While doctors claim they "aren't sure" what causes cradle cap, the medical community who has studied it assures us there is an obvious cause.
Pre-Existing Condition or Symptom?
Here's the thing. Maybe doctors are baffled because they, as a community don't understand root causes, or the aftermath commonly known as the symptom.
What do I mean by that?
Well, cradle cap is a common skin condition that presents very similar to adult dandruff only it can get much worse than an average case of dandruff very quickly. My reference to pre-existing condition vs. symptom has to do with why a baby would be more or less likely to get cradle cap in the first place.
The WHY is the root cause, or so-called pre-existing condition. The SYMPTOM is the actual appearance of cradle cap.
There are many circumstances or environmental situations also known as pre-existing conditions that may predispose your baby to cradle cap, but once your baby actually has cradle cap, studies have pointed to obvious culprits.
In other words, whatever predisposed your baby to cradle cap may not be the demon you are battling now. And unless you know your baby will be predisposed to cradle cap and are actively seeking to stop that from happening while you're pregnant, chances are you are dealing with a symptom; the aftermath.
That's ok, though. Because as I mentioned above, studies have proven what is causing the actual cradle cap. And when done right, cradle can be eliminated pretty easily.
Malassezia Furfur + Sebum = Cradle Cap
Yes, it is that simple. But let me explain.
Malassezia furfur is a naturally occurring yeast. It exists on all human heads. Sebum, also naturally occurring is a protective substance secreted by all human skin.
You may be wondering, if we all have these things on our heads, then why don't we all have cradle cap?
Well, first of all, cradle cap is just another name for infantile seborrheic dermatitis. And dandruff is just another name for seborrheic dermatitis. So there is cradle cap (baby version) and dandruff (older human version). So, yes, many people suffer with this condition.
Second, it generally takes a little more than an average amount of sebum to encourage the Malassezia furfur to overgrow. Again, despite the reasoning for this excess sebum and the tendency for Malassezia furfur to proliferate, cradle cap can be successfully eliminated when addressed properly.
When It Becomes A Problem
As mentioned above, Malassezia furfur only becomes a problem when there is overgrowth. Overgrowth can occur for many reasons but the most common reason is that scalp is providing a life-sustaining environment. In other words, too much sebum or just enough, actually, is all takes for this yeast to attempt to run wild all over your baby's head.
The Microscopic Explanation
Malassezia furfur is a lipophilic yeast. This means it survives on lipids, also known as fats. Malassesia furfur consumes saturated fats provided by sebum and leaves behind a crusty build-up that sticks like glue to your baby's scalp.
Studies on babies with cradle cap have established the association between the life-cycle of Malassezia furfur, sebum, and infantile seborrheic dermatitis.
Get rid of that dastardly duo, and you're well on your way to a squeaky clean melon!
Don't get me wrong, it will take some time, the right supplies and the sense to avoid making the problem worse in the attempt to fix it, but trust me, YOU CAN DO IT!
Until next time-
If this article was helpful, check out the others in the series and please use the buttons down below to share with other moms!
For the most detailed information, get my FREE E-Book: