Cradle cap is a condition in babies where they develop a rashy area on their scalp which can be quite greasy, flaky and yellow.
It can be compared to an extreme case of dandruff where scaly patches of the skin flake off often with hair attached.
It is thought that cradle cap develops as a result of hormones from pregnancy that are left in the baby's body after birth. These hormones cause glands in the skin to secrete oil, so patches of skin become sticky and scaly. The leftover hormones usually disappear after a few months so cradle cap tends to clear up on its own.
Although it may be tempting, you should resist picking the flaky bits of skin from your baby's scalp as this could aggrevate the condition and cause an infection. If it becomes red and swollen it is possible it has become infected so you should visit your GP.
To keep the flakiness under control make sure you wash your baby's hair regularly and use a soft brush to loosen the flakes. Leaving a mild baby oil on your baby's scalp overnight and washing it off in the morning may also help.
Cradle cap refers to the dandruff-like condition on the scalp, but affected babies often exhibit similar skin conditions elsewhere on their body (nappy area, armpits, nose, face). In these places the condition is known as dermititis. Although the rashy area may look unsightly it is important to know that the condition does not cause any pain or discomfort to the baby.