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Cradle Cap vs Baby Dandruff

Cradle Cap vs Baby Dandruff: What’s the Difference?

Cradle Cap vs Baby Dandruff: What’s the Difference?

This is quite a confusing situation regarding cradle cap and baby dandruff. Also, it becomes difficult to know what your baby is dealing with. Cradle cap or Baby Dandruff? This article is about their differences, symptoms, causes, and treatments. 

So, let’s start defining each term and then see the symptoms and treatments of each condition to make it easy to differentiate both terms. 

Cradle Cap:

Cradle cap is a condition that mostly affects infants. In this condition, a layer of crusty and thick flakes forms on the scalp, face, and other body parts. It is harmless and not contagious. However, proper treatment can help reduce its spreading and speed up the fading procedure.

The cradle cap usually disappears within weeks, but in some cases, it lasts years. It mainly attacks on infants and toddlers. However, people of any age can be affected by this condition. In adults, we call it dandruff. So, you are dealing with dandruff in adults if you are affected by scaly patches on your scalp. 


There is no specific cause of cradle cap or baby dandruff. One of the most common causes is the hormonal transfer from mother to baby. Some hormones remain in infants after delivery and cause cradle cap. 

It can also make sebaceous glands overactive, increasing the production of an oil, Sebum. The sebum causes the formation of crusty flakes. 

Both conditions have similarities and symptoms related to each other. Some symptoms are only found in cradle cap, making diagnosing it easy. However, in the case of dandruff, the symptoms will be a few but mild.


Symptoms of cradle cap include crusty, thick flakes on the skin, yellowish, brownish, or white flakes, redness on the skin, scaly patches on the skin, dry skin, and flakes on the scalp, armpits, face, eyebrows, and diaper area. Cradle cap can also cause severe discomfort, itching, and inflammation. 

Baby Dandruff:

Dandruff mainly affects the scalp and face in adults, but what about baby dandruff?

Baby dandruff is a slightly different term from cradle cap. However, both share similarities. Baby Dandruff is a mild condition that affects a baby’s scalp, just like dandruff in adults. 

Dandruff in babies creates a layer of thin flakes on the skin, mostly of white or yellowish color. It only affects the scalp, face, or eyebrows. 

Like cradle cap, baby dandruff is not contagious, which means that these conditions cannot spread from person to person through touching or using accessories of an infected. 


Baby Dandruff is mostly caused by the dead cells found on the scalp. Many environmental factors, like dust, dry air, and pollution, can cause dandruff in babies. It also could be genetic. It is not contagious. However, it can be transmitted genetically. 


Symptoms of Baby Dandruff include thin flakes on the baby’s scalp. These flakes could be yellow or white. The scalp will be dry due to dehydration of the skin. The flakes on the scalp could be white or yellowish.


Whether dealing with cradle cap in babies or baby dandruff, the treatments are applicable for both conditions. 

Keep in mind that dandruff needs mild treatment unless it becomes severe. Use the below techniques to treat cradle cap and dandruff in your baby:

  • Keep Your Baby Clean:

Regular baths are necessary when you are dealing with cradle cap in your baby. If your baby is under one year old, you should be careful about the bath. Make sure to bathe only when your baby gets dirty. 

Overbathing can remove sebum, responsible for moisturizing and soothing the skin. The dry skin can worsen the situation, so give your baby enough baths. 

  • Shampoo your baby:

Just like a bath, don’t overuse a shampoo. For cradle cap or dandruff in a baby, use a dandruff shampoo to loosen flakes on the scalp. The dandruff shampoo can help you eliminate cradle cap and dandruff in babies.

After using dandruff shampoo in the bath, pat dry your baby and use a soft brush to comb out flakes from the baby’s scalp. 

  • Massage Your Baby:

Giving a gentle massage to your baby’s scalp and body helps your baby lose the flakes and gives your baby a better sleep. It also helps relax muscles and increases blood flow. Try a massage if you never did. You will see benefits!

  • Use a Gentle Comb:

You can gently comb or brush with soft bristles to massage your baby and remove flakes. Dry brushing increases blood flow, helps relax muscles, and makes your baby comfortable. Brush with soft bristles can also deal with redness on the skin due to cradle cap. After losing flakes with a brush, wash your baby’s health to remove loosened flakes. 

These are some proven treatments for cradle cap and dandruff. Most people worry about the difference between cradle cap and dandruff in babies. To remove confusion, read the below paragraph. 

Read: Hairfall due to dandruff : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Cradle Cap vs Dandruff:

So, what is the main difference between both terms Cradle Cap vs Baby Dandruff, and how do you recognize each? In short, the cradle cap is not a severe form of dandruff. Both conditions are different.

Dandruff forms a layer of crusty or oily thin flakes on the scalp. It affects the baby’s scalp.

On the other hand, the cradle cap causes a layer of scalp to form thick, oily, or grease flakes on the baby’s scalp and other body parts. Cradle cap also cause inflammation, redness on the skin, and itching. 

In some cases, cradle cap can also cause indirect hair loss. The itching caused by the cradle cap increases the urge to scratch, sometimes leading to hair loss. Inflammation is quite rare. Redness is common. Suppose you see itching or inflammation on the baby’s scalp. If the upper treatment methods don’t work on your baby or the situation worsens, visit a good pediatrician for proper treatment. 

It is important to note the differences between these terms and treat them according to the symptoms. I hope this guide helped you a lot.

Read: How to Use Dry Shampoo to Refresh Your Hair Without Washing It


My name is Fahad, an author who is dedicated to providing you with captivating and insightful content. By leveraging my writing skills, I strive to create content that not only informs but also entertains. I remain committed to staying ahead of the curve. I continuously immerse myself in the latest trends and developments, allowing me to deliver the high-quality content that readers expect. Thank you for visiting my blog!

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One comment

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