Milk crusts: should they be removed?
Contrary to popular belief, milk coats have nothing to do with milk but with an excessive production of sebum! Very common in the first few weeks of the life of babies, this seborrheic dermatitis, as it is called in medicine, appears on the scalp of newborns forming little yellow crusts. However, what are they due to? Should they be removed?
Milk crusts: why are they forming?
The coats of milk would be caused by a persistent presence after the delivery of pregnancy hormones in the baby’s body. These hormones have an influence on the seborrheic secretions of the sebaceous glands. As a result, the excess secreted sebum causes agglomeration of dead cells in the baby’s scalp. Over time, the hormones responsible for this overproduction will eventually fade and, consequently, milk crusts too!
Although seborrhoeic dermatitis has no direct link with breastfeeding, it does not result either from lack of hygiene. In all cases, the occurrence of milk crusts is temporary since the latter will eventually disappear spontaneously after a few months.
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What do they look like?
Milk crusts are easily recognizable because they form red patches on the scalp of babies under the age of eight months, although the phenomenon may persist beyond that. They are covered with dead yellowish and greasy skins, called scales. These thin layers of epidermis gradually become detached by the effect of friction or motion, in the manner of thin films.
These dermatological manifestations do not cause itching. Nevertheless, it is recommended to consult a pediatrician to avoid that they become a high place of bacterial proliferation. Sometimes dermatitis spreads to the face, arms, or even genitals of the baby. In these rare cases, we will speak of seborrheic eczema.
How to treat them?
To get rid of your baby’s crusts of milk, there are several options available. You can wash your hair frequently with a suitable shampoo before gently removing the dander with a soft bristle hairbrush.
You can also apply a fatty substance – olive oil, oleo calycinal liniment, petroleum jelly … – on the scaly plates. After letting the product work several hours, brush the hair to remove the dander. Wash your baby’s hair to remove excess oil. Repeat as many times as necessary.
If your child is inflamed with one or more milk crusts, your pediatrician will probably recommend applying an antifungal cream or a local antibiotic. To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended not to remove crusts that do not come off naturally.
Can they be prevented?
If the formation of milk crusts results from a natural and benign phenomenon, certain precautions may reduce their appearance. For this, you should wash your baby’s scalp daily with a mild soap. It is advisable to favor the purchase of toiletries specially designed for the delicate skins of the kids.
During the shampoo, exert a delicate massage on the scalp of baby avoiding the frictions. Then take care to thoroughly dry the hair before brushing gently with a soft brush.
We recommend reading the article: Know how to interpret baby stools