Toddlers are fairly susceptible to skin problems, including patches of dry skin on the scalp. In general, dry skin clumps on a toddler's scalp are not a cause for serious concern. They can have many underlying causes, most of which are ultimately benign. Home treatments can usually eliminate this uncomfortable condition, but if the problem persists, consult your toddler's pediatrician.
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There are several potential causes of dry skin clumps on a toddler's scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap, is a common condition that can result in scaly, flaky patches of skin on the baby's head. Although this condition is significantly more common in infants than toddlers, it can occasionally occur in older children. According to the Baby Center website, some toddlers also develop dandruff, ringworm, sunburn, eczema or psoriasis on the scalp. Clumps of shampoo left in a toddler's hair may also look like dry, flaking skin.
The treatments for dry skin on a toddler's scalp will vary depending on the underlying cause. The Mayo Clinic notes that a doctor will prescribe medicated shampoos or lotions to treat persistent cases of cradle cap. If your child has a fungal infection on his scalp, such as dandruff or ringworm, he will require medication. Flaking skin can by symptomatic of a general, chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis; a pediatrician can provide advice for managing these disorders.
Dry clumps of skin on a toddler's scalp can be uncomfortable to the child, but they are not inherently dangerous. Your toddler may experience itching, tenderness and discomfort on his head and, if the problem is severe, he may suffer from temporary hair loss. For this reason, it is important to treat any symptoms of skin problems your child demonstrates. Consult his pediatrician for a diagnosis and treatment.
Dry, white clumps in your toddler's hair may not necessarily be flaking skin. The Baby Center website reports that if your child washes his own hair, she may not wash out all of the shampoo residue. When the soap or shampoo dries, it can look similar to dandruff or dry skin. If this happens, assist your toddler when she is taking a bath to ensure that she eliminates all traces of shampoo from her scalp.
With the approval of your toddler's pediatrician, consider using home remedies or alternative medicine to treat your toddler's dry, flaking skin. The Mayo Clinic advises parents to brush clumps of dry skin out of a baby's hair after moistening the area with mineral oil. Popular alternative treatments for fungal skin infections include tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, although they have not been well-studied for safety in toddlers, according to the Mayo Clinic. Always check with a qualified practitioner before using any home remedy to treat a medical condition.