Dandruff in babies: symptoms, reasons, medication and home remedies

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Dandruff in babies: symptoms, reasons, medication and home remedies
Dandruff in babies: symptoms, reasons, medication and home remedies

In babies, infantile seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap) and dandruff are same kind of disease that affects the seborrheic parts of the body. Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, chronic (relapsing) form of dermatitis that mainly affects gland-rich regions of the scalp, face, and trunk. Dandruff, on the other hand, is restricted to the scalp. Dandruff is much more common in adults than in babies. That said, its treatment and prevention in babies are not difficult provided the cause is identified well. For that, we recommend you to consult a pediatrician, particularly when your baby’s scalp is extremely itchy.


Keep reading this post to understand the causes of dandruff in babies and the means to treat it.


Signs And Symptoms Of Baby Dandruff


There are various signals and symptoms that could indicate dandruff. However, some  general symptoms are:


● Itchy scalp


● Flaky, dry skin without inflammation on baby’s scalp


● Red, yellow, or silvery patches on and around your baby’s head


● Dry patches that may be scaly or rough to touch


Causes of Dandruff In Babies


The exact reason of dandruff is obscure. However, it is assumed that there are various factors behind it like genetics, the yeast that naturally lives on the skin, irritants, chemicals, dry and cold weather, and overproduction of sebum. The most significant causes are:


● Cradle cap which causes scaly and flaky patches, mostly yellowish in appearance.


● regular shampooing renders the scalp dry due to moisture loss.


● Winter Season -Dry weather conditions during winter make the scalp dry.


The prominent reasons of dandruff in babies consists of overproduction of sebum or skin oil, or overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia, which may cause the skin cells on the scalp to shed quickly. In such a case, you may notice gray or white flakes on your baby’s head.


When To Consult A Doctor?


Generally, dandruff can be treated within a week or so with the help of some home remedies. But in case you see that the dandruff is persistent and even worsening, it will be wise to take pediatric consultation.It will be more prudent if your baby’s scalp is showing the following signs:


● Oozing


● Cracking


● Bleeding 


Is the Dandruff Only Reason for The Scales On Your Baby’s Head ?


Scales on the baby’s head or body are not always due to dandruff.  If the skin on your baby’s scalp is scaling and flaking, these could be the reasons other than dandruff, such as:


● Sunburn on the scalp: This danger can be avoided by restraining your baby’s exposure to the sun or making them wear a cap.


● Using excess shampoo and not rinsing well during a wash: Dried shampoo residuals on the scalp can show up as flakes and may seem like dandruff. This can be avoided by spending by rinsing the shampoo clearly.


● Shampooing less than usual often causes oils and skin cells to accumulate on the scalp, thereby giving the flaky structure.


● Atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis may cause scaling by making the skin dry. At times, it may not be easy to differentiate between normal dandruff and eczema.



● Ringworm, caused by a fungus, may also be a reason for flaking and hair loss in babies.


● Lice cause scratching, itching, and flaking, though it is not so common in babies.


It is significant to send off the cause for flaking to proceed with the right dandruff treatment for babies. Do visit your doctor for medical advice if you feel that your little one has dandruff. It is not wise todelay if the baby scratches a lot and has itchy scales, red areas, and oozing in the scalp. This could be crucial as the same may indicate an underlying medical, such as a fungal infection.


How To Save Your Baby From Dandruff ?


Once it is ascertained that your baby has dandruff, follow these steps to get rid of it.


● Regularly brush your baby’s dry hair to remove large and visible flakes of dandruff before shampooing.


●  Gently massage any healthy oil on your baby’s scalp before shampoo. Let the oil stay on the scalp for some time and then comb your baby’s hair. Before you shampoo, make sure that all the oil have been removed. Otherwise, it could lead to more issues.


● Use regular baby shampoo to wash the baby’s hair every day. Mild dandruff can be easily removed this way.


● For severe dandruff, use medically suggested shampoo recommended by a pediatrician. Use it once or twice a week, understanding  the severity of dandruff and doctor’s prescription. While shampooing, leave the shampoo on the scalp for a minimum of two minutes.


● When washing the baby’s hair, gently massage the scalp with fingers and build a good lather. Rinse with water completely. Avoid the use of any conditioner.



● If the baby is prone to dandruff, then you must maintain the normal pH of the scalp, and an oil-free scalp mostly addresses the problem.


● The doctor may recommend anti-fungal scalp lotion or cream for the baby. The hydrocortisone creams available over the counter might aid in curing inflammation, redness, and itchiness. But their use must be under strict pediatric guidance, preferably for correct dosage and usage.


How To Prevent Dandruff ?


● dandruff is curable. Hence, it is wise to adopt some preventive measures that could help you keep your baby’s dandruff at bay.


● Fix a regular shampoo routine. Irregular use of shampoo could disturb the pH of your baby’s scalp. The number of times you shampoo your baby’s scalp depends on their condition.


● Use shampoo recommended by a doctor. The doctor would suggest a specific shampoo to your baby after determining the cause of dandruff.


● Regular oiling. This could help avoid the build-up of stuck-on dandruff flakes. While you use an oil, using an organic, virgin oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, would be good.


Frequently Asked Questions


1. Is dandruff contagious?


Dandruff that causes yellowish or white flaky skin is not dangerous or contagious but can be unsightly and itchy.


2. What is cradle cap? How is it different from dandruff in babies?


The dry, scaly scalp is referred to as cradle cap or infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It is usually common in babies aged more than three months . Cradle cap can cause dandruff as the skin flakes off besides showing yellowish crusty patches on the scalp. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, the problem can be outgrown by most babies or can be treated using olive oil as its hydrating properties act as a natural remedy in healing cradle cap.


3. Can anti-dandruff shampoos be used for babies? 


The use of anti-dandruff shampoos for babies without consulting doctor can be dangerous, especially because of their delicate scalp. However, you can use medicated anti-dandruff shampoos for babies post pediatric consultation.


Mild dandruff is controllable at home with simple home remedies. However,  if the dandruff is persistent or severe ,it could be a  indication of some underlying conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and cradle cap that require medical attention. Understanding the severity of  situation, you should consult doctor promptly.


Remember that your little one deserves a healthy scalp, which could be maintained easily with better home care.

If you have knowledge of any home remedy for treating and preventing dandruff, please tell us about them in the comments section below.