What’s The Difference Between Dry Scalp And Dandruff?

What’s The Difference Between Dry Scalp And Dandruff?

What's The Difference Between Dry Scalp And Dandruff?

The difference between dry scalp and dandruff is that they are opposites!

This seems to trip everyone up. It’s so common for people to mix up these two issues. Simply because flakes and itchiness are the two major symptoms.

It seems like that’s half the battle.¬†Figuring out what is causing the flakes.

How is dandruff different?

When you hear dandruff, you instantly think of white flakes. We usually use dandruff and flakes interchangeably. Like they’re the same thing. Even the google dictionary says that dandruff is:

small pieces of dead skin in a person’s hair.

Google Dictionary

That sounds exactly like what you’d get from dry skin. Right?

But, dandruff, scientifically, is known as a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis.[1] Dandruff is skin with excess sebum (skins natural oil). It’s more severe form is called seborrheic dermatitis.

If you’re interested, I’ve written more about why an oily scalp causes flakes here.

So dandruff isn’t the only cause of flakes. It’s just one cause.

For oily skin and dandruff

Try something that has an active ingredient to combat dandruff.

There are many kinds of dandruff shampoos but, I always recommend Nizoral for its active ingredient ketoconazole and its long lasting effects.

How is dry skin different?

Dry skin is a cause of flakes too. A dry flaky scalp is not the same as dandruff. They are complete opposites. But, the symptoms are the same. And lots of things can cause dry skin.

And dry skin is skin that doesn’t have enough sebum. That can be due to:

  • Environmental factors (too hot, too cold)
  • Scalp psoriasis
  • Other types of dermatitis/eczema

They need to be treated differently!

For dry skin

Try something more hydrating. There’s a natural tea tree shampoo made with many hydrating ingredients. It works great for flakes.

Check out the reviews for it here on Amazon.

Why do some have success getting rid of dandruff and some don’t?

For example, if you have an oily scalp with dandruff, adding more oils for moisture might make the problem even worse. Adding more fuel to the fire, so to speak. There are a few oils that don’t make dandruff worse but, not many. Or, using an anti-dandruff shampoo when you have dry skin could make it even drier and irritated.

That’s why when you do research on dandruff, some people say they stopped washing every day and that took care of the problem. And others say if they stopped washing even one day, their dandruff will be much worse. They have different problems!

Before you attempt to get rid of dandruff, make sure you don’t just have dry skin instead!

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