What causes cradle cap and how can I get rid of it?

Q: My baby has had cradle cap for months. I've tried various shampoos and cortisone creams, but nothing seems to work. What is causing this, and what can I do to get rid of it?

A: Caused by hormones that pass through the placenta before birth, cradle cap is a common skin condition in which excess oil secretions lead to a scaly rash on the scalp. It's not pretty, but it presents no health problems. To treat it, massage your baby's scalp with jojoba oil (available at health-food stores) and use your fingernails or a baby hairbrush to gently remove the scales. Getting rid of cradle cap is a slow process, but if you're persistent, it will go away.