Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp: Difference, Causes, and Treatment

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Each dry scalp and dandruff could cause itchy, flaking pores and skin in your scalp. Dry scalp causes small, dry flakes whereas dandruff creates massive,
oily flakes.

Are you sick of your scalp feeling just like the Itchy & Scratchy Present? We hear ya. Dandruff and dry scalp are each uber annoying pores and skin considerations. Whereas they typically get lumped collectively, each situations have completely different causes and remedy strategies. Listed here are the deets.

Dry scalp and dandruff can each trigger an itchy scalp and flaking pores and skin. However regardless of these similarities, they’re truly completely different situations.

Dry scalp occurs when your scalp doesn’t produce or maintain sufficient moisture. This results in small, dry bits of flaking pores and skin. It’s extra frequent in colder months and dry climates.

Dandruff is when your scalp sheds lifeless pores and skin cells too rapidly. These flakes are usually oily and bigger than dry scalp flakes. In some circumstances, dandruff is brought on by seborrheic dermatitis or fungal infections.

Each dry scalp and dandruff are treatable. For delicate circumstances, you may be capable to use a house treatment or over-the-counter (OTC) merchandise. Extra extreme circumstances may require prescription shampoos or ointments.

Unsure why your scalp is flaky AF? Right here’s a deep dive into what causes dandruff and dry scalp.

Dandruff causes

The scalp sheds lifeless pores and skin cells like another a part of your pores and skin. Dandruff can occur when this course of goes into overdrive. The faster your scalp sheds pores and skin cells, the more serious dandruff will get.

TBH, we’re nonetheless not 10/10 certain what truly causes dandruff. In line with the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it is likely to be a mix of a number of components. This contains:

  • fungal infections
  • sensitivity to sure hair merchandise
  • extreme oil secretions on the scalp

A 2016 research additionally discovered a connection between sure scalp micro organism and dandruff. However we’d like extra analysis to know for certain.

BTW, situations that have an effect on immunity or the nervous system (e.g., Parkinson’s) may also enhance your danger.

Dry scalp causes

Dry scalp can occur when the pores and skin in your scalp doesn’t have sufficient moisture or lubrication. This may result in itching, irritation, and flaking. It may possibly additionally make your hair look hella dry.

Peeps who’ve dry pores and skin usually tend to have dry scalp. In line with the AAD, dry pores and skin could be brought on by:

FYI: Utilizing harsh hair care merchandise also can dry your scalp out.

Right here’s a chart that will help you inform the distinction between dandruff and dry scalp.

Prepared for reduction? Right here’s deal with dandruff and dry scalp.

Dandruff remedy

Dandruff tends to be a bit trickier to deal with than dry scalp. However don’t fear good friend! There are nonetheless tons of top-notch remedies to ship these flakes packing.

Listed here are one of the best anti-dandruff substances to look out for:

Dry scalp remedy

Dry scalp signs can often be managed at house. Right here’s a roundup of one of the best house treatments.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a superb pure treatment for dry pores and skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help scale back irritation whereas moisturizing flaking pores and skin.

Most pharmacies promote aloe vera gels or lotions. These could be utilized on to the scalp. Don’t fear, it received’t dye your hair inexperienced.

You can even go for aloe vera juice or supplemental capsules, however you may wish to test with a well being care supplier first. Some peeps expertise diarrhea when taking aloe vera orally. 💩

Apple cider vinegar

ACV’s antimicrobial properties may help ward away the fungi or micro organism that trigger itchiness. It’s additionally an anti-inflammatory and may help exfoliate lifeless pores and skin cells from the scalp.

To DIY an ACV remedy at house, combine 1 half ACV with 2 components water. Apply it on to your scalp utilizing a twig bottle. Go away it in for as much as 10 minutes and observe up with a mild shampoo.


It may appear bizarre to smush a banana into your scalp, however hear us out! Bananas have pure antimicrobial properties and may help moisturize your pores and skin.

Merely mash or mix a banana with a number of tablespoons of olive oil. Therapeutic massage it into your scalp and rinse it out after quarter-hour.

Coconut oil

Along with moisturizing the scalp, coconut oil boasts antibacterial properties and will enhance atopic dermatitis signs.

Therapeutic massage a small quantity of melted virgin coconut oil into your scalp. Go away it in for as much as quarter-hour and rinse it out with lukewarm water.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is an efficient moisturizer that may quench a thirsty scalp. It additionally has some anti-inflammatory properties which may alleviate irritation.

