Toddlers frequently develop dry scalp that is similar to dandruff in older children. Dry scalp in children is often caused by cradle cap, but may also be caused by eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis or scabies, according to Wrongdiagnosis.com. According to Babycenter.com, cradle cap is a very common condition that causes flaky, scaly, crusty patches to develop on the scalps of babies and toddlers. Properly caring for your toddler's hair and scalp can help improve or eliminate dry scalp.
Hair and Scalp Treatment
The dry scalp condition cradle cap typically affects babies in the first months of life and clears up by the time they are 12 months; however, many babies experience cradle cap for several years, including their toddler stage, reports Babycenter.com. Whether your toddler's dry scalp is caused by cradle cap, eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis, you may be able to eliminate it with products you already have in your home.
Massage a generous amount of olive oil or baby oil into your toddler's hair and scalp to help loosen dry scalp flakes. AskDrSears.com recommends leaving the oil on your toddler's scalp for no longer than 15 to 30 minutes. After the oil has soaked into his scalp, use a soft-bristled baby brush or toothbrush to gently scrape the flakes and scales from his hair. Use warm water to thoroughly wash the oil from his hair immediately after removing the dry patches.
Wash your toddler's hair every five to seven days with a baby shampoo. If your child has extremely dry scalp, use a mild, chemical-free, fragrance-free anti-dandruff shampoo. Wet your toddler's hair in warm water. Apply a small amount of baby shampoo to her hair. Use your hand to gently massage the shampoo into her scalp until a lather is formed. Work the shampoo throughout her hair and scalp until her hair is thoroughly cleaned. Try using a washcloth or soft-bristled brush to massage her dry scalp while shampooing. Use warm water to wash all shampoo residue from her hair and scalp.
Apply a gentle, moisturizing conditioner to your toddler's scalp to help restore moisture. Leave the conditioner on his scalp for no longer than three minutes. Use warm water to rinse the conditioner from his hair.
Use a clean towel to thoroughly dry your toddler's hair and scalp. Use a soft-bristled brush to style her hair as desired.
Avoid washing your toddler's hair too often. Doing so can dry his hair out. Babycenter.com advises that you also avoid leaving oils on your toddler's hair because it can clog his pores—worsening his dry scalp condition. Leaving oil on your toddler's hair for an extended amount of time may also cause his face to break out, reports AskDrSears.com. Although dry scalp can be successfully treated at home, you should contact your toddler's doctor if his scalp looks infected or if his condition spreads or worsens, as this may be a sign of a more serious condition. According to Babycenter.com, your toddler's doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription shampoo or cream to treat his scalp.