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Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: Get to Know Whether You Have One – Or Both!

We all had issues with our hair. It could range from split ends or hair that doesn’t want to be tamed to something serious like alopecia. If you’re lucky, dandruff or dry scalp will pay you a visit.

Wait, how will you know the difference between the two?

Check out this rundown of dandruff vs dry scalp and find out what you can do about it.

Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: Which is Which?

Dry scalp and dandruff have similar characteristics, which you will learn more about later. What exactly are they?

Historically known as pityriasis capitis, dandruff or scurf, dandruff is the excessive shedding of dead skin cells from your scalp. Think of it as snowflakes coming from your head, which is why you avoid any shirt in dark color.

On the other hand, dry scalp comes with itching and leads to flaking of skin. It is white in color and often mistaken as dandruff. The most common cause of this condition is dehydration of your sebaceous glands that leads to dryness.

Here are some of the causes of dandruff:

Overproduction of oil in your scalp’s sebaceous glands, which in turn, joins forces with dirt, sweat, bacteria, and dead cells

Poor hygiene practices such as infrequent washing of hair or inadequate rinsing

Genetic predisposition wherein those with thick, curly hair are more at risk

Poor hydration of sebaceous glands

Existence of skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis

Here are other causes of dry scalp:

Lack of water intake

Existence of skin conditions such as psoriasis

Cold and dry climate zone, which is why dry scalp is more common during winter

Shampooing too often, which removes the natural oils that keep your scalp hydrated

Applying harsh products on your scalp and hair

Use of hair care products that trap the bacteria on your scalp, thereby creating an environment conducive for dandruff growth

Say Hello to the Symptoms of Dandruff and Dry Scalp

You know that white flakes are the common characteristic between dandruff and dry scalp. What’s the difference between the two, especially in terms of symptoms?

Here are the symptoms of dandruff:

White, yellowish white, or gray flakes, which are combination of sweat, oil, and hair products you use

Greasy or oily texture of the flakes

Flakes cling to the scalp, which makes them more difficult to remove

Flakes can be as big as quarter inch

Redness in scalp

Itching and irritation that doesn’t go away even after washing

Scalp odor

In the case of dry scalp, below are the symptoms:

Small, white flakes

Flakes are loosely attached to your scalp and come off easily.

Often accompanied by dry skin

Itching of the scalp

Given these symptoms, what do you have? Dandruff or dry scalp?

Then, Bid Goodbye to Your Crowning Glory’s Head Condition
Here’s the next question: are there treatments available against dandruff or dry scalp?

The answer is yes!

When it comes to dandruff, anti-dandruff shampoos are your best options. In looking for the best anti-dandruff shampoo, make sure it has tea tree oil ingredient in it.

It balances the pH levels in your scalp and has antibacterial properties, thereby minimizing, if not eliminating the possibility of dandruff formation.

You can try Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree products to help you against dandruff. It has wide range of products you can choose from to help you say goodbye to dandruff. Apart from tea tree oil.

Here are other ways to treat dandruff:

  • Medicated shampoos with zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole


  • Use shampoos with salicylic acid to remove the buildup of dead skin cells on your scalp


  • Minimize the use of greasy or waxy hair styling products


  • Avoid scratching your scalp to prevent further damage


What about dry scalp?

Remember that keeping your scalp hydrated is the simplest, yet effective way to address dry scalp condition. Thankfully, your kitchen is a haven for dry scalp treatment.

Honey, olive oil, and coconut oil can be a great conditioner. You can also try this deep treatment to fight dry scalp, which I also do at home:

Step #1 – In a bowl, mix two egg yolks, two teaspoons olive oil, and one-eight cup of water

Step #2 – Apply the mixture on your hair after shampooing, starting from root to tip

Step #3 – Let it stay for 15 minutes before rinsing the mixture with warm water.

Aside from home remedies, here are other ways to treat it:

  • Drink lots of water to maintain hydration in your skin and scalp


  • Brush your scalp using a boar bristle brush or vegan sisal hairbrush before washing your hair


  • Consider professional products to address dry scalp.


  • Wash your hair with cool water


  • Allow natural oils to get back to your scalp by washing your hair every other day


Prevent these Hair Conditions with These Simple and Effective Tips

I have good news for you: there are simple yet effective ways you can do to stop these hair conditions from happening.

Whether you don’t want dry scalp or dandruff – or both – from paying a visit, make sure you do these tricks:​

  • Shampoo less frequently, or at least every other day


  • Minimize the use of hair styling products such as hairspray or gel


  • Aim for balanced diet, which includes zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins


  • Manage your stress levels to avoid compromising your body’s natural defenses


  • Don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist, especially if the symptoms didn’t get better despite the treatments you applied


  • Go out and bask under the sun – but don’t forget to apply sunscreen


  • Buy a humidifier, which is also helpful during winter

Don’t worry. Dandruff and dry scalp are manageable conditions and something you can get away with. Nonetheless, these conditions won’t go away unless you do something about it. Take note of

these tips and you are on your way towards healthy hair and scalp.

Got some more questions on how to say goodbye to dandruff or dry scalp? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

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