Everything That You Need To Know About Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp

One in five Americans suffer from Dandruff; it is that common. Men are often diagnosed with dandruff more than women, which may be due to male hormones that increase natural oil production. Some medication also contributes to the growth of Dandruff. Though dandruff and dry scalp both have similar primary symptoms for example falling flakes and an itchy scalp yet both are different conditions. 

If you have a dry scalp, your skin gets irritated and flakes off. However, while having Dandruff, the cause is excessive oil on the scalp. The excess oil can cause skin cells to build up and then shed. Know what type of condition your hair scalp has and help yourself out with proper treatment. In this blog, I will share a quick comparison between dandruff vs dry scalp. Know the basic difference between dandruff vs dry scalp and work on methods to get rid of flakes for good.

What is Dandruff vs Dry Scalp?


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Most people are not able to tell the difference between Dandruff vs dry scalp. You should keep in mind that all flakes are of different types, and once you know the difference, it will be easy for you to differentiate between dry scalp vs dandruff. Their other symptoms prove the fact they have different causes.

Causes For Dry Scalp:


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A dry scalp occurs when the skin has too little moisture, it happens when the skin’s barrier function is interrupted, and moisture is not effectively retained in the outer skin layers. Dry scalp results from low humidity environments, skin conditions, genetics, or even the results of harsh hair care can cause Dandruff. Various factors trigger dry scalp, such as:

  • Cold, dry air
  • Older age 
  • Hair Care product side effects, such as styling gel, hairspray, and shampoo

Causes For Dandruff: 


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When you have dandruff, your scalp skin cells shed more quickly. The primary reason for Dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis; it is a condition that turns the skin oily, scaly and red. The yellow or white scales flake off that creating dandruff. 

You can get diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis anywhere you have oil glands, such as the groin, armpits, eyebrows, and along the side of the nose. In babies, it is known as a cradle cap.

Frequently, a fungus known as Malassezia triggers Dandruff. It typically lives on your scalp. Yet, some people have excessive amounts of it and causing skin cells to multiply faster than they should. Certain factors that cause Malassezia to multiply are:

  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Age

Dirt in the hair does not cause Dandruff, but if you do not often wash your hair, the oily build-up can cause flakes. Three common factors that cause Dandruff are as follows:

  • Fungal infection on the scalp
  • Oils released by the scalp
  • Sensitivity to substances, such as hair products

Dry Scalp vs Dandruff- Symptoms

People who have dry scalp can see flakes shedding from their heads that tend to be whiter and smaller, unlike dandruff flakes. In comparison, dandruff flakes are more significant and may be yellow-tinged or look oily. While both dry scalp and dandruff tend to come and go, dandruff is unlikely to get better without treatment because of fungal infection while dry scalp may improve with less shampooing. Both conditions can make the scalp irritated and itchy. If symptoms are severe, people with any condition may scratch the scalp so frequently that it turns red or develops small sores.

When Should You Go to the Doctor?


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You can manage both dandruff and dry scalp at home. However, some severe scalp conditions look like dandruff while there may be other reasons. For example, Scalp psoriasis causes redness, flakes, and itching and is caused by an autoimmune disorder- a form of severe dandruff known as seborrheic dermatitis. It can cause intense, painful inflammation.

Here is a list of conditions where people should consult their doctor for a flaky scalp:

  • If there are other symptoms, such as sores or redness
  • When home treatments don’t work
  • If you have open wounds on your face or head

People suffering from autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases should also talk to their physician before treating Dandruff. Symptoms that look like Dandruff may be due to another medical condition, and a weakened immune system raises the chances that a scalp condition will quickly get worse.

Dandruff- Treatment Options


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You can treat most cases of Dandruff at home. People with Dandruff should frequently shampoo their hair with anti-dandruff shampoo. It will treat many underlying causes of Dandruff, including minor fungal infections.

  • Choose shampoos that have pyrithione. You can get various types of anti-dandruff shampoo online that will prevent hair loss due to Dandruff.
  • You can also try tar shampoo. However, this shampoo may change light hair color, so blonde people or people with grey hair should not use this shampoo.
  • Shampoo for dandruff contains a pungent smell. Some people wish to alternate between dandruff and traditional shampoo. You can also shampoo your hair with your favorite shampoo immediately after the treatment with dandruff shampoo.
  • People who prefer natural remedies or do not like the smell of dandruff shampoo may also try tea tree shampoo because it has antimicrobial properties. 

Dry Scalp- Treatment Options

Something as simple as the hair scalp when not being hydrated properly can be the cause of dry scalp issues.  Not washing the hair daily can also be the cause of the problem. There are also some medical conditions for example eczema or psoriasis that could also be the cause. Here are some of the home remedies that you can try to treat dry scalp. For example:

Coconut oil


source: thehealthsite.com

Many people use coconut for skin health benefits, and a dry scalp is no exception; it will moisturize the scalp. Moreover, it has antifungal and antibacterial properties that will help you reduce the risk of infections. It will also help you to treat atopic dermatitis.

You can apply a small amount of oil directly to the scalp, and massage it into the skin. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes, then wash your hair as you usually would. It will help you with dry scalp but also make your hair silky smooth.

Mashed Bananas


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Bananas are moisturizing and nourishing, which makes them best for treating dry scalp. In addition to being moisturizing. They are a natural antimicrobial, and these two benefits will help you to clear the dry scalp.

Mash or blend a banana with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Mixing it with a blender will make it easier to wash it out of the hair. Massage your scalps and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Egg and Yogurt


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Yogurt and egg contain unique benefits that will treat dry scalp. Yogurt is soothing on the skin and exfoliating; on the other hand, eggs’ fat and protein content will nourish and protect the scalp by preventing the scalp from radical damage at the cellular level.

To use this remedy, you should take a few tablespoons of plain yogurt with no added sugar and mix in one well-beaten egg. Massage it into the hair and scalp, and wait for 10 minutes before washing it. Wash your hair with lukewarm or cold water, or the egg may cook and cause difficulties in removing your hair.

How to Prevent Dry Scalp and Dandruff?

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You can completely avoid dandruff and dry scalp by preventing them from happening. This is how most people manage the symptoms over the long term. Generally, the flakes will come and go. 

Also Read: Quick Tips and Tricks to Grow Hair Faster

Preventions for Dandruff:


Source: medicalnewstoday

Prevent dandruff with a special anti-dandruff shampoo that will help you to manage the condition and prevent itching and flakiness. You can use it once every week depending upon the condition of your hair. Also, if there is a chance that you can get dandruff, you should wash your hair regularly with a mild shampoo. However, you must ensure to rinse out all the shampoo. Spend some time out in the sun daily; some research shows that ultraviolet light exposure will help you control Dandruff.

Preventions for Dry Scalp:


Source: medicalnewstoday.com

Avoid using hair products containing harsh chemicals, like bleach and alcohol. These ingredients can dry out the scalp. You should also nourish your hair and dry your scalp by oiling your hair. Oil your hair at least once a week to rejuvenate the dry scalp. You can also alternatively change between different hair oils for your scalp to grow stronger. Also, use oily hair products to build upon the scalp. 


Dandruff vs dry scalp are usually mistaken for one another, but they both have their unique traits at the end of the day. The best way to care for both conditions should remember to treat the scalp with care and attention like you do for the rest of your skin on the body.

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