People of all ages can experience dry scalp conditions that lead to flaking and peeling skin. Some shampoos contain harsh detergents that may strip the scalp of natural oils. Many infants experience flaking scalp skin, which is also known as cradle cap. Delicate baby skin requires gentle ingredients, such as those found in baby shampoos.
Baby shampoos contain gentle ingredients, formulated for use near a baby’s eyes and mouth. In addition to cleaning the hair strands, baby shampoos gently cleanse, moisturize and protect your baby’s scalp. When shampooing your baby’s hair, use just a dab of shampoo and rinse the head thoroughly with water to remove all traces of shampoo.
Some babies experience a condition known as cradle cap. This can appear as crusty patches of flaky skin on your baby’s scalp. You may notice some redness around the scales. This normally goes away without any treatment, but you may use a mild baby shampoo and gentle brushing to help lift the flaking skin. Shampooing too frequently can cause excessive dryness. Rubbing a few drops of baby oil over the flaking skin may help soften the scaly skin.
Adults can also use mild baby shampoo, but specialized shampoos contain ingredients formulated to reduce the flaking associated with an adult’s dandruff and dry scalp. Dandruff shampoos formulated for adults often contain salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, coal tar or zinc pyrithione.
Both babies and adults can experience dry itchy skin due to eczema. This skin condition commonly appears on foreheads, cheeks and scalps. Eczema appears as dry, scaly skin that may contain itchy bumps. While baby shampoo can help cleanse the dry skin, this condition may require a prescription medication.
Frequent bathing can dry out your baby’s skin, including the skin on his scalp. In addition to avoiding frequent bathing and shampooing, use a few drops of baby oil in his bath. Apply a gentle unscented moisturizer to your baby’s scalp to reduce dryness. Consult your baby’s pediatrician for persistent dryness that does not respond to home treatment methods.