Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp – How To Recognize And Heal Both?

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Dandruff and dry scalps are a daily problem—I can understand your problem. I also suffer from this. In the winter season, my hair becomes frizzy. Dandruff and dry scalp are visible on the scalp. 

Many of us deal with this problem regardless of the season. Dandruff vs dry scalp—- both are the cause of itchy scalp. 

For many years I suffered from this issue, but now I have solutions. This is the reason I am here to write this article. So, keep on reading till the end point of this article to get an effective solution to get rid of dandruff and dry scalp. 

Dandruff vs Dry scalp: What’s The Difference?

Dandruff vs Dry scalp What’s The Difference

Dandruff vs dry scalp are both the cause of itchy scalp and frizzy hair. However, they are both different conditions despite their similarities. 

A dry scalp happens when your scalp can not produce enough moisture. As a result, it makes the scalp dry. This condition of hair scalp is common in the winter session. 

On the other hand, dandruff is when scalp dead skin cells release more quickly than the dry scalp. In some cases, fungal infections or seborrheic dermatitis can be the cause of dandruff. 

We have used a lot of home remedies for both dry scalp and dandruff, but these solutions can’t help us out permanently. It means you need to dig out the cause of dandruff vs dry scalp. 

Dry scalp vs Dandruff: Causes

Not sure what is the exact cause of dandruff and dry scalp. And, without knowing the proper cause, you can’t cure it properly, right? This part of this article is going to discuss the root cause of dry scalp and dandruff. 

Causes Of Dry Scalp

Causes Of Dry Scalp

When your scalp does not produce enough moisture, as a result, it is a dry scalp. Enough lubrication or moisture is needed to protect the scalp, otherwise, the scalp will be dry and make your hair frizzy. 

However, a dry scalp can be the cause of the itch, irritation, and hair fall. According to ADD, the causes of dry scalp are: 

  • Dry and cold weather. 
  • Smoking cigs. 
  • Kidney diseases, thyroid disease, and diabetes. 
  • Low immune system. 
  • Low vitamins and minerals.
  • Skin diseases like—  atopic dermatitis,  seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis. 

Causes Of Dandruff

Causes Of Dandruff

The most common cause of dandruff is when dead skin cells enhance. It happens when this process goes into over. As much as scalp sheds release, you face worse dandruff. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), they are not 100% sure of the cause of dandruff. Dandruff might be several reasons:

  • Reaction to certain hair products. 
  • Fungal infections. 
  • Huge oil release on the scalp. 

A scientific report in 2016 found some scalp bacteria are the reason behind dandruff. But, it needs more research to prevent the exact cause of dandruff.  

On the other hand, Clare Wightman MS, PAC, Dermatology states that the main cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. It is a condition where your scalp turns skin red, oily, and scaly. 

The yellow or white scales flake off and create dandruff. Wherever you have oil glands, for example, the chest, eyebrows, upper back, two sides of your nose, ears, and groin; you can get seborrheic dermatitis. 

She also discovered the fungus called Malassezia. It has the ability to trigger dandruff. This fungus normally lives generally on the scalp. If someone has this fungus, it can increase dead skin cells more quickly than usual. 

Here are certain factors that can increase  Malassezia fungus on the scalp:

  • Hormones. 
  • Age.
  • Stress.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. 
  • Underlying medical condition. 

Many people think that dirty hair is the only cause of dandruff, not at all. But, if you avoid washing your hair for many days, the oil can contribute to flakes.  

What Are The Symptoms Of  Dandruff vs Dry scalp?

What Are The Symptoms Of Dandruff vs Dry scalp

The following chart presents the main symptoms of dandruff vs dry scalp. Let’s check it out. 

Dandruff Dry Scalp
Oily, large flakes that are yellow or white X
Large flakes of skin X
Smaller, dry flakes X
Itchy scalp
Oily, red, scaly skin X
Irritated skin X
Dry skin on other parts of your body

When do You Need To Visit A Trichologist?

When You Need To Visit A Trichologist

Dandruff vs dry scalp— both you can treat at home.  Wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo. On this note, I would like to say, anti-dandruff shampoo can rough your hair. ‘Your hair quality may be decreased by dandruff removal shampoo. 

