Dry scalp is uncomfortable at any age, but it can be particularly frustrating for toddlers, who may not be able to keep from scratching at their dry skin. This can aggravate the dry skin and cause flaking. Although irritating, dry scalp is not a serious condition and will not harm your child. In fact, in the majority of toddlers, dry scalp is only temporary.
Children with a dry scalp may scratch their head or complain that it itches. You may be able to see dry, flaky areas on the skin or dry flakes in your child’s hair. If the dry scalp is caused by cradle cap, you may see large, scaly-looking areas on the scalp. A red rash coupled with a dry scalp may be indicative of a yeast infection or allergy.
Most toddlers are not known for their ability to keep clean. Food, dirt, and other materials usually end up on their clothes, on their hands and in their hair. This may necessitate daily hair washing, which can lead to dry scalp. This is because the natural oils that keep the scalp moist are removed when the hair is washed. In rare cases, the dry skin could be a symptom of an allergy. Or, it could be cradle cap, although this is rare in toddlers.
Wash your child’s hair less often. This allows the natural oils in the scalp and hair to moisturize the skin. Once or twice a week is fine for toddlers who are not getting a large amount of food or dirt in their hair. In addition, brush the hair often, as this releases the natural oils from the scalp.
Treatment for dry scalp that is not caused by cradle cap or an allergy is relatively simple. First, reduce the frequency of hair washing, and encourage your child to keep her hands out of her hair. In severe cases, mineral oils can be used to treat your toddler’s dry scalp. Note that they should be washed out rather than left in, according to AskDrSears.com. Avoid using dandruff shampoos, which are too harsh for a toddler’s skin.
Cradle cap and allergies can also cause dry scalp, as can yeast infections, according to ParentTime. If you suspect that your toddler’s dry scalp is more than just dry skin, take him to see a doctor. Cradle cap, allergies and yeast infections all necessitate very different treatments to get rid of the problem.