Dandruff VS Dry Scalp: What’s the Difference?

Sep. 24, 2020
Many people use dandruff and dry scalp interchangeably, but these scalp problems are actually very different. While they both can cause an irritated scalp and itchiness, they are caused by different issues.
Dry scalp is exactly what it sounds like, and it happens when your scalp is dry. If you have naturally dry skin, you are more prone to having this problem, but anyone can be affected by a dry, itchy scalp. The flakes from having a dry scalp are tiny and white, and your scalp may also feel irritated.
Dandruff, on the other hand, is caused by an overproduction of oil on your scalp. Basically, it’s the exact opposite of having a dry scalp. Dandruff flakes can look yellow, they can be very oily, and your scalp may also look oily and appear red and irritated.
Dry Scalp
What causes dry scalp? Dry scalp occurs when your scalp doesn't have enough moisture and oil, and a number of different things can cause it. For example, cold, dry air can zap the moisture from your skin, and sometimes dry scalp can be caused by certain hair products. On the other hand, if you are a person who suffers from dry skin ordinarily, then it’s not surprising your scalp can be dry, too.
How to solve dry scalp? First things first, if you are dealing with dry skin, you need to make sure you are not dehydrated. Getting plenty of water can ensure that your skin has the necessary moisture it needs and can potentially clear dry scalp issues.
If you are drinking enough water, then managing this condition will depend on the cause of the problem. People with curly and kinky hair must moisturize their hair regularly because their hair texture is prone to dryness. If your dry scalp is caused by the hair products you are using or the frequency you wash your hair, then consider switching hair products and spacing out the amount of time between each wash.
If your dry scalp seems to be chronic, it may be a symptom of some other conditions, such as psoriasis, and if your dry scalp gets worse or it never gets any better, then you should consider visiting your general practitioner who can recommend different treatment options to you.
What causes dandruff? Dandruff is caused by an overproduction of oil on the scalp, and seborrheic dermatitis is usually the reason for dandruff. It can occur anywhere on your body. Wherever it occurs, seborrheic dermatitis will make the skin red, oily, and scaly. Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis can make your scalp itchy, but it’s important not to scratch it because scratching can introduce bacteria to the scalp and end up causing an infection.
How to solve dandruff? When it comes to managing dandruff, shampoo specifically formulated to deal with this skin condition is best. Shampoos that contain coal tar can be beneficial in slowing down the overproduction of skin cells and can help relieve the itching that often comes with dandruff, as well.
There are dozens of home remedies for dandruff, including tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, and apple cider vinegar. Tea tree oil has been used to treat skin conditions ranging from acne to psoriasis. It is a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory oil, and studies show that it is effective in fighting the specific strain of fungus that causes seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
Aloe vera is a plant that is often added to skin ointments, cosmetics, and lotion. When applied topically, it is believed to help treat skin conditions, including burns, itchiness, and psoriasis. Aloe vera antibacterial and antifungal properties can help people struggling with dandruff, but even if it doesn’t help dandruff, it can relieve the itching and irritation.
Lastly, apple cider vinegar is often used as a natural remedy to get rid of dandruff. Apple cider vinegar is believed to help in shedding dead skin on the scalp. It also helps balance the pH of your skin to reduce the growth of fungus and fight dandruff. The best way to try apple cider vinegar is by using it as a rinse after you wash your hair.
While dandruff and dry scalp are often said interchangeably, they are vastly different scalp conditions. Dry scalp is caused by having dry skin on the top of your head, and if you are a person who generally suffers from dry skin, you may also suffer from dry scalp. Dandruff, on the other hand, is because you have too much oil on your scalp. Both of these conditions can be solved by altering your routine, be it with new hair products, the frequency you wash your hair, or medicated shampoos.
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