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What's The Difference Between Dry Scalp Flakes vs. Dandruff?

What's The Difference Between Dry Scalp Flakes vs. Dandruff?

The skin on our head or the scalp naturally produces sebum from oil glands which keeps the skin moisturised and healthy. Sometimes it occurs that the glands are not active enough which can lead to dryness of the scalp. Having a dry scalp can cause a lot of discomfort, and also lead to some more severe conditions. However, we shouldn’t readily confuse dry scalp with dandruff. Dry scalp can be a cause of dandruff, but the two are definitely different conditions.

It is really important to understand the difference between the two different conditions as it is of vital importance if you want to choose the right treatment for the scalp.

Dry scalp is caused usually when the scalp is not producing enough natural oils to keep the skin and hair moisturized. Dandruff on the other hand, is caused sometimes by dry scalp, but also oftentimes by some more serious conditions such as fungal or other scalp infections.

Causes of dry scalp

As mentioned previously, dry scalp is caused when the skin on the head does not produce enough natural oils to lubricate the skin and keep it moisturized. This on itself causes itching, skin irritation and this consequently leads to the skin flaking. And not only the skin, but the hair also tends to look really dry in these cases, as the natural oils slide down the hair strands and keep them conditioned.

People that have naturally dry skin, are also most probable to have a dry scalp as well. Since the scalp is also skin, it is affected similarly as the skin on the rest of the body. This means that some things that cause dry skin, can also cause dry scalp as well.

  • Doing too much of what’s good usually is not that good at all. This means that excessive or too frequent washing of the hair and scalp does not do us any good. It washes away the natural oils which are of vital importance and it leaves the skin and hair feeling really dry.
  • Dry air is also a factor when it comes to the skin. This is particularly true for the winter months, so the scalp and hair tend to dry out more.
  • Also, certain skin conditions such as eczema can also cause the scalp to dry out.

Causes of dandruff

Like any other part of the skin, the scalp also renews itself constantly. This means that it produces new skin cells and sheds the dead ones off. Sometimes, this process can become excessive and speed up which can cause dandruff. So dandruff is basically comprised of dead skin cells. The dandruff becomes worse as the shedding process on the scalp speeds up as well. There are several factors that can cause the skin to shed at a faster rate. Some of them include:

  • Fungal infections of the scalp, such as yeast infections. The fungi feed off the natural oils on the scalp and thus leave it dry and irritated.
  • Excessive oil secretion of the scalp is also not a good thing as well. It causes a lot of dead skin cell build up and ties them together in larger clumps.
  • Contact dermatitis, or sensitivity to some hair products can also case dandruff.
  • Eczema or seborrheic dermatitis also leads to redness of the scalp, itchiness, scaling of the skin and large dandruff flakes falling off through the hair and on the clothes.

The worst-case scenario is when some or all of these factors start working together and make dandruff even worse. People that already have sensitive skin or really oily scalp, and at the same time develop a fungal infection, can have a really hard time with getting rid of it and stabilizing the condition. For example, the fungus Malassezia is naturally already living on our scalp without causing any real issues. However, some of the other factors listed above may affect the scalp, which can cause overpopulation of the fungus and then it causes more serious problems.

How to recognize the symptoms of dry scalp vs. dandruff

Even though it may seem similar, especially for people that do not have a lot of insight into the causes and manifestations of these conditions, still there is a difference in the symptoms. Both conditions cause irritation and itching, and frequent scratching of the scalp can cause redness and even small sores developing on the head. However, there is still a difference in the extent to which they cause damage.

People that are experiencing problems with dry scalp, can find skin flakes shedding which are similar to dandruff. However, the flakes which shed of the scalp due to dryness are usually much smaller and whiter.

On the other hand, dandruff flakes tend to be larger and even have a yellowish colour. They oftentimes look quite oily as well.


In general, depending on how severe the condition is, dry scalp as well as dandruff may come and go on their own. Dry scalp is something that can be a bit more easily improved by simply washing the hair with shampoo less frequently, or use more mild shampoos, as well as sulfate-free shampoos that don’t strip the hair and scalp of its natural and useful oils much needed to moisturize the skin.

On the other hand, dandruff is something that will not go away that easy, especially if it is caused by fungal infections, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and similar. Aside from medical treatment it will require proper hair care routine such as using anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioner.

The Dandrene Anti Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner have a special formula which helps get rid of dandruff and treat the scalp. The shampoo contains hydrolysed lupine protein and pomegranate peel extract with zinc pyrithione. It helps exfoliate and cleanse the skin, and suits all hair types and is also safe to use for coloured hair. The Dandrene-Anti Dandruff Conditioner complements the shampoo and controls skin flaking, while at the same time helping reduce scaling and irritation caused by dandruff. It not only treats, but also prevents dandruff from occurring again.

Use the products combined at least twice a week and enjoy a healthy scalp.

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