Major Difference Between Dandruff And Dry Scalp

Waking up with an itchy scalp is a nightmare that we all face at some point in our life. But is it dandruff or a dry scalp? The main symptoms of both these conditions are common, which are itchy scalp and flakes. Yet, they are distinct with different characteristics. Read more to know what this dandruff vs dry scalp commotion is all about.

Dandruff vs Dry Scalp -The difference

Let’s start with each and get a little background information.

Dandruff looks like white flakes as your scalp is shedding the dead scalp cells more than usual. Seborrheic dermatitis is the main culprit that makes the scalp red, itchy and oily. It can happen anywhere oil glands are present on your body.

Your scalp is home to a fungus called Malassezia that provokes dandruff. Factors such as excessive stress, hormonal imbalance, and ageing activate Malassezia. Often, people relate dirty hair with dandruff. That’s unlikely, and anyone can get it. But proper hygiene is a must to keep dandruff at bay.

Dry Scalp occurs when your scalp has minimal moisture causing irritation and flaking. People usually complain about their skin being overly dry on arms and legs. So, dry skin and dry scalp are not mutually exclusive.

The leading cause of dry skin is cold and dusty air, especially during winters. Excessive washing and using many chemical products such as hairspray and styling gel can trigger dry scalp. Old age is also associated with dryness and makes your scalp prone to itchiness.

Now let’s distinguish both and put the confusion of dandruff vs dry scalp to rest.

Dandruff causes bigger flakes than dry scalp that are yellow sometimes.

Oily, scaly, and red skin show signs of dandruff, whereas excessive dryness and flaking are associated with dry scalp. The only common thing between the two is itchiness, and it is impossible to have both at the same time. This ends our dandruff vs dry scalp discussion; let’s see how we can avoid them.

Preventing Dandruff 

If you are dealing with dandruff, here are some things to keep in mind-

Medicinal shampoo: Always use a medicated shampoo rather than a regular shampoo for treating dandruff. Its main composition should be salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole. These work on reducing oil build-up and fungus.

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D and omega 3 supplements help in regulating oil secretion. Increase your intake and inculcate them in your daily life. This will slow down the rapid cell shedding and normalize your scalp.

Managing Dry Scalp

Dry scalp requires adding extra moisture. Try these tips and see the difference.

Curb excessive washing: If you shampoo your scalp often, you frequently strip natural oils from your scalp. This results in dehydration of your skin, causing irritation. Try washing on alternate days in the beginning and increase the gap to at least two days.

Moisturize: Don’t opt for regular shampoos; instead, go for hydrating ones. Also, use a conditioner regularly. You can even make aloe masks to moisturize your scalp. Steer clear from any product that is harsh or over-drying.

Hope this ends your dandruff vs. dry scalp dilemma. People often mistake one for another. Remember the scalp is a part of your body and needs the same care as your skin. Take care and see a dermatologist if your condition persists.

In this article

Join the Conversation