Dry Scalp vs Dandruff Differences Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Remedies

Dry Scalp vs Dandruff Differences Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Remedies

Is there difference between dry scalp and dandruff? Well, this is a question many people have asked. Right, there is a difference although, the two terms have been used interchangeably. So without no doubt, there must be a lot of misperception concerning these two scalp-related conditions. Learn more about the difference between dry scalp and dandruff, causes, symptoms, treatments and more

Dry Scalp vs. Dandruff: Identifying the Difference

Here we discuss the causes and symptoms of both dry scalp and dandruff that will help you tell the difference.

Dry Scalp

This condition is due loss of moisture from the scalp skin. The dryness will therefore be followed by itchiness and shedding of small flakes of skin due to scratching. Dry scalp can also be red and irritated and may make your hair to look dry and dull.

Dry Scalp Causes

Here are the potential causes of dry scalp:

  • Eczema
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Cold and dry weather
  • Hard water
  • Aging
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor diet i.e. consumption of caffeine
  • Too-frequent shampooing
  • Hair products that often contain alcohol, which can dry out your hair
  • Improper hair care including lack of oiling, unhealthy beauty habits and not bothering to condition you scalp

Scalp dandruff

Dandruff is due to excessive production of sebum and overgrowth of harmless yeast, yeast-like fungus known as malassezia. The skin will speed up its renewal process when yeast will be feeding on the excess sebum and the dead skin cells. Resultant symptoms will be frequent shedding of the skin cells on your scalp and thus visible flakes called dandruff will be borne.

The symptoms of dandruff may be similar to those of dry scalp be there slight difference. With dandruff, the major symptoms are greasy yellowish or greyish flakes with itchy scalp. The dandruff flakes are relatively large than dry scalp flakes and may be even accompanied with some foul smell.

What Causes Dandruff

Some causes of dandruff and dry scalp may be common just like the symptoms but don’t forget, they are two different things. Here we look at both internal and external causes of scalp dandruff.

Internal Causes of Dandruff
  • Improper nutrition
  • Heredity predisposition
  • Allergic reactions
  • Lack of rest
  • Emotional stress
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Poor health
External Causes of Dandruff
  • Excessive use of hair products
  • Improper use of hair-coloring products
  • Cold weather and dry indoor heating
  • Infrequent shampooing of the hair
  • Infrequent washing of hair and scalp

can dry scalp cause dandruff?

If you have been asking yourself this question then the answer is absolutely yes. According everydayhealth.com, dry scalp causes scaly flakes called dandruff. Dandruff flakes from dry scalp are usually smaller and less oily than other causes of dandruff. Fortunately, dandruff resulting from dry scalp can be easily be treated with simple products containing pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, tar, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole.

There this point which is very important to note, due to the fact that dry scalp can cause dandruff, we can therefore try dry scalp in order to prevent dandruff. But don’t forget that, there are also other causes of dandruff apart from dry scalp and such causes need to be treated may be with different medications.

Let us now focus on the effective ways to treat dry scalp and cure dandruff.

Dry Scalp vs. Dandruff Treatments and home remedies

Treatments for dry scalp may be the same since dry scalp can also cause dandruff-remember we had mentioned before that treating dry scalp will also prevent the occurrence of dry scalp dandruff. Not to forget, treatments for both dry scalp and dandruff will fundamentally depend on the causes, severity or may be the medical history of the victim. Such treatments will range from OTC products to prescribed treatment to DIY home remedies. Among the OTC product may be the shampoo for dry scalp and dandruff.

Did I just mentioned a shampoo? Well, we got another headache again! There are many shampoos in the market termed effective for dry scalps and scalp dandruff but, not all will solve your problem! Then again, how do we know which shampoo is good for dry scalp and which one suits dandruff? Don’t panic, we have a solution right here…

Good or best shampoo for dandruff and dry scalp

Depending on the severity and hair type, you should be able to find an effective shampoo that will provide faster results. Therefore a good shampoo for dry scalp and dandruff (shampoos for dry scalp and dandruff may be similar especially these we are about to explain) must be potent to clear all the scalp buildups. The ingredients found in them include salicylic acid, green tea, and tea tree oil among others

Some of the recommended shampoos to use for dry scalp and dandruff cases include:

  • Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care with Almond Oil 2-In-1 Dandruff Shampoo
  • Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Original Formula
  • Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo – Natural Essential Oil Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
  • Gentle Restorative Shampoo
  • Yes To Carrots Naturals Scalp Relief Shampoo

Remember, before application of any shampoo, you must make sure you read the instructions on the labels on the product containers. Applying wrong shampoo or wrong shampoo application procedure can just worsen the situation, and by the way, too much application of shampoo is the beginning of all sorts of dandruffs!

