difference between dandruff and dry scalp

Dandruff or Dry Scalp: Which Do You Have?

Did you know that a large number of men and women think they suffer from dandruff when in fact they have dry scalp?  And we bet most of them don’t even know the difference!  Blame it on irresponsible advertising which brainwashed us to grab a bottle of anti-dandruff shampoo the instance white flakes start falling off our heads.  Unfortunately, using the wrong treatment can make either of the conditions worse.

While dandruff and dry scalp may both exhibit flaking accompanied by itching scalp, there is a huge difference between them.  Read on and help identify what condition you are suffering from and how to best deal with it.

Dandruff is not caused by dryness

Contrary to a common misconception, dandruff is not due to dryness.  Unfortunately, many people try to deal with this wrong notion by not washing their hair with shampoo, or washing it less often, for fear that shampooing will strip off the scalp with its remaining moisture.  Bad move.

You see, dandruff tends to occur on very oily scalp which produces more sebum than usual. Too much sebum encourages the proliferation of a certain strain of yeast, Malassezia globosa, which is named as the primary cause of dandruff.  This harmless fungus naturally thrives on most human scalps and feeds on sebum. But when its population grows out of control, the oleic acid the microorganisms excrete irritates the scalp and the body responds by increasing the rate of cell turn over. The dead skin cells clump together and form the dreaded dandruff flakes.

Thus, it is important to shampoo regularly when you have dandruff to get rid of excess sebum and control the number of fungus in your head.  Otherwise, sebum will accumulate and provide ideal breeding ground for dandruff-causing yeast.

The most common treatment for dandruff are anti-dandruff shampoos that are widely available on the market.  These shampoos may contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide and ketoconazole that may help control danruff.  As dandruff can only be diagnosed by a doctor, consult a dermatologist to make sure of your scalp condition before using any dandruff-related products.

Dry scalp is simply dry skin on your head

Your scalp can be dry just like the rest of your skin.  The scalp typically sheds skin cells every 20-30 days but several factors can disrupt the normal skin condition, causing the scalp to shed at a faster rate, making it dry. These factors include shampooing too often which removes the natural oils that keep the scalp hydrated, exposure to excessive heat or cold, use of poor quality hair products that contain harsh chemicals, stress and even diets that are too salty, sugary or spicy.

To treat dry scalp, use a shampoo that is mild enough to cleanse your hair without removing natural oils and a conditioner that moisturize the scalp without leaving harmful residues.  Avoid using dandruff shampoos as these may contain harsh chemicals that can dry the scalp further.  Also limit the use of styling products.  If your scalp is itchy, don’t scratch. This can damage the skin, leading to possible infection.

Preventing dandruff and dry scalp

There are a number of ways you can prevent dandruff and dry scalp problems. For both conditions, you should:

  • look for a mild shampoo and conditioner with deep cleansing and moisturizing properties like the ToppCock Hydromax Shampoo and Conditioner line.  Formulated to be safe for daily use, Hydromax Shampoo and Conditioner are ideal for people with dandruff or dry scalp.  These hair products for men also contain signature ingredients which can be beneficial in getting rid of dandruff-causing fungi.
  • limit or eliminate your use of styling products such as mousse, gel or hairspray. These products can dry the scalp, leading to adverse or allergic reactions and causing dandruff.
  • have a balanced diet with food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins and drink lots of water.
  • eliminate stress as high stress can compromise the body’s natural defenses.
  • see a doctor if conditions persist as they may be a sign of a deeper health problem.
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