Confused Between Dandruff & Dry Scalp? Know The Difference From An Expert

Here is all you need to know about these conditions of dandruff and dry scalp and the difference between them. 

Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaUpdated at: Dec 02, 2021 15:01 IST
Confused Between Dandruff & Dry Scalp? Know The Difference From An Expert

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Most of us love the winter season for the festivities and joy that it brings in but for some it could be a real struggle to make peace with the skin and hair issues that crop up. As the moisture in the air dips, many struggle with dry skin and a flaky scalp. However, the biggest concern here is to actually differentiate between two common hair conditions faced i.e. dandruff and dry scalp. It is hard to find a cure without actually knowing the main concern. In order to help you find the right treatment and to put an end to the confusion between these two hair conditions, here is everything you need to know about dry scalp and dandruff along with the symptoms of these conditions and their causes from Dr. Vibhuti DhaundiyalDhaundiyal,  Cosmetologist, Aesthetic Physician, MBBS, PGDCC, DAM

What is Dry Scalp? 

As the name itself suggests, dry scalp is a condition in which the scalp lacks moisture and hydration, which leaves it to be dry. Dry scalp leads to several symptoms such as flaky, itchy and irritated scalp. Where dry scalp can be caused due to increasing age, contact dermatitis caused due to the reaction by several hair care products and sometimes due to weather conditions like extremely cold and dry climate along with overwashing your hair. As all these activities lead to stripping off the natural oils of the hair, it leaves your scalp to be really dry and hence makes it flaky and your hair strands dry and damaged. 

Also Read: Fight Dry And Flaky Winter Skin With These 5 Amazing DIY Face Masks

In order to treat a dry scalp what you can do is wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and follow by using a moisturizing conditioner. 

Symptoms of Dry Scalp

Look out for these symptoms in order to detect the issue of dry scalp 

  • White dry flakes
  • Itchy Scalp
  • Small flakes
  • Dry skin and scalp

What is Dandruff? 

One of the most popular hair problems for which everyone will give you different advice starting from your distant relative to the lady living next door. There are many commercial hair care products available in the market which claim to help one in getting rid of dandruff, but they often leave your hair to be super dry and rough. I'm in order to treat dandruff and to find a cure for this problem, first of all it is important to know the main cause behind this condition. Dandruff is caused due to a condition known as sebum dermatitis which turns the scalp to be red, flaky and oily. Where this condition is not just limited to your scalp but can occur in any part of the body where oil glands are present. This condition of sebum dermatitis leads to shedding white or flaky scales known as dandruff. 

Also Read: Long For A Clean And Fresh Scalp? Try These 5 Home Remedies For Desired Results

Dandruff is caused due to excessive production of subul and oil in the scalp and not due to dirt and dust. 

To treat the condition of sebum dermatitis a.k.a dandruff, what you can do is wash your hair on a daily basis with a gentle shampoo and avoid the use of oil and oily products on your scalp. 

Symptoms of Dandruff

Read along to know about the symptoms of dandruff in order to understand the problem better-

  • Itchy scalp
  • Greasy hair
  • White skin flakes on scalp, eyebrows or hair
  • Scaly scalp
  • Excessive sebum production

Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp

Where we have learnt about what these hair and scalp conditions of dry scalp and dandruff are along with their treatments let us take a close look at the basic difference between these two conditions. 

  • In case of dandruff the flakes are oily and large in size where in the case of dry scalp the flakes are comparatively smaller and white in color. 
  • Both these conditions tend to cause an itchy scalp along with red and scaly skin. 
  • Dry scalp is a condition which only affects your scalp and hair whereas dandruff can affect various other parts of the body as well such as groin, armpits and eyebrows. 
  • If your  scalp feels to be oily and still sheds flakes then the problem is more likely to be dandruff where in case of dry scalp there isn’t any trace of oil, moisture or sebum in the scalp.
  • Dandruff comes along with intensely itchy scalp where in case of dry scalp one feels lack of moisturisation and nourishment.
  • Dry scalp makes your hair shafts undernourished and they seem to be very dull whereas in dandruff the hair looks greasy.
  • Where dandruff is a symptom of skin condition such as eczema, dry scalp is simply your scalp skin shedding due to excessive dryness.

This article is based upon a post by Dr. Vibhuti Dhaundiyal, Cosmetologist, Aesthetic Physician,  MBBS, PGDCC, DAM on her Instagram profile