Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp: A Guide To Identifying & Treating These Itchy Scalp Conditions

dandruff vs dry scalp

Is your head itching and you have no clue what the matter is? Well, you could be going through a dandruff issue or you simply have a dry scalp condition. And mind you, the two are very different. Treatment for dandruff differs from the treatment for dry scalp. Therefore, it is important to understand what is dandruff and what is dry scalp to identify the cause correctly before choosing a course of treatment to stop the itchiness. Here’s an essential guide to both dandruff and dry scalp so that you can understand and identify the condition of your scalp and treat it accordingly.


What Is Dandruff


Dandruff is a fungal infection of the scalp. It can be identified by its large flaky white particles that plague the scalp. Dandruff flakes are typically oily and bigger in size. 

Along with these flakes, you will also experience itchiness and will witness flakes falling on your shoulder or pillow. 

What Is Dry Scalp


A dry scalp is merely a type of scalp and not a fungal infection. There are both dry and oily scalp types and it is based on genetics. Generally, people with frizzy and curly hair types are more likely to have dry scalp condition because their hair shafts don't sit flat on the scalp and winds up in different directions. Since this hair texture winds at the roots, the scalp tends to be naturally dry. A dry scalp can cause itchiness and irritation too and sometimes produces flakes. But it is not to be mistaken with dandruff. Dry scalp flakes are basically dry skin that is shedding. The flakes caused by dry scalps are dry and smaller in size than dandruff flakes. 


Cause Of Dandruff


Seborrheic dermatitis, a disorder that causes your skin to become greasy, irritated, and scaly, is the primary cause of dandruff. Dandruff is produced when the white or yellow scales of the skin on your scalp flake off. A fungus known as Malassezia that generally resides on your scalp can also cause dandruff. When there is too much of this fungus on your scalp, dandruff occurs. An increase in Malassezia on your scalp can be brought upon due to ageing, stress, dietary deficiencies, hormonal changes, or underlying medical conditions. Product buildup and a dirty scalp also cause the Malassezia fungus to multiply and therefore, lead to dandruff.

Cause Of Dry Scalp


Dry scalp can be genetic but it can also be caused if your body isn't hydrated enough. Dry weather can also increase the dryness of the scalp and cause flakes and itchiness. Cold air and dry air can trigger dry scalp conditions. Even shampoos, haircare products, or styling products that strip the hair and scalp of moisture and natural oils can lead to an itchy dry scalp condition.


Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp

The two scalp conditions may be similar but they are different from each other. Both dandruff and dry scalp cause the skin on your scalp to flake. Both also cause irritation and itchiness on the scalp. That's why it is difficult to differentiate between the two scalp conditions. The biggest difference between dandruff and dry scalp is that dandruff is a fungal infection of the scalp while a dry scalp is a natural condition caused by moisture loss on the scalp. Typically, dandruff flakes are oily and larger in size while dry scalp flakes are dry and smaller in size. People with naturally oily scalps are more prone to dandruff than those with naturally dry scalps. 


Treatment Of Dandruff & Scalp


Treatment Of Dandruff

You can treat dandruff by adding a clarifying shampoo to your hair wash routine. Alternate with a sulphate-free clarifying shampoo and a regular nourishing sulphate-free shampoo religiously until you see a difference. Wash your hair at least twice a week. You can also try an anti-dandruff scalp mask or DIY scalp scrub before the recommended shampoo and conditioner routine to get rid of dandruff quicker.


Enriched with cacao, coconut, and coffee extracts, this clarifying shampoo is highly nourishing too. It targets both dry scalp and dandruff and effectively removes flakes from the mane. The formula is sulphate-free and hydrating. It is an invigorating shampoo that is perfect to get rid of dandruff and scalp irritation quickly.


Treatment Of Dry Scalp

Dry scalp condition can be treated and the itchiness and flakes can be reduced too, by opting for nourishing shampoos and conditioners that are sulphate-free and paraben free. Avoid using clarifying shampoos as they can cause more dryness and flakes. You can use a clarifying shampoo once in two weeks if you like, but no more than that. Adding hair oil to your haircare routine will help relieve you of dry scalp issues. Massage your scalp with hair oil at least an hour before a hair wash for best results. 


This hair oil thoroughly hydrates the scalp and delivers essential nutrients. It helps reduce hair fall as well and nourishes the scalp so that it stays healthy and moisturised. It has an antibacterial formula that can get rid of flakes and maintain the scalp's pH balance.


Now that you've got the treatment for dandruff and the treatment for dry scalp, you can work towards enjoying a clear and healthy scalp always.


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