Cradle Cap Vs. Eczema: Differences, Symptoms, And Treatment

Cradle cap usually looks like a yellow or brown scaly layer on a baby’s scalp. Resembling fish scales, the skin may feel fragile, flaky, oily, or waxy to the touch. The skin underneath this scaly layer usually looks normal. Cradle cap may also present as:

As a parent, you have a lot on your mind! When in doubt, if you’re struggling to determine whether your little one is experiencing atopic dermatitis or cradle cap, talk with your child’s pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist. Receiving a proper diagnosis helps ensure your baby gets the fastest and most effective treatment.

A newborn baby suffering from baby acne, cradle cap, and eczema on the ...

Cradle Cap vs. Eczema: How to Tell the Difference

Cradle Cap

Atopic dermatitis, commonly referred to as eczema, presents as patches of dry, inflamed, and irritated skin. It can appear anywhere on the body, but the elbows, hands, feet, and the area behind the knees are most commonly affected. Eczema on a baby’s scalp can occur, though it will likely appear in other areas as well. Atopic dermatitis can look different on various skin tones. On dark skin tones, an eczema rash can look purple, brown, or gray. The rash can look pink, red, or purple on light skin tones. The skin will appear raw and sensitive, or thick and hardened.

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Appearance of Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is primarily recognized as an inflammatory skin disorder. Non-contagious, the symptoms arise due to dysfunction and disorder of the immune system. Several factors thought to be associated with cradle cap include:

Cradle cap and eczema have a lot of overlapping symptoms. Both cause characteristic flakiness and dryness of the skin; however, there are some key differences in how these conditions present.

Cradle Cap Vs. Eczema: Differences, Symptoms, And Treatment

Generally, strategies that treat cradle cap can also help prevent it. These include:

You may also notice redness, swelling, cracking, scaling, and weeping clear fluid from scratching or picking at the affected skin. In most cases, eczema goes through periods of worsening called flares, and periods where the skin improves, called remissions.

Each case of eczema is unique and requires personalized care. Symptoms and severity can vary person to person, so it’s important to find a treatment plan that suits your little one’s skin. You can help your little one find relief by:

Cradle Cap Natural Remedies

Though treatment can take on eczema and cradle cap flare-ups, there are also strategies to help prevent their onset.

Symptoms of cradle cap include:

Eczema flare-ups can be complicated and frustrating for you and your child. We created a Parent Guide to Eczema to help you navigate this condition and provide your child with the best treatment plan possible.

Cradle Cap vs. Eczema: What Are the Differences

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Experts believe that eczema is caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, and bacterial factors. The genetic factors include:

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Causes of Atopic Dermatitis / Eczema

If your child has dry, irritated skin, consider trying Gladskin Eczema Soothing Cream for Babies and Kids . It’s oat-free, steroid-free, and safe for babies ages 3 months and up. Plus it contains Gladskin’s patented protein Micreobalance ® , which restores balance to the skin microbiome. Learn more .

Though cradle cap and eczema both cause flaky, scaly, or irritated skin, the conditions have key differences. Cradle cap exclusively affects infants and children under 2, typically resolving on its own without the need for treatment.

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