Cradle Cap Behind Ears: What Causes It & How To Get Rid Of It?

Cradle cap is a common skin problem in infants characterized by flaking and a build-up of yellowish crusts on the scalp. When extensive, it may spread to other areas of the skin, such as forehead and behind the ears. The other name for cradle cap is seborrhoeic dermatitis or milk crusts.

It is a non itchy condition and it does not bother the infant in anyway, however most parents are concerned and upset because it is unsightly. The condition is common in infants between one and nine months. It is not contagious.

The crusts will last for weeks and then suddenly subside only to reappear again after sometime.

What Causes Cradle Cap Behind Ears?

The exact cause of cradle cap still remains inconclusive, but experts are sure that it is not caused due to any bacterial infection or allergy or improper hygienic care. It is not contagious. Physicians believe that it is the result of increased activity of sebaceous gland. These glands produce sebum, an oily substance in the scalp and other skin areas. There may be mild inflammatory changes.

Cradle cap usually occurs on the scalp but sometimes it also spreads behind the ear or on the eyebrows.

The oil accumulates in the oil glands and it prevents old skin cells from falling off. Instead, the skin cells stick to the scalp and behind the ear. The cause for hyperactivity of the oil glands is due to mother’s hormone present in baby’s body. It may remain for many months even after the birth of the child.

There is one more theory which suspects the cause to be a fungal infection. If the mother has taken antibiotics for a few weeks before child birth, there is a possibility of the infant suffering from fungal infection.

Antibiotics can damage good bacteria which prevent development of fungal infection.

Cradle cap behind the ear usually is an extension from the scalp or from the forehead. Sometimes, it may occur solitarily without involvement of other areas.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Cradle Cap Behind Ears

  • Cradle cap behind the ear is harmless although it may appear unsightly. Parents need to be assured that the problem will naturally subside in a few weeks or months. A gentle wash behind the ears will remove the flakes and yellow crusts. Rubbing a delicate soft brush in this area will also help remove the scales.
  • Another important home remedy to loosen the scales is to massage with warm oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. Gently massage the area with the oil and leave it overnight. In the morning, use baby shampoo to cleanse the scalp area. Once the scales become loose, use a soft cloth to remove the scales behind the ear.
  • Application of petroleum jelly is another popular treatment for removing cradle cap behind the ears. Rub petroleum jelly on the area and let it remain overnight. The jelly softens scales that are present behind the ear. Use a soft bristle brush to remove the remaining loose scales.

If cradle cap behind the ear is inflamed and is infected, consult a doctor. He may prescribe a course of antibiotics or an anti fungal cream to be applied on the affected area behind the ear.

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