After using home remedies, for instance, apply lemon on your scalp or often apply hair oil(coconut oil, jojoba oil). If these remedies do not help you out, this is the time you should visit a Trichologist*. 

A trichologist can diagnose your scalp and hair condition, they can understand which treatment you need to follow for better results. 

Note: “A trichologist is a specialist who focuses on trichology — the study of diseases or problems related to the hair and scalp”. 

Dandruff vs Dry scalp: Treatment

Dandruff vs Dry scalp Treatment

Let’s see the treatment of dandruff vs dry scalp

  • If you have dandruff, you can use anti-dandruff shampoo instead of normal shampoo. 

Here are some examples:

Selenium sulfide: It can prevent cells from dying off. But it can change hair color. Therefore, you should ask your doctor before using selenium sulfide shampoo. 

Pyrithione zinc: it is an antifungal drug. It can kill scalp fungus. You can use it every day. 

Ketoconazole: it can work against the cause of dandruff.  Its brand name is Nizoral. 

Salicylic acid: it is a beta hydroxy acid that can remove extra scalp before it can flake. 

Zinc pyrithione: it is a complex of Zinc. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties that can help treat dandruff. 


  • Plus, you can apply ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) on your scalp. To use ACV, you need to follow some processes. You can take 1 spoonful of ACV and mix it with 200ml water. Apply the mixture directly on your scalp, softly massage on your scalp for 5 to 7 minutes, and wash them with gentle hair shampoo. ACV is an anti-inflammatory that can reduce the itchiness of the scalp. 
  • Don’t avoid chemical hair products, which can make your hair harsh. It can be the cause of hair fall too. Plus, these ingredients (alcohol and bleach) can dry your scalp.
  • To get back moisture, you can apply bananas on your hair and scalp. Bananas have natural antimicrobial properties, which help moisturize hair and scalp. 
  • Another natural component is Aloe vera. This herbal product has anti-inflammatory properties, which work on red and yellow skin to turn it into moisturizing skin. 
  • To maintain your hair quality(density, smoothness, and dandruff free), you can use Jojoba, tea tree, and coconut oil. Tea tree is an antiseptic oil that works against bacteria, Jojoba is an effective moisturizing oil, and coconut oil can boost antibacterial properties on your scalp and cool down your hair too. 

You can make hair oil based on these three natural oils. You can apply them two days in a week and leave them for two to three hours and wash your hair out with shampoo. 

Preventing Dry Scalp And Dandruff

Preventing Dry Scalp And Dandruff

Here, I mentioned some tips to prevent dry scalp and dandruff:

  • Drink sufficient water. 
  • Don’t use hot water when you take a shower. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Make sure, probiotics, Vitamin B, zinc, Omega 3  fatty acids, and other minerals are included in your diet food. 
  • Try to include Yoga and meditation in your daily routine. 
  • Don’t take unnecessary stress and anxiety. Stress can decrease the immunity system.
  • You can take 5 minutes of UV rays or sun rays. Remember only 5 minutes because UV  rays can have effects on your overall skin. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

You have reached the end of this article. Till up here, I discussed everything about dandruff vs dry scalp, though you must read below because these are the most frequent questions that people are asked regarding this matter which I have answered below. 

1. Which Is the Best Shampoo For Dandruff?

  • Nizoral A-D.
  • Harry’s Extra-Strength Anti-Dandruff 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner.
  • Jason Dandruff Relief.
  • Neutrogena T/Gel.
  • Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength.
  • Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

2. Can Shampoo Give You Dandruff?

The shampoo is not the cause of dandruff. Dandruff is caused by natural microbes. These are present on everyone’s scalp. 

3. How Do You Hydrate Your Scalp?

  • Coconut oil. 
  • Moisturizing shampoo.
  • Aloe vera-based products.
  • Post-shower hair tonic.
  • Exfoliating scalp masks. 

Final Words

Dandruff vs dry scalp are both causes of the itchy scalp but are different conditions. However, dandruff is not curable. You can manage the symptoms by applying the above things and maintaining them. 

Well, if you are already following the process which I mentioned above, please feel free to share in the comment section.  Your experience can help my readers and me a lot.

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