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What is the cause and treatment for a cradle cap?

Q: My 3 months and 7 days old baby has a cradle cap. I can see some white patches on his face, near his mouth and in some other parts of his body. I feel that they are increasing. The paediatrician told me that its a type of dermatitis. She told me that it will take 6 - 8 months for him to return to normal. She also gave Elomet ointment and Cetaphil body wash. What could be the reason for my baby getting these white patches? Will they spread all over the body?

A:Cradle cap is a patchy, greasy, scaly and crusty skin rash that occurs on the scalp of recently born babies. It is infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis that is confined to the scalp. It may also affect other areas of the body such as behind the ears, in the creases of the neck, armpits and diaper area. Cradle cap is a very common condition that usually appears within the first 6 weeks of life. In some cases the condition will slowly resolve itself over a few weeks while in others it may continue for 6 to 9 months, and sometimes much longer. Treatment of cradle cap is with mild baby shampoos. The scalp should be washed regularly and this along with soft brushing should help to remove the scales. If the cradle cap doesn't improve with frequent washing or if the rash spreads to other areas, then a medicated shampoo containing ketoconazole and hydrocortisone cream for any inflamed or reddened areas can be prescribed.

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