Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp- Know The Difference With 5 Brilliant Ingredients To Use

    Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp- Know The Difference And Solutions

    Wondering what’s the difference between dandruff vs dry scalp? Let’s find out. If you have flaking or dry scalp you might often confuse it with dandruff. But this could also be a sign of dry scalp. Both the issues have the same symptoms and signs and appear the same. The signs are the appearance of flakes and an itchy scalp. The signs might be the same but one should know that both the cases are different and separate hair problems are there in each condition.

    When a person has a dry scalp, usually their skin gets irritated and flakes off. In the case of dandruff, the main cause is too much oil present on their scalp. The excess oil buildup will eventually cause the skin cells to gather in one place and shed. Once you get to know which condition you have, it becomes easier to get the accurate treatment that will help you get rid of the condition. This will help you banish the condition for all good reasons.

    Let’s see what are the causes and symptoms of both conditions so that you can easily differentiate between the two.

    Causes And Symptoms

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    When your skin has very little moisture content, you are likely to have a dry scalp. The skin on the scalp will become irritated and eventually flake off. You can also notice other parts of your body like your arms and legs, if they are extremely dry, your scalp is most likely to remain dry. There are some factors that can lead to having a dried scalp like:

    • Cold and dry hair.
    • A condition called contact dermatitis is caused by a reaction to some products that you apply like shampoo, hairspray, or styling gel.
    • Older age

    The skin cells present on your scalp and your body multiples in general when your boy requires more of them in number. Later they die and results in their shredding. Dandruff vs dry scalp has one significant difference which is that skin cells present on the scalp are believed to shed more quickly as compared to dandruff.

    Another difference between dandruff vs dry scalp is seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff is also called seborrheic dermatitis. It is a different condition that turns your skin oily, scaly, and red. In dandruff white or yellow scales usually flake off, unlike only white in the case of dry scalp. The white and yellow flakes from dandruff. You can get dandruff in all the places where oil glands are present in your body. This might include eyebrows, armpits, groin, and along the sides of the nose. When it is present in babies, it is referred to as cradle cap.

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    One notable difference between dandruff vs dry scalp is that a fungus named Malassezia is responsible for dandruff or it triggers dandruff. This fungus usually lives on the scalp. Some people have too much Malassezia which causes their skin cells to multiply faster than usual. There are few factors that are responsible for Malassezia to multiply faster like stress, hormones, and age.

    Some people have many misconceptions regarding dandruff-like not bathing for 1 or 2 days or keeping hygiene causes dandruff, however, it is not so. Having dirty hair is not responsible for dandruff but not washing them for long may cause dandruff to occur. One more difference to note between dandruff vs dry scalp is that dandruff flakes look oily and they are bigger as compared to dry flakes.

    When babies have cradle caps, their scalp appears crusty and scaly. There are many differences between dandruff and dry scalp, but the similarity between both is that they make your scalp itchy and irritated.

    Some of the main differences between dandruff vs dry scalp are mentioned below in points for reference:

    1. Dandruff has oily and large flakes that appear white or yellow whereas dry scalp is not oily.
    2. The flakes in case of dry scalp appear smaller than dandruff.
    3. Both make your scalp itchy which makes it the only similarity between both.
    4. Dandruff makes skin red, oily, and scaly white dry scalp does not.
    5. One common way to figure out the difference between dandruff vs dry scalp is that in the case of dry scalp other parts of your body like arms and legs will also be dry, unlike dandruff.

    Once you note down the differences carefully, it is important to see a doctor and find out if you require treatment for your condition or it can be treated on its own using home remedies.

    Let’s find out when you need to see a doctor when you have dandruff or dry scalp issues.

    When To See A Doctor

    Mostly, it is easy and possible for you to treat dandruff problems at home using some shampoos, conditioners, and home remedies if needed. You may also use over-the-counter medications and masks to get your condition treated. However, if you have been struggling with dandruff or dry scalp for long or used all the techniques possible at home to remove them.

    Your doctor will easily determine if you are having a dry scalp or dandruff by just having a look at your hair because they are familiar with the differences between dandruff vs dry hair. They may also rule out different conditions like psoriasis or eczema, which generally cause flaky skin on your scalp.

    Once you have figured out possible differences between dandruff vs dry scalp, you can easily use different treatment options to get your condition treated.

    Treatment For Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp

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    If you are having a dry scalp, you have to wash your hair using a gentle shampoo and then use a conditioner that’s moisturizing in nature. Another way you can differentiate between dandruff vs dry scalp is by applying any light moisturizer to the scalp before you sleep. Once you wake up, notice your hair and scalp carefully. If the cause of flakes is dry scalp, they will easily vanish once you take shower in the morning. If it is dandruff it is likely to stay on your scalp even after taking a good shower.

