For all your beauty advice…
I get asked this question a lot…I have flakes of skin on my scalp, and it itches…is it dandruff, or just dry scalp? And, more importantly, is there really a difference? It can be hard to distinguish the difference between dandruff or a dry scalp because the symptoms are very similar. In both cases, there will be white, flaky skin on your scalp that gets into your hair and embarrasses you, and in both cases, your scalp will be itchy and irritated. But, just because the symptoms seem the same, doesn’t mean the condition is the same, or should be treated the same.
So, what is dandruff? Dandruff is a mixture of oil, sweat and bacteria which results in a shedding of scalp tissue…AKA flakes. Gross to think about, I know, but not fun if you’re dealing with it. Because dandruff is a bacteria, it is contagious and you should avoid sharing any of your hair tools if you are suffering from it, and if you think someone may be suffering from it, you should avoid using someone else’s hair tools. Food for thought…avoid using, or sharing, hair tools, period. Just don’t take any chances.
And what is dry scalp? Well, dry scalp is exactly that…a dry scalp. It’s the shedding of dehydrated skin cells on the scalp. The scalp gets dehydrated from over-use of alcohol based products, climate factors, and over scratching your head. The result of a dry scalp is, white flakes that are often mistaken for dandruff. A dry scalp isn’t caused by bacteria, or too much build-up of oil. It’s just dry and needs moisture…STAT!
(Sometimes, it may not be either…it could be a build-up of too much product and you need a clarifying treatment to break down the build-up and get your hair/scalp healthy again. Too much hairspray, gel, or mousse may look like dandruff, or dry scalp, but if you take your fingernails and glide down a strand of hair and it’s white and powdery, that’s product build-up…just want to get that possibility out-of-the-way.)
Whether it’s dandruff, or dry scalp, all is not lost. The conditions can be treated easily and have you on your way to beautiful hair and a healthy scalp in no time. Although similar treatments can be used to get rid of the problem, dry scalp is going to be less of a battle, because it’s just a matter of switching up products, not treating bacteria.
Any professional grade clarifying shampoo is going to help either problem. It will help reduce any buildup of oil, or product, which can attribute to dry scalp. So, use a good clarifying shampoo at least once a week and you’ll start to notice a difference. If you shampoo on a daily basis, use a gentle shampoo. I like Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. It will help you heal your scalp if it’s dry, but also treat dandruff. If you don’t wash your hair every day and suffer from dandruff, use a dry shampoo to absorb oil; this will allow you to keep overactive oil glands at bay and keep your scalp balanced. I’m a huge fan of Batiste dry shampoo. Hydratherapie from Biolage is a great, every day, moisturizing shampoo that will hydrate and add moisture. Follow up with the Conditioning Balm for best results.
Dry scalp is going to be easier to treat than dandruff; if you have tried professional grade products and you still suffer from dandruff, your best bet is going to be seeing a doctor and getting a prescription shampoo to treat the dandruff.
Dandruff, or dry scalp? Either one is a problem that can be treated. But, hopefully now you have a little more insight to differentiate between the two.
Have you suffered from either condition? What steps did you take to clear up the problem? I look forward to your response.
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