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There milk crust is a greasy, yellowish and scaly rash, which appears a patches on the head of newborns. The condition is very common, and generally appears within the first 3 months of life. It is a non-worrying condition, and it rarely causes the baby any discomfort.
Certainly rarer is the adult cradle cap, the causes of which are not yet clearly understood. Let's find out more!
What is the milk crust?
There crust milky, which some also define as honeycomb disease, or pityriasis capite, or more dermatitis infantile seborrheic, it is a non-contagious condition, which does not in any way reflect the level of hygiene of the child, being able to verify well even when the maximum conditions of well-being and cleanliness are guaranteed to the child.
In some ways, the cradle cap is similar to dandruff while when it appears on older children or adults, it is quite possible that it is dandruff.
Among children, it is believed that the milk crust affects 10% of newborns up to the age of 1 month, and the prevalence reaches 70% by 3 months of age. In infants between 1 and 2 years of age, the prevalence is only 7%, with a percentage which then gradually decreases until reaching adulthood, in which the condition is much rarer, and is generally related to other characteristics dermatological.
Read also: Dry skin, remedies against the most dehydrated skin
How is cradle cap treated?
Typically, i mild cases of cradle cap they disappear without any intervention in a relatively short time. Putting oils or lotions before shampooing can still be a useful choice in preventing the problem.
In the meantime, it is of course crucial, also to speed up the healing process, to maintain excellent hygienic conditions, gently washing the head and the affected area, every day, with a mild shampoo, and gently brush the scalp with a soft brush to dissolve and remove the scales. There are also specific combs that could only be used for this purpose.
After the disappearance of the scales, the delicate washing process must be repeated every few days to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Evidently, if these brief tips they do not help to solve the problem, you will need to consult your referring physician or a specialist such as a dermatologist.
It is very likely that healthcare professionals may suggest the use of a stronger shampoo such as, for example, an anti-dandruff shampoo for adults, or the application of an oil or lotion on the affected area to soften the scales. In any case, as we have already had occasion to mention in part, any oil or lotion should be applied before shampooing, since leaving the oil after shampooing could facilitate formation of other flakes.
In case of inflammation or infection, your doctor may prescribe instead antibiotics, a mild steroid cream, or an antifungal shampoo or soap.
In any case, it is good not to be discouraged: adult cradle cap is rarely serious and, generally, you can proceed with its treatment with over-the-counter products, with excellent rates of effectiveness.
Causes of cradle cap
Currently, it is not clear what causes the milk crust, but it is certainly not determined by allergies, bacterial infections or poor hygiene.
Instead, it can result from overactive sebaceous glands, from a fungal infection or from both conditions.
Recall that the sebaceous glands are found in the skin and produce an oily substance known as sebum. Overactive sebaceous glands can produce too much sebum, however, and this could prevent old skin cells from drying out and falling off the scalp. Instead, they will tend to stick to the scalp.
It should also be taken into consideration that when the milk crust is the result of a fungal infection, this could be the result of taking antibiotics by the subject affected by this phenomenon. Antibiotics can in fact destroy the bacteria that cause damage to your body, but they can also destroy the useful bacteria that prevent fungal infection.
How to prevent cradle cap
As pointed out several times, the adult cradle cap it is a rather rare condition. However, when it occurs, it is usually nothing to worry about, and it will tend to disappear on its own. Furthermore, since no one can say for sure what causes cradle cap, it follows that it is not even possible to prevent it.
Of course, a gentle wash with brushing, as described above, will prevent the scales from recurring.
Complications of adult cradle cap
In the event that the doctor finds a level of greater severity in adult cradle cap, will tend to monitor it to prevent it from getting worse.
It is especially important to contact a doctor promptly if the areas affected by adult cradle cap start to turn red, if the skin is very irritated, if the scab spreads to the face or starts appearing on other parts of the body, if infections develop ear fungus or if signs of other infections appear.
It is also vital to tell your doctor about any other problems, such as diarrhea, which could be related to some other disease that also has cradle cap in its rashes.
Symptoms of adult cradle cap
The symptoms of adult cradle cap are very similar to those experienced in the much more common infant form. In particular, areas of the scalp that are yellow and oily will appear, scales of skin similar to dandruff on the scalp, possible slight redness of the area affected by the phenomenon. It is also possible that cradle cap in adults, as well as cradle cap in children, can typically start on the scalp but also spread to the area behind the ears. It can also appear in patches on the nose, eyelids, groin, armpits and back of the knees.
For more information it is of course important to talk to your doctor of reference, in order to evaluate what to do and the best treatments to discourage a worsening of the condition.