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    You can also visit a hairstylist as they may help in performing dry scalp treatment using steam. This will help in providing more moisture to the scalp and keep your hair healthy.

    If you have mild dandruff, you have to wash your scalp and hair every day using a gentle shampoo so that the amount of oil in your hair gets reduced and dandruff vanishes. In case you have severe dandruff, washing your hair daily with gentle shampoo is not a great solution, instead use a shampoo that is specifically made for dandruff.

    Mostly all the shampoos specially designed to treat dandruff contain certain medications that can kill the fungus responsible for causing dandruff on your scalp by removing the flaky skin. Here are some components present in those shampoos so that you can bring one home by taking a look at the ingredients mentioned above.

    Pyriothione Zinc

    This is an antifungal drug that helps to kill the fungus present on your scalp. This fungus is a major cause of flaky skin. Shampoos having only this ingredient with normal ingredients is good enough and safe to be used on a regular or daily basis in case of mild dandruff.

    Selenium Sulfide

    This particular ingredient reduces the fungus by preventing a lot of skin cells from dying and gathering. In case you have grey or blonde hair, make sure you seek advice from your doctor before using any shampoo that has selenium sulfide in it as it can sometimes change the color of your hair.


    This shampoo or ingredient will kill the fungus that is responsible for causing dandruff. You have to take a prescription from your doctor and buy it over the counter. This is amazing for getting rid of dandruff and hair issues.

    Salicylic Acid

    This ingredient helps by removing excess scale from the scalp before it starts to flake. But in most people, using salicylic acid has also resulted in more drying of the scalp which will, in turn, cause more flaking or dry scalp. You have to seek advice from healthcare providers before switching from your normal shampoo to this one.

    Coal tar

    This ingredient hen present inside the shampoo will slow down the shedding and growth of skin cells on your scalp which is a major cause of the appearance of dandruff or dry scalp. But, you should know that tar-based shampoos might also change the hair color in case your hair is grey or blonde already.

    An alternative remedy for dandruff-related problems on your scalp is using tea tree oil. It is a natural ingredient having amazing antifungal properties, as you already know fungus is the main cause behind dandruff. A study from the year 2012 stated that using a 5% tea tree shampoo helped many people reduce scaling in their scalp without any sort of side effects. But, some people are allergic to this oil, you can perform a patch test before using it or ask your doctor about the shampoo. If you already have any sort of swelling or redness on your face, do not use tea tree oil shampoo.

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    It does not matter which shampoo you are trying for your hair, make sure you carefully read all the mentioned instructions on that bottle and follow each one without fail. Also, for those who cannot decide which shampoo to use, you can always seek advice from your doctor on the same. Sometimes, you might have to try a few brands before finding the one that suits your scalp and hair type.

    Once your dandruff has improved, you can just cut off the days you were using the shampoo. If you have very stubborn dandruff, it is best that you visit a doctor and ask them to prescribe a stronger shampoo for your scalp. Doctors also give steroid lotions sometimes.

    Basically, another difference between dandruff vs dry scalp is that dry scalp can be cured easily by applying a goo oil and shampoo whereas dandruff is not completely curable. Most people might have to manage various symptoms related to dandruff in the long term. Usually, once you get rid of flakes, they are likely to come back. Treating your dandruff using a special shampoo prescribed by a doctor can manage the condition of your hair and prevent flakiness or itching the next time.

    Let’s see some ways you can easily prevent the issue.

    Prevention Of Dandruff vs Dry Scalp

    Below given are some amazing tips or can follow to prevent both dandruff and dry scalp if they have any.

    If you have mild dandruff, try to wash your hair more often using antidandruff shampoos and make sure you rinse all the shampoo applied on your hair.

    Try to avoid using some hair products that have harsh chemicals like alcohol or bleach. These ingredients are harsh and cause drying of the scalp quickly. Also, try to avoid oily hair products in case of dandruff as it will eventually buildup on the scalp.

    Give your hair some time ad spend 10 to 15 minutes in the morning sun. There are a few pieces of evidence that suggest that exposure to UV light has helped people fight their dandruff. But, make sure you do not sit in the sun for hours altogether because it will increase the risk of acquiring skin cancer.

    Perform deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and other techniques that relax your body to manage stress. This will keep your body healthy internally and you are likely to have great skin and hair.

    You can also take a hot oil treatment to help treat your dry scalp. It relaxes your head and keeps your hair healthy. This was everything you needed to know about the differences between dandruff vs dry scalp.


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