Dandruff and dry scalp cause flakes and itchy skin on your scalp, this makes them difficult to distinguish. Generally speaking, Oily, large flakes typically point to dandruff, while dry, smaller flakes signal dry scalp. These conditions should be treated differently. Take a look at our top picks for dandruff.
You get dry scalp when your skin has too little moisture. The skin on your scalp becomes irritated and flakes off. If your scalp is dry, the skin on other parts of your body, such as your arms and legs, could be dry too.
Dry scalp can also be triggered by factors such as these:
cold, dry air
contact dermatitis caused by a reaction to products you apply to your scalp, such as shampoo, styling gel, and hairspray
the use of products that strip the natural oils from your skin
When you have dandruff, skin cells on your scalp shed more quickly than usual. The main cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that may appear as oily, red, and scaly skin. The white or yellow scales flake off, characterising dandruff. You can get seborrheic dermatitis anywhere you have oil glands, including your eyebrows, groin, armpits, chest, upper back, ears and along the sides of your nose. In babies, it’s known as cradle cap.
Dandruff has several causes:
oily, irritated skin
dry skin and hair
Dandruff is usually caused by a fungus called Malassezia. This fungus normally lives on your scalp. If you have too much of it, though, it causes your skin cells to multiply more quickly than usual. Certain factors can cause this to occur, including:
underlying medical conditions and nutritional deficiencies
Avoid using hair products that contain harsh chemicals, such as bleach and alcohol. These ingredients can dry out your scalp. Also avoid oily hair products that can build up on your scalp.
Spend a few minutes out in the sun every day. There’s some evidence that ultraviolet (UV) light exposure can help control dandruff.
Also manage your stress with meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques.
[i] Satchell AC, Saurajen A, Bell C, Barnetson RS. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Dec;47(6):852-5.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.