Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: How to Identify the Difference

HK Vitals

Dandruff and dry scalp are two distinct conditions and it is important to understand the difference between dandruff and dry scalp to help choose the right treatment and hair care products. Keep reading this article to find some clarity on dandruff vs dry scalp.

Difference between Dandruff and Dry Scalp

Both these conditions have certain similarities, but they are not the same. Let us first look at their causes, followed by their symptoms:

1. Causes: Just like your skin, your scalp sheds dead skin cells too. When this happens, you will notice dandruff. The condition may also be triggered by seborrheic dermatitis or fungal infections, stress, nutritional deficiencies and sensitivity to certain hair products.
A dry scalp is a condition in which your scalp does not produce oil or is not capable of holding moisture. It may also be a result of excessive hair washing, old age, certain skin and health conditions. During winters, when the climate is dry, and due to excessive sun exposure, dry scalp problems may be noticed.
2. Symptoms: Dandruff causes itchy scalp, even itchy eyebrows, pimples eruption on forehead, redness and the flakes tend to be oily and large. These flakes have a yellow-tinge, they may fall on your shoulders while brushing your hair, and this condition requires treatment.
A dry scalp causes itchiness, you will notice dry and white flakes which are small and loose. This particular condition may improve with oiling and less hair washing.
Once you learn about dandruff and dry scalp difference, it is possible to treat them effectively. For mild cases, there are many home remedies and over-the-counter hair products. However, if your condition is severe, it is best to consult a dermatologist and seek medical attention.

Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: Preventative Methods and Remedies

Some of the best preventative methods for dandruff include:

  • Use anti-dandruff, medicated shampoo at least two times a week.
  • You should increase your omega-3 intake which helps regulate oil production and manages fungal growth and flaking.
  • Include vitamin D supplements in your diet.
  • Use products with tea tree oil in them as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
  • Listed below are some of the best remedies for dry scalp:
  • Use hair care products that contain aloe vera, it provides hydration and relieves scalp irritation.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps exfoliate dead skin cells from the scalp.
  • You may also use coconut oil, jojoba oil and witch hazel to soothe dry scalp symptoms.
  • Eliminate the use of hair care products that contain alcohol as it may cause too much dryness.



Dandruff vs dry scalp conditions are not serious, with daily attention and proper care, you can manage their symptoms in the long run. Remember that along with home remedies, supplements, medications and other treatments, it is crucial to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for good hair and scalp health.

Frequently asked questions

Q1. Dandruff vs dry scalp, which is known to cause hair fall?

Ans. Dandruff and dry scalp typically do not cause hair fall, but these conditions may lead to an itchy scalp. Excessive scratching will harm the hair follicles and may result in some hair loss.

Q2. Can there be two types of dandruff, oily dandruff vs dry dandruff?

Yes, oily dandruff occurs when your scalp is oily, and the flakes stick to your hair while dry dandruff occurs when your scalp is dry, and the loose flakes easily fall from your scalp and hair.

Q3. Dry scalp flakes vs dandruff, which is more common?

Ans: Dandruff is a very common condition, but the dry scalp is rare. People usually have an oily scalp, and dry scalp flakes are noticed in people with dry skin on other parts of the body.

HK Vitals


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