Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp: What's The Difference?

Dandruff and a dry scalp. Is there a difference? We know they are often used as synonyms and are so intertwined it's hard to tell them apart. But as Healthline states, they are actually two different conditions. Here's the breakdown.

Huffington Post reports that dandruff is a condition that causes the scalp to flake. While dandruff (or scalp snow storm) may be most commonly used when describing the small white flecks that are sometimes visible in your hair or on your clothing, the medical term it is referring to is called seborrheic dermatitis. Dr. Jennifer MacGregor of Union Square Laser Dermatology explains that seborrheic dermatitis, or dandruff, can also be found behind the ears, around the eyebrows, and in the nostrils. "The typical mild cases look like flaky or scaly patches and sometimes have underlying redness," she says. And while dandruff isn't curable, it can be easily managed with an anti-dandruff shampoo, notes Healthline.

Dandruff is a symptom of dry scalp

What about dry scalp? Medical News Today explains that dry scalp is a condition in which the scalp does not contain enough moisture. Dandruff is often a symptom of dry scalp which is likely a contributor as to why a lot of people have trouble differentiating the two. "There can be scaling and itching with this condition as well," MacGregor tells Huffington Post. Although the flakes from a dry scalp are more likely to be more rough and scaly-looking patches on the skin. Healthline recommends managing your stress levels and avoiding severe chemicals like alcohol or bleach if you are suffering from a dry scalp.

If you still have trouble figuring out if you are experiencing dandruff or a dry scalp, don't feel down. You are likely not the only one. "Mild cases of both dry scalp and dandruff can look and behave exactly the same way," MacGregor shares with Huffington Post. "If you have mild scaling in the scalp or on the skin, you might not know what is the cause unless you are carefully examined by an expert."