Scalp problems are really annoying. It can also be difficult to grasp. Dry scalp and dandruff are a combination of itching, dandruff, and irritation, so it can be hard to tell which one you have. However, the proper treatment is different for dry scalp (which requires more hydration) and dandruff (which requires hair care products with specific active ingredients), so take the time to diagnose yourself. is important.
To guide you, we turned to top dermatologists, trichologists, and scalp educators to explain the differences between dry scalp and dandruff, what causes each, and how to fix them.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is a common and chronic oily scalp condition related to an imbalance of fungi and bacteria on the scalp, says Annabel Kingsley, president and consulting trichologist at Philip Kingsley. Sometimes known as dermatitis (SD), Kingsley calls it the angry brother of dandruff. “Although the exact causes of dandruff and her SD are not fully understood, we do know that they are dependent on the presence and overgrowth of the Malassezia yeast,” she says.
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Malassezia is a fungus that is naturally found on the scalp. But when it overgrows, it causes flaky, itchy and irritated skin, explains Chuck Hezekiah, scalp expert, educator and Rene Furterer brand ambassador. Several factors, such as , fatigue, and genetics, cause this yeast overproduction. Most notably, however, is excess oil production. “Malassezia yeast feeds on sebum (oil), so an overly sticky scalp encourages yeast overgrowth and imbalances in the microbiome,” says Kingsley.
You may have an oily scalp if you’re genetically prone to it, if you don’t wash your hair often enough, if you experience high levels of stress, or if you have a medical condition that causes too much stress. Oiliness, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), explains Kingsley.
What is dry scalp?
A dry scalp condition is when the skin on your head lacks water and moisture, says Craig Ziering, DO, FAAD, dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon, and owner of Ziering Medical. A dry scalp can occur for several reasons, including washing your hair too often. This strips your scalp of the natural oils it needs to stay hydrated.Change in weather (cold and rough skin) When Dry scalp) and even hair products are other common culprits. “A red, itchy, or flaking scalp after washing is an allergic reaction that can occur after using irritating shampoos, soaps, or other products on your hair. Contact skin. Ultimately, dry scalp is usually related to environmental or external fluctuations and is often a temporary rather than a chronic problem, says Ziering. It’s a problem, adds Kingsley.
What is the difference between dry scalp and dandruff?
It’s hard to distinguish between the two conditions because they appear the same. And a dry scalp often co-exists with dandruff, says Atiyah Jordan-Brown, senior manager of science communications at Procter & Gamble. It’s two of the most common symptoms to have,” she says.
However, the best way to tell the difference at home is to analyze the appearance of the flakes. “It shows,” says Ziering. Sometimes dandruff flakes have a yellowish tint. “Dry scalp flakes usually look like white salt, sand, or snow,” says Hezekiah.
Interestingly, you can have dandruff without flakes, says Brown. The scalp may become sticky or sticky easily, and the skin may become itchy, red, and irritated.
How to treat dry scalp
Regularly moisturize with hair care products. Look for ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, Hezekiah suggests. We like Ouai Hydrating Scalp Serum for an easy way to apply hydration after washing your hair. Hair products that moisturize the skin are also a good idea. Kingsley recommends Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Toner.
Lifestyle changes such as protecting your scalp with SPF in the summer, using a humidifier in the winter, washing your hair less often, and washing your hair with lukewarm water can also do wonders to keep you hydrated.
how to treat dandruff
To get rid of dandruff, Hezekiah says you need a hair care regimen with active ingredients that reduce Malassezia. An affordable option is Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Braun recommends using it for three weeks each time you wash your hair for best results. How often should you wash your hair? Kingsley recommends washing the scalp daily and no more than two days between washes.
Adding an inflammation-targeting serum can also help ease symptoms associated with dandruff. According to Hezekiah, René Furterer Astera Fresh Leave-in Soothing Freshness Serum is a great option. It’s also best not to apply the oil directly to the scalp, as it can damage the scalp,” says Brown.
After all, if the over-the-counter options don’t work and you’re unsure of what you’re dealing with, we recommend consulting a trichologist or dermatologist.
Genesis Rivas is Oprah Daily’s Beauty Editor, covering hair, makeup, skin, nails and more. Prior to joining the Oprah Daily team, he contributed to several publications including InStyle, Real Simple and Shape.When she’s not testing, researching and writing fun and educational beauty content, you can find her dancing and eating in New York City.Follow her on Instagram or TikTok please
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