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Skin conditions are common in children when they are growing up, this is because their skin is still sensitive and is building its defence against the bacteria around it. Most skin conditions can cause irritability and discomfort depending on where they afflict the child. Dandruff is a skin condition that affects your child’s scalp. This is one of the most common and wide-spread infections kids can get.
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a mild form of a skin condition known as seborrhoea dermatitis. This involves the scaling of the skin on the scalp and sometimes even the eyebrow and eyelashes. The skin scales and then flakes appear as tiny white flakes. While dandruff is harmless, it can cause itching and redness. If dandruff is left untreated, it could cause hair fall. Ensure you visit a doctor if there is extreme excessive hair fall on your child, as other conditions are also known to show the same symptoms. One such condition is lice infestation in children. While there are several over-the-counter remedies available to treat dandruff, it is advisable to seek medical advice picking one, as some treatments may cause allergic reactions in children.
Causes of Dandruff in Babies
There are many reasons why your baby has dandruff. These include:
- Fungal Growth: The fungus Malassezia can cause excessive shedding of dead skin cells on the scalp. When these cells mix with the sebum produced by oil glands, it causes dandruff.
- Over Shampooing: Using too much shampoo can result in all the natural oils in the scalp being stripped away. This causes the skin to dry out which in turn results in dandruff. Sometimes, it is even possible for dermatitis to occur due to the effect of chemicals on the skin.
- Not Shampooing Enough: It is very important to maintain the hygiene of the scalp as it can accumulate dead skin, dirt, and oils very quickly which can lead to dandruff.
- Skin Conditions: Certain skin conditions result in dandruff. These include eczema and psoriasis.
- Heat: If the scalp is exposed to too much heat, such as when it is under direct sunlight, it may develop dandruff.
- Humidity: A lack of humidity especially in the winter months could result in the scalp drying out.
- Oily Scalp: All scalps produce oil to keep the skin moisturized and healthy. However, if the oil production is excessive, then it can cause dandruff.
Signs and Symptoms of Dandruff in Infants
There are several signs of dandruff that you can keep an eye out for. Some of these include:
- Dryness of skin near the scalp, forehead, and eyelids
- Greasy patches of the skin
- White flakes on the skin
Is Dandruff the Only Reason for Scales on a Baby’s Head?
While dandruff is the most common reason for the appearance of scales on your baby’s head, it is not the only reason. Other reasons include:
- Improper washing off of shampoo
- Cradle cap
Ways to Getting Rid of Dandruff
Some baby dandruff home remedies that you can try are:
- Brush And Shampoo: Use a soft bristled brush to gently brush your baby’s scalp. This will remove the dead flakes. Then use a mild shampoo to wash your baby’s hair.
- Medicated Shampoo: If dandruff persists then consult your baby’s doctor and ask for a prescription for the medicated shampoo. Follow the instructions given by your doctor as well as those on the shampoo bottle.
- No Conditioner: Under no circumstances should you use conditioner on your baby’s hair. It could seriously change or damage the nature of her hair and scalp.
- Rinse: Take care to make sure that any traces of the shampoo are washed off thoroughly before drying the hair with a soft towel.
- Soothe: Sometimes, scratching the affected skin can exacerbate the condition. Instead, use products like coconut oil, aloe vera, or even butter to alleviate any inflammation and irritation of the skin.
It is highly recommended that you consult a doctor before starting treatment for any of these conditions. Do not self-diagnose dandruff or any other skin conditions and seek medical advice for treatment plans specific to your child.
Is Baby Dandruff Contagious?
While dandruff can be unsightly or even cause itching and irritation to your baby, it is not contagious. Your baby can continue to interact with other children and adults just the way she is used to.
What is Cradle Cap and How is It Different From Dandruff?
Cradle cap is also called infantile seborrheic dermatitis and is a skin condition that affects infants. While it starts on the scalp, it can spread to other parts of the body. It is characterized by red bumps and progresses to form yellow, crusty skin that flakes when touched. While dandruff can affect anyone at any age and needs attention, cradle cap usually affects infants within the first three months of their lives and lasts only for the first year.
Dandruff must be given medical attention if dandruff persists for a long period with no signs of abating or if the hair fall due to the dandruff is excessive. Make sure that you use only quality branded products on the skin and scalp of your baby. Keep your baby’s head covered if going outside to protect the sensitive skin. If you give your baby regular oil massages, make sure to not neglect the scalp while also ensuring that the oil is not left on for too long. Do not worry too much about dandruff on your baby’s scalp as this condition is easy to fix. You can talk to a pediatric dermatologist if you are still worried. Hygiene is an important part of preventing dandruff in children, ensure they wash their hair regularly, apply oil if the hair is very dry and use the shampoo that is specific to your child’s hair type.