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Do You Have Dandruff or Dry Scalp? Here's the Difference and How You Can Treat Each

Here's the best way to treat each condition.
Do You Have Dandruff or Dry Scalp? Here's the Difference and How You Can Treat Each
IMAGE Pexels/Element5 Digital
Here's the best way to treat each condition.

Got an itchy and flaky scalp? Contrary to what most shampoo advertisements tell you, it's not always dandruff. That might also be signs of a dry scalp. We know what you're thinking: "There's a difference?" And yes, there is! Although dandruff and dry scalp are often used interchangeably because they share the same warning signs, they're actually two separate things. 

So if you've been trying to deal with the symptoms but haven't seen much improvement, chances are, you've probably been trying to treat the wrong condition. Different causes means different treatments. If you want to know what's causing the itching and flaking (and finally get rid of it once and for all), keep reading! 

What's the Difference Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp?

Dry scalp implies lack of hydration in the scalp and is typically caused by excessive hair washing, eczema, harsh hair products, sunburn, or dry climate. People with dry skin types are also more likely to experience dry scalps. 

Dandruff, on the other hand, is an inflammatory condition also called seborrheic dermatitis. This occurs when there's excess oil or sweat on the scalp, making it the ideal environment for a fungus known as Malassezia to thrive. Now, we know it sounds serious, but you can easily get rid of Malassezia with the proper treatment.

So how do you know if you have a dry scalp or dandruff? You most likely have dry scalp if you only experience small dry flakes. It's dandruff when the flakes are oily, yellow or white, larger in size, and more noticeable. 

How to Treat a Dry Scalp

The key to treating a dry scalp is hydration! Use a moisturizing, alcohol-free shampoo such as Herbal Essences Shampoo Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and hydrate irritated scalps. Also try to lessen how often you wash your hair. If you wash your hair too much you stop your scalp from producing and absorbing its natural oils. As a rule of thumb, only shampoo your hair every other day.


Shampoo Tea Tree Oil 400ml, P399, HERBAL ESSENCES, Lazada

How to Treat Dandruff

To treat dandruff, you'll need to use a medicated shampoo that contains selenium sulfide. This medication is specifically made to treat dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. Selsun Blue is a tried-and-tested and medicated anti-dandruff shampoo. You only need to use it twice a week and you'll see immediate results. Use your regular shampoo on the other days. 

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Pro 2 in 1 Anti-dandruff Shampoo with Conditioner 120ml, P365, SELSUN BLUE, Lazada. Pro 2 in 1 Anti-dandruff Shampoo with Conditioner 6ml, P40, SELSUN BLUE, Lazada.

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