Dry scalp and dandruff - What's the difference?
28 May 2018
For many people, dandruff and dry scalp are the same thing. They spot white flakes on their shoulders or nestled between their hair strands and reach for the nearest itchy scalp treatment – regardless of which condition it’s been specially formulated for.
This is a big mistake, as Redken brand educator Richard Nienaber explains. “Dandruff and dry scalp are totally different issues, but without a professional opinion people normally see the problem as dandruff. If you’re suffering from dry scalp, though, using anti-dandruff products will only make the scalp drier and more irritated.”
What is the difference then? After all, both conditions leave you with an itchy scalp, and unattractive white flakes everywhere. How do you tell them apart, and choose the correct scalp treatment?
A dry, irritated scalp is caused by too little moisture. There could be many reasons for that lack in hydration, such as stress, hormone changes, environmental issues like dry winter air, and the use of harsh haircare products that strip away essential scalp oils. You could even just be genetically predisposed to having dry hair and scalp. It’s a very common problem among African women with intensely coiled hair.
What causes dandruff is something entirely different. True dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, is a condition that leads to an overproduction of oil and skin cells. The body can’t shed the skin cells fast enough, and they build up noticeably on your head. Dandruff can also be caused by a type of fungus, which has an inflammatory effect on the scalp as it spreads.
The most obvious, noticeable difference between dry scalp and dandruff is that while dry scalp shows as tiny, fine flakes that feel like salt to the touch, dandruff flakes are bigger, crustier and stick to the scalp. Redness and greasiness are also common visual indicators of dandruff, and may even show around your eyebrows.
Expert haircare solutions
The key to effective treatment of dandruff is to use a product like L’Oréal Professionel’s Instant Clear Shampoo. This dandruff treatment contains a zinc pyrithione complex to keep flaking in check, along with a camomile derivative, which helps hair feel fresh, clean and light.
For a professional dry scalp remedy, Richard points to Redken’s Scalp Relief Soothing Balance Shampoo. Key ingredients in this gentle cleanser are eucalyptus and liquorice extract, which help to soothe and de-stress the scalp at the same time as moisture levels are rebalanced.
Now you know more about dry scalp and dandruff – but it’s still best not to self-diagnose. Make an appointment at your nearest salon and speak to an expert for a professional analysis. At the same time, you’ll be able to pick up exclusive salon-quality products like anti-dandruff Instant Clear and dry scalp-fighting Soothing Balance, depending on your needs.
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