Difference Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp

Most of the times we do not understand or know the difference between dandruff and dry scalp. This is a very common mistake due to which we fail to take the right treatment for the actual problem that exists. Most of the times, people just have a dry and itchy scalp and they take it to be dandruff. Due to this, they take dandruff related treatment and find no result.

It is very important to know the very basic difference in order to treat the right problem in the right manner. Dry scalp does not mean having dandruff. It is just tight and itchy whereas dandruff is the dead skin in the hair. Dandruff can be oily or dry in itself but it has nothing to do with the scalp.

Let us learn in detail about the difference between dandruff and dry scalp separately.

Dry Scalp

Dry scalp is generally caused due to dehydration as most of the people do not drink enough water. Even the use of hard shampoos and conditioner or living in cold weather can be the cause of dry scalp. These days, most of the shampoos and conditioners are completely synthetic full of polymers or plastics, silicones, and allergens. All of these chemicals cause harm to both, hair and scalp. These shampoos and conditioners leave residues on the scalp which disrupts the acid mantle and weakens the hair follicles due to which, the scalp becomes vulnerable.

Solution for Dry Scalp

Some of the solutions for dry scalp are:

1.    Massage your scalp with oils like coconut, jojoba, and olive oil.

2.    Use SLS-free, sulphate-free and paraben-free shampoo and conditioners.

3.    Fatty acid-rich oils would be very beneficial.


As mentioned above, dandruff is the dead skin cells present on the scalp. It is generally due to stress, hormonal imbalance, unhealthy diet, and excessive consumption of sugar. Poor hygiene, synthetic shampoos and conditioners, harsh weather conditions etc. are some of the external causes of dandruff. Let us now know about some of the different types of dandruff:

1.    Dry Scalp Dandruff: It has little white flakes on a dry scalp.

2.    Oily Scalp Dandruff: It has oily flakes which can be small or large in size.

3.    Fungal Dandruff: It has large oily flakes with redness and crusting.

4.    Psoriasis: It has dry flakes which are silver in colour.

5.    Seborrheic Dermatitis: It is the most severe type of dandruff as it makes the scalp red, irritated, and oily. Not only are the flakes present, but there is also a possibility of the formation of sores.


Solution for Dandruff

Remember that dandruff is treatable but it is not curable but there are solutions for dandruff. Some of the solutions for dandruff are:

1.    Use SLS-free, sulphate-free and paraben-free shampoo and conditioners.

2.    Massage your scalp weekly.

3.    Shampoos and conditioners with anti-fungal and anti-septic properties would be beneficial for eradicating dandruff.


Prevent Dandruff and Dry Scalp

We hope that by now you must have understood the difference between dandruff and dry scalp. If you want to safeguard yourself from dandruff and dry scalp, make sure that you rinse out all the shampoo from your scalp properly. Avoid products which contain alcohol and bleach as they are very harsh chemicals which are harmful to the scalp. Also, it is very important to get some sun exposure directly on your hair as it helps in soothing the scalp.