Is It Cradle Cap or Dry Scalp?

Dealing with a dry scalp is frustrating. You may have small white flakes falling from your scalp, which is the result of the scratching. But sometimes young children, most often babies, get yellow patches of flakes on their heads. This is what doctors call cradle cap. While you can easily see it on babies, how can you tell if you or your child has cradle cap or dry scalp?

Cradle cap is mostly found on the top of the scalp, on the ‘soft spot’. This spot is found in the top middle of the scalp. You can tell the difference between the two condition, because it looks more like yellowish scales than a patch of dry skin. Also, while dry scalp can appear anywhere on the scalp, cradle cap is usually found in just the one area.

There are things that you can do to help with both of these conditions. Of course, you have to be careful when choosing a treatment for babies. Adults, however, can use a wide variety of treatments once the cause has been identified.

Do I have Cradle Cap or Dry & Itchy Scalp?

If you notice that your infant has a patch of greasy-looking scaly skin on their head, it is cradle cap. It can get red, and look like yellowish-colored scales. It is commonly seen in newborns to two years of age, but it can also affect children up to 5 years old.

In infants, it is not usually itchy, in the same way that a dry scalp would be on adults. In mild cases, it typically goes away on its own in a few weeks, or it could last for a few months.

Adults that have overactive sebum glands on their scalp can also experience this condition, although it is medically termed seborrheic dermatitis.  It can appear almost anywhere on the body, but it usually affects the scalp. When the scaly patch is white, it is dandruff.

Common symptoms of adult cradle cap include itchiness, redness, and scaly, greasy patches of skin. There are ways to treat this condition. Let’s look at some of the best options:

Is It Cradle Cap or Dry Scalp

How to Treat Cradle Cap

Cradle cap in infants can be treated by natural means. Olive oil works well. You can read more about using this for both babies and adults alike in our article about olive oil. For use on babies, just rub a small amount onto the spot and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. During their bath, using a soft brush, gently brush the scales away.

Using almond oil or coconut oil are also good for cradle cap. They work just like the olive oil does, and you use them the same way.

Although it may seem strange to put oil in a spot that already has too much oil, it works. These essential oils work naturally to heal the skin.  They gently take the extra oil and scales away, and the also reduce the redness. They also put vitamins into the scalp, working to keep it healthy.

What Is the Cause of a Dry Scalp?

Dry scalp, on the other hand, is simply dry skin. This could have been caused by the use of hair care products or a medical condition, such as scalp psoriasis or even a fungal infection. Each cause needs to be treated totally differently.

The pores have gotten clogged, and the natural oils, or sebum, can’t come to the surface of the skin to protect it. You need to get a clear medical diagnosis before commencing a treatment plan. Some conditions can’t be cured, but the symptoms can be alleviated.

One cause of dry scalp is blocked pores. If you use styling products, they can get into your skin and be really tough to remove. When you use ‘regular’ shampoo, it doesn’t contain any ingredients that are able to get under the layers of skin to clean out the pores.

Natural Shampoos to Remove Dryness

There are shampoos that soak into the scalp to clean the pores and remove the blockage. When you use them on a regular basis, they will continue to do so, and you won’t have any more problems.

One of the most effective options is Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo.  If you click on the link, you will be taken to our in-depth review page, where you can read about why it works so well, as well as the ingredients and you can also read user reviews.  It is completely natural, so you don’t have to worry about any further irritation to your scalp.

Reduce Scalp Itchiness with an Essential Oil

Most of conditions can be remedied with essential oils. They not only help to keep your scalp hydrated, but they also penetrate the layers of your scalp, and clean out the pores. They won’t leave your skin or hair greasy, as you may think, because they soak completely into the skin.

One of the best products that you can use to heal any itchy, dry scalp is “Ooh!”. It contains essential oils and skin-healing vitamins. When you apply it, and massage it into your scalp, you will start feeling the relief. It also soaks into your scalp to clean the clogged pores.

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Understanding the Differences between the Two Conditions

The main difference between cradle cap and dry scalp are the color and oil. While dry scalp is very itchy, it causes small white flakes. There can be redness and tenderness, if you scratch it a lot. Cradle cap, on the other hand, is mainly found in babies, and children under 4 years of age, on average.  Adults can suffer with it, as well, but it is not common.

No matter which of these you are dealing with, you need to treat it correctly. When it’s on babies, you should gently rub a treatment on to the spot and let it soak until you are done with their bath. Then gently brush, or comb, it off.

With adult dry scalp, the treatments that we’ve discussed (above) work well to not only heal the dry skin, but also to keep your scalp and hair healthy.  When you’re wondering if you or your child has either cradle cap or dry scalp, the main thing to look for is the color and type of flakes. Either way, there are remedies that will help to cure (or minimize the symptoms) for both types of scalp conditions.