Hair Problem

Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp: How to know the difference and top 7 effective tips to treat them

Dandruff and Dry Scalp are two different scalp conditions and many people considered them the same. But it's challenging to have any of them and either way it's difficult to see those big or small flakes on the hair. These flakes fall onto the clothes which makes people a little uncomfortable because it is noticeable to others. Many people are not able to wear their favorite black dresses.

Well, but first to treat them you need to know the difference. So, dont worry continue reading, and learn the difference between them along with its solution.

What is a Dry Scalp?

The scalp usually gets dry when it does not get enough moisture. The scalp is just like the other part of the skin and needs natural oil for its hydration. And when the production of sebum is not very much then the scalp starts to become dry and itchy as well. It can be simply done by adjusting the hair care routine on the daily basis.

What is Dandruff?

According to dermatologists, dandruff is a chronic condition that is like a mild type of seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff is quite visible when and can be easily noticeable, especially while wearing a black dress. It is caused due to fungal infection and could also cause itching as well as irritation.

What are the causes of Dry Scalp and Dandruff?


Dry Scalp

Dryness of the scalp can occur when the scalp is not able to retain enough moisture. One of the other reasons is excessively washing the hair or using products that can irritate the scalp. Along with that getting exposed to sunlight for a long time could also affect the hair or the changes in climate could also affect the scalp as well. There are various conditions that could be related to dry scalp including-

  • Actinic Keratosis

It is also called solar keratosis because it is mainly caused due to damage due to excessive exposure to sunlight.

Dandruff Causes

  • Sebaceous Gland being overactive or excessive growth of fungus

The real cause behind the dandruff is not discovered yet but it is mainly associated with fungal overgrowth mainly Malassezia sp. They have high levels of hair follicles along with that it has a sebaceous gland that helps in producing sebum which is an oily substance. This makes an ideal environment for the fungi to grow there.

Excessive oil and fungal growth when packed together create an ideal environment for them to grow. Having scalp fungus is totally normal but mainly controlled by our immunity and this could also be caused by certain deficiencies like Vitamin D3, genetic history, or ferritin.

  • Stress

According to Mayo Clinic and its reports, it has been found that stress is one of the main culprits causing white flakes on the hair. This could be any type of stress including relationship or physical stress.

  • Psoriasis

Psoriasis is one of the chronic conditions which is caused due to excessive growth of the skin cells. This growth then causes the skin cells to get collected on the surface of the scalp. This is generally a genetic problem that can be triggered due to medication, infection, or injury.

How to differentiate between Dry Scalp and Dandruff?

One of the main ways to differentiate between dry scalp and dandruff is by looking externally. As dandruff appears to be bigger and oily while in a dry scalp the skin on the scalp appears to be crusty. Here is how you can differentiate between dry scalp and dandruff on the basis of their symptoms:-

Dry Scalp


The flake appears to be much smaller

They have large white or yellow flakes

The itching is a little less

The intense is intense

There is no oiliness and the scalp does not appears red

The scalp appears oily and scaly as well

The other parts of the body also appears body.

Dandruff cannot be seen on other parts of the body.

What are the effective ways to treat Dry Scalp and Dandruff?

Omega 3


  • Using anti-dandruff shampoo is one of the great and easy choices to remove dandruff. It can be used twice a week which will easily reduce the excessive secretion of oil and in turn reduce fungal growth.
  • As proven by the dermatologist, including omega-3 in the diet can easily improve the production of sebum which will easily reduce the flaking by controlling the fungal growth.
  • A deficiency of Vitamin D3 is one of the causes of low immunity which is why some people suffer from dandruff. So, by regulating the intake of Vitamin D3 one can reduce the rapid growth of skin cells which will reduce the rapid growth of skin cells and in turn reduce dandruff.
  • Apply Tea tree oil which is considered one of the best solutions for any kind of hair problem and dandruff is one of them. This potent oil is packed with anti-microbial as well as anti-inflammatory properties which makes it great for people suffering from dandruff.

Dry Scalp

  • The dry scalp can be easily controlled by just improving the hair care routine and that is firstly by removing those sulfur-filled shampoos or conditions. Instead use those gentle shampoos and conditioners especially ones with Aloe Vera are great. Simply apply Aloe Vera to condition the scalp which can easily reduce dryness.
  • Consumption of alcohol is also one of the main reasons to have a dry scalp. So, you can simply avoid this by reducing the intake of alcohol and instead hydrating yourself with water.
  • Avoid washing the hair too much as it could strip out the natural moisture from your hair. Instead, try to wash your hair thrice a week with a good shampoo and avoid using hot water.

Note:- Be it dandruff or dry it's important to do some meditation, relaxation techniques, or yoga in order to control the stress. As many studies suggest that dandruff or dry scalp could be a result of stress.

Take Aways

Having a Dry Scalp or dandruff are two different things as one is caused due to excessive production of oil on the scalp while the other is caused when the scalp is not getting enough moisture. But one thing common between both dry scalp and dandruff scalp is that you can control them by lightly moisturizing the scalp. But it's important to know the diagnosis that whether you have dandruff or either you have dry scalp. Minor changes in the hair care routine can help in controlling both hair problems.


Q. What is the main cause of dry scalp?

Ans. One of the main causes of a dry scalp is that it results in losing moisture out of the scalp. This loss of moisture could be caused due changes in weather, overwashing hair, or taking too much stress.

Q. Which deficiency of Vitamins can cause Dry Scalp?

Ans. There are deficiencies in a few Vitamins including Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 which could cause your scalp to get dry.

Q. What type of Vitamins can cause you to have Dandruff?

Ans. There are a few Vitamins including Vitamin B2, B3, B6, and B7 that could cause to reduce immunity and hence resulting in inflammation of the scalp, then causing you to have Dandruff.

Q. Which Oil is best for dry scalp and dandruff?

Ans. There is one oil which is effective in both dry scalp and dandruff, this includes tea tree oil because it is packed with anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal property.

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