Health Concerns & Diseases,  Products & Services

What’s the Difference Between Dry Scalp and Dandruff?

Your hair is one of the few parts of your body that can be readily reshaped and styled to create an entirely new look, however your hair will only look as good as it is healthy. The most common hair complaints are dandruff and dry scalp, but did you know they are actually two different conditions? They do have some common elements however. Not only are both these conditions uncomfortable, but they are also embarrassing… White flakes on your clothes are not a good look!

What is dry scalp?

Dry scalp is the more common of the two scalp conditions. It is characterised by small, white flakes of skin appearing along hairlines, and may also be associated with itching and a sensation of the scalp being ‘tight’ or dry. Dry scalp is fairly self explanatory, in that is caused by the dehydration of the scalp, resulting in the accelerated shedding of skin cells. The scalp can become dry if you are dehydrated, use harsh shampoos (such as those containing detergents, or with an unbalanced pH), take hot showers, or wash your hair too often.

How is dry scalp treated?

Address the cause of dry scalp in the following ways. First, a good quality shampoo and conditioner, which provide moisture to the scalp and hair shaft, is of utmost importance, for example, the Clear Hair Care range. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. While we all love a good hot shower, our skin doesn’t, and that goes for the skin all over our bodies, not just the scalp! So dial down the heat and your skin will thank you for it, particularly in winter. Finally, experiment with washing your hair less. If you wash your hair every day, try switching to every second day, and see if it makes a difference.

What is dandruff?

Dandruff has similar symptoms to that of dry scalp, except that the skin flakes clump together, forming larger pieces. The scalp will feel oily and may even have a foul smell. Dandruff is caused by an over-secretion of oil on the scalp. The oil, combined with an over-population of yeast and bacteria, cause the odour. The skin cells that shed naturally, combined with the oil, create the large flakes.

Healthy hair means great-looking hair.

How is dandruff treated?

Dandruff is a much more serious scalp condition, which requires a few lifestyle changes, in conjunction with some medical treatment. Unlike dry scalp, dandruff is best treated with more regular washing, in order to cleanse away the excess oil. Opt for a medicated dandruff shampoo, which will attack the yeast and bacterial infections. Reducing the amount of fat in your diet will help control oil production on the scalp.

Dry scalp and dandruff are often confused for one another. It’s important to get a correct diagnosis in order to treat the right problem, particularly as the treatments are very different from each other. If in doubt, visit your hair care professional or doctor for further advice.

Written by Amelia Stuckey

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