Dandruff vs. dry scalp: Causes, treatment, and prevention

Dandruff vs. dry scalp: Causes, treatment, and prevention

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A dry scalp could cause dandruff, however the two situations are distinct.

Dandruff causes the scalp to flake and will trigger seen flakes on clothes or within the hair. In some instances, it is because of a fungal or different scalp an infection. Dry scalp, against this, happens when the scalp doesn’t produce or maintain sufficient moisture.

Understanding the distinction between dandruff and a dry scalp can assist with selecting the best remedy.

Dry scalp

A dry scalp happens when the scalp doesn’t have sufficient oil for the pores and skin to really feel lubricated.

Like different types of dry pores and skin, this could trigger itching, flaking, and irritation. It may possibly additionally trigger the hair to look dry, since oil from the scalp helps situation the hair.

Folks with dry pores and skin are extra susceptible to dry scalp. Because of this lots of the issues that trigger dry pores and skin may also trigger a dry scalp together with:

  • dry air, notably in the course of the winter months
  • extreme washing
  • pores and skin situations, corresponding to eczema


The scalp, like the remainder of the pores and skin, sheds useless pores and skin cells. Dandruff happens when this course of quickens. Dandruff flakes are literally useless pores and skin cells.

The sooner the scalp sheds useless pores and skin, the more severe dandruff turns into. Some components can alter the speed at which the pores and skin sheds.

In accordance with the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers don’t absolutely perceive what causes dandruff. Potential causes of dandruff embody:

  • fungal infections of the scalp
  • oils secreted by the scalp
  • sensitivity to substances, corresponding to hair merchandise

These three components may match collectively to make some dandruff worse. For instance, individuals with fungal scalp infections might develop worse dandruff if they’ve delicate pores and skin or a really oily scalp.

Most individuals have a fungus known as Malassezia dwelling on their scalp that doesn’t trigger any issues. Nonetheless, in individuals with dandruff, this fungus causes irritation and flakes. This irritation could also be because of the means the fungus interacts with different components.

A 2016 examine discovered an in depth relationship between the presence of sure scalp micro organism and dandruff.

Folks with a dry scalp might discover flakes shedding from their scalp. Not like true dandruff flakes, nonetheless, the flakes related to dry scalp are typically smaller and whiter.

Dandruff flakes are bigger and could also be yellow-tinged or look oily. Whereas each dandruff and dry scalp have a tendency to come back and go, dandruff that is because of a fungal an infection is unlikely to get higher with out remedy. Dry scalp, nonetheless, might enhance with much less frequent shampooing.

Each situations could make the scalp itchy and irritated. If signs are extreme, individuals with both situation might scratch their scalp so often that it turns crimson or develops small sores.

Variations between dandruff and dry scalp

Most individuals discover it troublesome to inform the distinction between dandruff and dry scalp, and additionally it is doable to have each dandruff and a dry scalp. Typically, flakes usually tend to be dandruff:

  • if the scalp feels oily
  • when there’s intense scalp itching even when the scalp doesn’t really feel dry
  • if the hair seems to be greasy

Each dandruff and dry scalp can often be managed at dwelling. Nonetheless, some scalp situations can appear to be dandruff.

Scalp psoriasis, for instance, causes redness, flakes, and itching however is brought on by an autoimmune dysfunction. A type of extreme dandruff known as seborrheic dermatitis could cause intense, painful irritation.

Folks ought to see a physician for a flaky scalp:

  • if there are different signs, corresponding to redness or sores
  • if dwelling remedies don’t work
  • if there are open wounds on the pinnacle or face

Folks with autoimmune issues and continual diseases ought to discuss to their physician earlier than treating dandruff. Signs that resemble dandruff could also be on account of one other situation, and a weakened immune system will increase the probabilities {that a} scalp situation will rapidly worsen.

Most instances of dandruff can simply be handled at dwelling. Folks with dandruff ought to purpose to shampoo their hair with anti-dandruff shampoo recurrently. This may deal with many underlying causes of dandruff, together with minor fungal infections.

Most dandruff shampoos comprise pyrithione, and plenty of various kinds of anti-dandruff shampoo are obtainable on-line.

One other choice to deal with dandruff is coal tar shampoo. Nonetheless, this shampoo might change the colour of sunshine hair, so individuals with blonde or grey hair might desire another choice.

Dandruff shampoo can have a powerful scent. Some individuals might want to alternate between dandruff shampoo and conventional shampoo, or shampoo with a unique shampoo instantly following remedy with dandruff shampoo.

Individuals who desire pure cures, or who dislike the scent of dandruff shampoo, might want to attempt tea tree oil shampoo. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties.

An previous examine discovered {that a} 5-percent tea tree oil shampoo might successfully deal with dandruff with out inflicting severe uncomfortable side effects. Nonetheless, there’s a lack of latest analysis to again this declare up.

Folks whose dandruff doesn’t enhance with dwelling remedy ought to see a physician. Figuring out the reason for the dandruff — which could possibly be a bacterial or fungal an infection — might be useful. Prescription-strength remedies often clear up dandruff.

The concept that poor hygiene causes dandruff is a fable. Going lengthy durations of time with out shampooing, nonetheless, might make dandruff extra seen.

As researchers don’t absolutely perceive what causes dandruff, it’s unclear if it may be prevented.

In most individuals, dandruff is a continual situation that tends to go away after which come again. Whereas some individuals assume that way of life adjustments enhance their signs, there’s little analysis on this subject.

It might be doable to stop dry scalp by:

  • utilizing much less irritating shampoos
  • switching to a moisturizing shampoo
  • shampooing the hair much less often
  • utilizing a humidifier to maintain the pores and skin from getting dry
  • consuming extra water

Dandruff stays a thriller to many medical doctors who don’t perceive how a fungus that’s innocent on one particular person’s head could cause extreme dandruff on one other particular person. There aren’t any ensures with any dandruff remedy. There isn’t any solution to predict who will develop dandruff, or how extreme it is going to be.

Each dandruff and dry scalp are annoying however not dangerous. With dwelling remedy, they often go away.

Individuals who don’t see enhancements with dwelling remedy ought to take into account that the issue may be one thing apart from dandruff. Solely a physician can conclusively diagnose the reason for a flaky scalp.

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