Avoid soap to treat cradle cap
Linda Calabresi is a GP and editor of MedicalObserver. Send your queries to email@example.com My four-month-old grandson is very fair and has obvious cradle cap’’. While I know this doesn’t cause any physical problems, is there any effective treatment from a cosmetic point of view? CRADLE cap is a form of seborrhoeic dermatitis. Its key features are that it usually starts within the first few months of life; it is not irritating and it usually has a yellowish, greasy scaly surface. These features distinguish it from eczema, which usually starts later and is very itchy. To get rid of cradle cap it’s best to avoid using soap — try using emulsifying ointment or Cetaphil lotion instead. You can also rub the scales gently with baby oil or a very soft toothbrush, then wash away the loosened scales with warm water. If the cradle cap still doesn’t clear, try a mixture of 1 per cent sulphur and 1 per cent salicylic acid in sorbolene cream (from the chemist). Leave it on overnight, then shampoo off. I ama 57-year-old female, have an excellent diet, go to the gym twice a week, do aqua aerobics once a week and walk most days. My problem is my fingernails, which have become thin and split vertically at the slightest bump. I take two calcium citrate tablets and a glucosamine capsule daily. I also use a good quality hand cream after washing my hands. Could you recommend a supplement that would help? CONTRARY to popular opinion, brittle nails usually have less to do with a vitamin or mineral deficiency than they do with environmental factors which lead to moisture depletion. Constant immersion of the hands and nails in water, contact with drying agents such as soap or nail polish remover, or using abrasive cleaners will see the nails dry out and become more susceptible to damage. As a first step, try to preserve the moisture in your hands and nails. Wear gloves, avoid chemicals that have a drying effect and, as you already do, moisturise regularly. Occasionally brittle nails are a sign of an underlying disorder such as iron-deficiency anaemia, underactive thyroid, psoriasis or a fungal infection. If your nails don’t respond to the simple moisture-improving techniques it might be worthwhile checking with your doctor for one of these less common causes. I ama 42-year-old female who has just been diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis. Would you have any diet dos or don’ts that might help me keep this condition under control? UNFORTUNATELY the evidence for any effective dietary influences on rheumatoid arthritis is pretty scant. We do know that being overweight makes arthritis worse, so ensuring you stay within the healthy weight range is very important in avoiding flare-ups. With regard to vitamin and mineral supplements, it has been shown that the rheumatoid arthritis can cause deficiencies such as vitamin C or calcium deficiency. But taking supplements has not been shown to have any influence on the course of the disease. The exception to this appears to be omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oils, which do seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect and are definitely worth a try. Similarly, there is some evidence that suggests glucosamine might offer some benefit. As for other food types helping the condition or making it worse, the jury is still out. There has been speculation that almost everything — from food additives to coffee and sugar — may cause flare-ups, but no studies support these claims. Individual reactions to these foods may occur, but there aren’t any guidelines that can be universally applied.