A dry and itchy scalp can be irritating, embarrassing and even painful. People often confuse it with dandruff and start trying out products that they do not actually need to. This results in further scalp damage and causes more discomfort. But don’t worry. We are here to help you solve both issues.

Difference between dandruff and dry scalp

Dandruff is a condition that makes your scalp itchy and flaky. Chances are you scratch your scalp and notice white flakes shedding on your clothes. These unwelcomed white flakes are dead skin cells that are shedding quickly due to a fungus called Malassezia.

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A dry scalp presents similar symptoms to dandruff, however, it occurs when the skin lacks moisture. 

The white flakes can reveal the problem you are experiencing. If you are noticing larger pieces of skin that are oily in nature, you have dandruff. Sometimes these flakes can also be slightly yellowish in colour. And if the flakes are tiny and dry and white, you have a dry scalp.

What causes dandruff and dry scalp

Dandruff is primarily caused by Malassezia Globosa, a fungus that is commonly found on everyone’s scalp. Our scalp produces natural oil to keep the moisture balanced, however, its increased quantity triggers the growth of the fungus. If the fungus grows rapidly, the normal renewal cycle of skin cells is altered, resulting in dandruff.

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Dandruff is also caused or increased by infrequent shampooing, bad diet, change in weather, hormonal fluctuations, etc.

Causes of dry scalp are pretty simple to understand. If your scalp is unable to hold or produce enough moisture, you will experience a dry scalp. Blow-drying, colouring too much, chemical straightening, nutritional deficiencies, cold weather, dehydration and stress are some of the major culprits.

How to treat dandruff and dry scalp

In the case of dandruff, seeking medical help should be your priority. There are various shampoos, hair masks and treatments that your doctor will recommend to you to maintain the pH balance of your scalp. You can also try to remove certain types of foods from your diet that may make your dandruff worse. 

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Eating more plant-based meals and staying hydrated can help to treat dry scalp. Use mild shampoos with calming ingredients like lavender and chamomile to avoid inflammation. You should also apply oil to your scalp to restore moisture and fight dryness. Lastly, seek medical help if the problem persists.

(Disclaimer: Information mentioned in the above article is for general purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult a doctor to know more about your health condition before making changes to your lifestyle.)