You will discover a product that’s formulated with jojoba oil on the drug retailer or on-line. You can even add a number of drops of jojoba oil into your regular shampoo and save your self a couple of dollars.

Tea tree oil

This well-liked oil has main road cred within the pimples world. However its pores and skin superpowers don’t cease there. Tea tree oil’s antiseptic, antifungal, and antibiotic properties may ease a dry scalp.

Tea tree oil may be very potent so that you solely want a tiny bit. Add a number of drops of tea tree oil right into a service oil. Therapeutic massage it into your scalp and depart it in for as much as 10 minutes earlier than rinsing.

Witch hazel

This inexpensive product has highly effective astringent properties which may assist soothe dry scalp signs.

Witch hazel could be sprayed instantly onto the scalp. Go away it in for as much as quarter-hour and rinse with lukewarm water.


Dandruff isn’t at all times preventable. However you may be capable to scale back your danger by making some easy way of life modifications.

  • Frankie says calm down. Stress can weaken the immune system and make you extra vulnerable to dandruff.
  • Nutritious diet. Eat a balanced weight-reduction plan stuffed with zinc, B nutritional vitamins, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Use a mild shampoo. You can even use an anti-dandruff shampoo a few times weekly to stop flare-ups.
  • Keep away from sizzling water. It may possibly dry the pores and skin out and result in irritation.
  • Let the sunshine in. A small quantity of solar publicity may assist preserve your signs in test. Simply make sure you don’t overdo it — UV rays can have unfavourable results in your general pores and skin well being. 5 minutes a day ought to do the trick.

Dry scalp

Listed here are some suggestions that will help you scale back your danger of a dry scalp:

  • Drink extra water.
  • Shampoo your hair much less often.
  • Change to moisturizing, non-irritating shampoos.
  • Use a humidifier to maintain your pores and skin moisturized.
  • Don’t use tremendous sizzling water if you bathe or bathe.
  • Keep away from harsh dyes or merchandise that may dry your scalp out.

Most often, dandruff and dry scalp are innocent. However that doesn’t imply they aren’t a complete ache within the A**. You might wish to see a well being care supplier in case your:

  • scalp is crimson or swollen
  • scalp is bleeding or has pus
  • signs worsen at a fast fee
  • signs don’t enhance after one month of anti-dandruff product use

A dermatologist can supply prescription ointments or shampoos to get your scalp wholesome once more.

How do I do know if I’ve dry scalp?

The most typical signs of dry scalp are small flakes of pores and skin and an itchy scalp. Massive, oily flakes are often an indication of dandruff.

How do you eliminate a dry scalp?

You’ll be able to deal with a dry scalp at house utilizing a house treatment. Some well-liked choices embrace:

  • aloe vera
  • apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • bananas
  • coconut oil
  • jojoba oil
  • tea tree oil
  • witch hazel

You can even attempt to stop dry scalp by preserving your pores and skin moisturized and by avoiding harsh hair merchandise.

What causes dry scalp?

You may get a dry scalp in case your pores and skin isn’t holding sufficient moisture. It may also be precipitated through the use of harsh or irritating hair merchandise or when you reside in a chilly, dry local weather.

What do I do if dandruff shampoo isn’t working?

Dandruff shampoo doesn’t work in a single day. However when you don’t see any optimistic outcomes after one month of use, chances are you’ll wish to speak with a healthcare skilled. They’ll prescribe prescription ointments, shampoos, and rinses. They’ll additionally rule out different potential culprits like psoriasis or eczema.

How do I do know if I’ve dandruff, dry scalp, or simply product buildup?

Right here’s spot the distinction.

  • Dandruff entails massive, oily flakes of pores and skin.
  • Dry scalp causes small, dry flakes of pores and skin.
  • Product buildup could make your hair really feel greasy, boring, or stiff.

Dry scalp and dandruff are each quite common pores and skin considerations. Whereas they share some similarities, they’re not the identical situation. This implies they’ve completely different causes, remedy, and prevention strategies.

Flaking scalp pores and skin can often be handled utilizing house treatments or OTC merchandise. Nevertheless, in case your signs persist for greater than a month, chances are you’ll wish to speak with a dermatologist. You must also see a health care provider in case your pores and skin is crimson, swollen, bleeding, or painful.

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