Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp

Did you know that there’s a difference between having a dry scalp and having dandruff? There is, and other scalp conditions are often mistaken for having dandruff.

Since skin cells are so small, most of the time your skin cells are replaced, or flake off without you noticing. There are a number of things that can cause skin cells to shed more often in large oily patches. These patches are what make a difference between dandruff and dry scalp.

Some Causes of Dandruff:

  • Allergies to hair products, or their ingredients
  • Some medications can have a side effect of dandruff
  • Eczema, psoriasis, and other dermatitis can cause a form of dandruff
  • A fungus called Malassezia
  • Certain illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Having a compromised immune system

Some Causes of Dry Scalp:

  • Washing your hair with hard water can remove needed oils and moisture
  • Being dehydrated or not eating right can effect your oil glands in your scalp
  • Over blow drying, using curling irons, flat irons, and other heated hair tools
  • Over using shampoos, or using ones that contain sulfates (read the ingredients)
  • Over using hair products that have harsh chemicals such as a high alcohol content
  • Simply dry weather


Dry Scalp



What is dandruff??
Dandruff is a mixture of dead skin cells, and sebum (oil) clumped together. It usually has a yellow tint to it and can be flaky. In severe cases there’s actual scalp tissue, bacteria, and/or fungus in the mix too.
What is dry scalp??
Dry scalp is dehydrated and/or shedding dead skin cells. It usually is white in color and flaky.
Need Help with Dry Scalp?
  • Drink plenty of water. It’ll help keep your skin (scalp) hydrated.
  • Don’t wash your hair daily
  • Minimize the use of heated hair tools, or use cool air to if you must blow dry
  • Use a shampoo that’s specialized for dry scalp
  • Try a hot oil treatment of coconut, olive, or caster oil!!!
  • Use essential oils such as: tea tree, rosemary, or peppermint, which all help dry scalp
Need Help with Dandruff?
  • Try a specialized shampoo that’s sulfur, tar, or zinc based
  • In extreme cases prescription steroid creams are helpful
  • Use lukewarm water to wash hair so no further damage is done to the scalp
  • Identify allergens and irritants of your skin, then avoid them if possible
  • If all else fails, it may be time to visit a dermatologist
  • Stressed? Try to relax. Stress can cause oil glands to go out of whack. Either producing too much oil (causing pimples) or not producing enough (irritating current conditions)

I’ve never had to personally deal with dandruff. Knock on wood that I won’t have to. Dry scalp is a different story! My favorite way to deal with dry scalp is to use hot oil treatments!! I have a few concoctions that I pull out, so be on the watch for that!!
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