Having focused on shampoos, we again have another alternative. The natural home products. Many customers refers to some of these products as “natural ant-dandruff shampoo.” Some of these ingredients like tea tree oil, carrots, aloe vera and many others can be found in many shampoo brands in the market. So before you spend a lot of money buying those expensive shampoo yet the ingredients are similar, why don’t you use these powerful products with fresh ingredients? Read on to explore more on these home products for dry scalp and dandruff.

Natural home remedies for dry scalp and dandruff.

Dandruffs is not curable but it can be controlled and managed by treating dry scalp condition. You may also have dandruff resulting from other source but all the same, the natural products we are going to explore here, have the potential to treat both dry scalp and dandruff irrespective of the causes.  Just pick one remedy (remember a mixture of two or more ingredients can just make a wonderful remedy) that suits you and apply it persistently.

1.       Aloe Vera and Vinegar

Aloe vera as an antifungal, it kills all the harmful bacteria and fungus on the scalp hence removing dandruffs. It soothes and moisturizes dry scalp and remove dead skins and therefore a good flaky scalp treatment that will eventually prevent the occurrence of dandruff. We also have to give credit to its minerals and vitamins that nourishes that scalp skin without dandruff.

  • Mix fresh extract of aloe Vera with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • Shampoo and condition your hair
  • Apply this mixture and leave it for some time then wash it off thoroughly using lukewarm water

2.       Baking soda

Baking soda assist in treating most of the scalp conditions. It help optimizing acidity levels on the scalp hence maintaining the correct moisture level on the scalp. It is also proved anti-fungal, this ensures that bacteria that may cause dandruffs are removed. It also has an absorbing potential that keeps the correct hair moisture in place eliminating dryness.

  • Mix one cup of baking soda with three cups of water to form paste
  • Apply it on a damp hair and leave it for some time and wash it thoroughly with warm water.
  • Apply it twice a week for good outcomes

3.       Apple Cider Vinegar

Another long-term serving natural remedy for dry scalp and of course a better solution for dandruff is apple cider vinegar. It has a couple of roles, I have to mention this. It restores the pH balance of the scalp and thus limiting the growth of yeast that can cause dandruff. This is another wonderful hair clarifier and clean blocked pores as well and hence maintain the optimum content of moisture on the scalp.

  • Mix equal amount of apple cider vinegar and water.
  • Add 15 drops of tea tree oil
  • Apply the mixture on your scalp and massage properly
  • Rinse your hair and scalp after 15 minutes
  • Repeat this remedy 2-3 times in a week

4.       Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a natural dandruff treatment that clears the scalp buildups and also optimizes acidity levels on the scalp which ensures correct moisture content. It contains vitamins for healthier skin and strong hair growth. This is how to apply this remedy:

  • Cut a ripe lemon into two halves and extract the juice
  • Apply it on your scalp directly
  • Massage it keenly and leave it for five minutes
  • Rinse your hair with cool water

5.       coconut oil

This is another natural product that make a good treatment for dry scalp and dandruff. According to top10homeremedies.com, “Coconut oil helps eliminate dandruff due to its antifungal properties. It also moisturizes dry scalp and provides relief from itching.” Procedure of application:

  • To two cups of coconut oil, add a cup of lemon juice
  • Rub the mixture on your scalp and rub it a bit
  • Leave it to sit for 20 minutes and then wash your hair
  • The process should be repeated for about 2-3 in a week

Other home natural products that can also be applicable include, rosemary oil, black tea, avocado and banana, honey, fuller`s earth among others. So what is important? Fine, there are several home products that can be used to treat dry scalp or dandruff but all of them may not work for you. Just pick on one or a combination of 2-3 products and try out at a time.


Both dry scalp and scalp dandruff are just mild conditions that are easily treated at home or by simply purchasing some over the counter shampoos. But look, these conditions may be very bothersome and embarrassing especially if you ignore them (you don’t bother to treat them) and thus accompanied by intense itching and flaking. Itching may trigger scratching that will result to secondary bacterial infections lead to outrageous symptoms. So respond to any symptom of the two condition in time. See your doctor if the OTC shampoos and home remedies don’t improve your condition. He/she will prescribe appropriate for extremely dry scalp and severe dandruff treatments.

  1. Causes and symptoms of dandruff and dry scalp: http://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/dandruff-vs-dry-scalp#treatment4
  2. Symptoms of Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: https://www.allthingshair.com/en-uk/hair-care/dandruff/dry-scalp-vs-dandruff-difference/
  3. Dandruffs vs Dry Scalp: http://urbanbushbabes.com/there-is-a-difference-between-dandruff-dry-scalp/
  4. Home Remedies for Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/top-10-home-remedies-for-itchy-scalp.html
  5. Natural Home Remedies: http://healthyleo.com/the-top-15-home-remedies-for-dandruff-and-dry-scalp/
  6. Medical Treatment: http://www.medguidance.com/thread/Dandruff-vs-Dry-Scalp.html
  7. Causes for Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: http://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty/dry-scalp-and-dandruff-causes.aspx


Comments are closed.