to the already overproduced oil. As a result, the increase of oil on the baby’s scalp causes more buildup of dead layers of skin. Therefore, it is counterproductive to apply any lotion in the treatment of dry baby scalps since lotion compounds the situation. Rather than applying lotion, moisturize the baby’s scalp in the following ways.
Signs of Dry Scalp in Babies
The baby’s skin, including the skin on the scalp, is very delicate and reacts to any inside or environmental condition. This makes it irritable and susceptible to dry skin. The signs that show that a baby has dry skin include
- White flaking on the skin around the scalp
- The yellow or reddish coloration
- Visible patches and crusty skin on the scalp.
Even though anyone can have a dry scalp, it is challenging to diagnose the signs of dry skin. You need a proper analysis of the causes behind a baby’s dry scalp to correctly diagnose the disease
Causes Dry scalp in Babies
There are definite underlying causes that result in the dry scalp in babies. Analyze the following causes to get a picture of what causes dry skin and how to tackle them.
- Cradle cap
- Baby dandruff
- Baby eczema
Cradle cap otherwise referred to as crib cap and infantile seborrheic dermatitis is a major cause of dry skin affecting babies. Cradle cap results from either multiple factors in the environment and genetic elements or the overgrowth of Malassezia fungi in the oil (sebum) that is under the actual baby’s skin
You can easily notice the symptoms of cradle cap on your child’s head since they include
- Thick oily patches are seen clearly on the scalp
- Patches are either colored white to yellowish
- These patches can also appear on other body parts like on the baby’s armpits, ears, and groin area.
Well, get relief from the fact that the cradle cap does not get transmitted from one child to another and neither does it cause discomfort to the child. You can even treat it by applying baby shampoo and gently brushing the scalp to make the skin flakes loosen gently.
Dandruff is mainly brought by genetic elements and it causes dry scalps in babies. Dandruff appears as white and snowy flakes and is very itchy and irritable for children. Once you notice dandruff, you can do the following
Less washing. Over-washing compounds dry scalps. Wash the scalp after a day or two instead of regular washing.
Coldness. Keep the baby warm since low temperature and coldness make dandruff increase
Eczema is a unique condition that makes the baby’s scalp appear inflamed, reddish, and very itchy. There are types of eczema that are responsible for a baby’s dry scalp and they include
- Seborrheic dermatitis. This eczema appears in 3 months old babies
- Atopic dermatitis. This Hereditary eczema occurs after 6 months
- Contact dermatitis. Develops when the baby’s outer skin layer reacts with irritating elements like fragrances and lotions
How to Protect a Baby from Getting a Dry scalp
Skincare for babies is challenging because there are many causes of a dry scalp. However, the following are definite practices that can keep your baby’s scalp fresh and healthy and protect it from getting dry scalp
- Using lukewarm water to regularly wash the scalp and the hair
- Brushing the scalp in a very gentle manner
- Avoiding any allergens such as dander and pollen
- Dressing your children in a layer of clothing to ensure they are free from sweating
- Using detergents and shampoos that do not have fragrance
How to Moisturize your Baby’s Dry Scalp
Cease using any lotion on the scalp and instead apply hair oil, serum, or baby oil and hydrocortisone. Baby oil loosens the dead skin and makes it flake off. Use Hydrocortisone applying once you have completed shampooing the baby and rinsing completely.
Many parents overwash the baby’s scalp and it results in the worsening of dry scalp. The best way is to just wash your baby’s scalp twice or thrice within a week using the recommended oil, detergent, or shampoo. Whichever moisturizer you use, ensure that you rinse gently but comprehensively to remove all traces. After this, proceed to gently brush the tiny hair follicles with a soft baby brush. These moisturizers will make the dry scalp heal within a week but there are times when it is right to consult a professional pediatrician.
When to Seek the help of skin doctors or baby Pediatricians
The dry scalp condition in your child should improve after some weeks. after the use of ointments, shampoo, and hydrocortisone cream that you can get over the counter. However, if the following symptoms persist you have o schedule the prescription of skin doctors or a baby’s pediatrician
- When the scalp starts to bleed
- The cracking of the scalp
- Oozing of the scalp
A pediatrician will recommend the best steroid cream or prescription-strength shampoo to treat any inflammation.
Generally, the dry baby scalp can be treated through home care. Based on case studies, the root cause is mostly the cradle cap. Therefore, if you notice the symptoms, try and treat but if it persists, it is time to visit a pediatrician for advanced care. And under no circumstances should you apply lotion on a baby’s dry scalp.