Difference Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp

General issues concerning the hair and scalp are hair loss, fungal infections, disorders causing itching, dandruff, scaling, and dry scalp.


Science Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to science

1 / 10

Which of the following compound is mainly used in hand sanitizer?

2 / 10

Name the veins that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body?

3 / 10

The hardest substance available on earth is

4 / 10

Fermentation is the process of ______.

5 / 10

Acid turns blue litmus paper into which color?

6 / 10

Name the process by which the human breathes?

7 / 10

What is the scientific name of frog?

8 / 10

Which of the gas is not known as green house gas?

9 / 10

Marsh gas is

10 / 10

Which of the following is used in pencils?

Your score is


Dandruff and Dry Scalp are the most common and have almost similar symptoms, like having a falling flake and a dry & itchy scalp, but both are very different issues.

Key Takeaways

  1. Dandruff is a scalp condition caused by excessive shedding of skin cells, often due to a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia.
  2. Dry scalp results from a lack of moisture. It leads to itchiness, tightness, and flaking skin.
  3. Treatments for dandruff and dry scalp differ: dandruff requires anti-fungal shampoos, while dry scalp benefits from moisturizing treatments.

Dandruff vs Dry Scalp

Dandruff is characterized by white or yellow flakes of dead skin that appear on the scalp. It is caused by an overproduction of yeast on the scalp that leads to excessive skin cell turnover and flaking. A dry scalp is a condition where the scalp lacks moisture resulting in itching, redness, and scaling. Factors like harsh shampoos, cold weather, and genetics can cause it.

Dandruff vs Dry Scalp

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!

In Dandruff, excessive skin oil on the scalp turns red and scaly, termed seborrheic dermatitis in medical terminology. This further causes the yellow or white scales to flake off from the scalp.

In Dry Scalp conditions, too little moisture is left in the skin, because of which skin becomes irritated and flakes off.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonDandruffDry Scalp
DefinitionDandruff happens due to the excessive oil in the skin that causes excessive shedding of yellow or white scales, i.e. dead skin cells from the scalp.Dry Scalp starts when a little moisture is left in the skin. Skin becomes irritated and itchy, and small white flakes fall off.
Main CauseExcessive oil in the skin.Dryness happens due to a bit of moisture left in the skin.
Exposure LimitationCaused by recurrent exposure to intense heat or cold conditions.Caused by excessive intense heat or cold conditions.
Accompanied ByDandruff can occur on any body part where oil glands are.Dryness on the entire body.


What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is caused when the body’s oil glands start producing excessive oil, which also gets over-produced on the scalp.

This excessive oil makes the skin oily, red, and scaly, which further makes the dead skin known as dandruff flakes.

Dandruff flakes are more significant than dry scalp flakes and quickly shed off. Generally, they are white but can have a yellowish tinge and appear very oily.

The person suffering from dandruff also has itchiness on their scalp, which may worsen if the person scratches the same as it may cause bacterial infection. Thus, creating a possibility of infecting the scalp badly with fungal infection too.

Flakes are very well visible on the shoulders of the person when they scratch the scalp.

Many parts of the body shed dead skin cells; the same happens with the scalp. But this process gets faster or speeds up when oil secretion becomes more.

People with sensitive skin or a very oily scalp are more prone to Dandruff problems. Recurrent exposure to intense heat or cold conditions can also cause Dandruff.

If the condition is not severe, it can be treated using any Anti-dandruff shampoo as per skin type, but if it is severe, then to treat the same, one needs to consult a dermatologist.


What is Dry Scalp?

We all know moisture or oil makes the body’s skin more soft and supple, but it becomes dry when there is too little oil or moisture left in your skin.

This also stands true for the scalp as it becomes scorched, irritated, and flaky if moisture in it is too little, which causes Dry Scalp.

Many factors may cause Dry Scalp, such as dry or cold air leaving the skin moisture-less due to the winter season, dehydration, excessive washing of hairs, use of wrong shampoo products, or any fungal infection on the skin like eczema.

People with dry skin are more prone to the Dry Scalp issue. Flaking, itching, irritation, and dry hair are common symptoms of a Dry Scalp.

Generally, small and white flakes on Dry Scalp look somewhat similar to dandruff flakes, but these flakes are not as oily as they are in Dandruff.

One should not scratch the scalp if itching happens as it can sore the scalp with skin redness and scabs under the hair.

If you have mild dryness on your scalp, limiting hair wash using a gentle shampoo and quality moisturizing conditioner with lukewarm water, not too hot or cold, can help.

But if the condition is severe, then consulting a dermatologist is suggested.

Dry Scalp

Main Differences Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp

  1. Dandruff happens when excessive oil is produced by the oil glands of the scalp skin, whereas Dry Scalp happens because there is too little moisture left in the skin.
  2. The process of producing oil in the skin becomes speedy in the case of Dandruff, which further increases the dead skin cells known as flakes, whereas in a Dry Scalp, no oil production happens, and flakes are part of dry skin only.
  3. Dandruff flakes are larger, whereas Dry Scalp Flakes are smaller in size.
  4. Dandruff flakes quickly shed off when one scratches the scalp, whereas Dry Scalp flakes don’t shed off quickly, but scratching makes the scalp sore.
Difference Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525864
  2. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82696555.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3129121/
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *