Scalp Disorders and Dry Scalp: What's the Difference?
Scalp care is essential because it determines the health and condition of the hair and prevents diseases of the scalp and hair.
However, certain scalp conditions can cause damage to the hair follicle resulting in permanent hair loss.
This article helps you to distinguish between different scalp diseases.
Dandruff is a common scalp condition that causes the scalp to flake and may cause visible flakes on clothing or in the hair.
Research shows that people with dandruff have bacterial and fungal dysbiosis, an imbalance of beneficial and harmful microbes in the scalp.
Dandruff is caused by Malassezia yeast, which can get out of control when you have dandruff, feeding on excess oils produced by your scalp glands. And the more fungus you have growing on your scalp, the more your body’s immune system reacts (or overreacts) to it.
This further inflames your scalp and plays a crucial role in worsening your dandruff.
A dry scalp occurs when the scalp does not have enough oil for the skin to feel lubricated.
Like other forms of dry skin, this can cause itching, flaking, and irritation. The flakes are usually tiny and white.
It is non-curable, affecting areas of your skin with more oil glands. Scratching can damage hair follicles leading to hair loss.
It can be called a cradle cap, often associated with hair loss in children.
Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder that makes raised, reddish, often scaly patches. It can pop up as a single patch or multiple patches and your entire scalp.
Psoriasis occurs when your skin cells are replaced more quickly than usual, resulting in a build-up on the skin’s surface.
Differences in Scalp Disorders
If you have a dry, flaking scalp, you may suspect dandruff. But it could be a sign of a dry scalp.
Dandruff and dry scalp have the same main symptoms: falling and an itchy scalp.
On the other hand, dandruff, eczema, and Psoriasis are chronic conditions without a current cure and can cause significant discomfort.
- Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition of the skin. It can be on any part of the body.
- Psoriasis is long-lasting, while dandruff may come and go.
- People with a dry scalp may notice flakes shedding from their scalp. Unlike actual dandruff flakes, the flakes associated with dry scalps tend to be smaller and whiter.
- Psoriasis looks like scaly, silvery, or powdery patches that may come off in tiny pieces,
- Dandruff flakes are more prominent and may be yellow-tinged or look oily compared to dry scalp.
- Compared to dandruff and dry scalp, psoriasis is more painful.
Symptoms of Disorders
- Itchy scalp and eyebrows
- Noticeable white flake
- Potential redness
- Smaller, dry flakes
- Itchy scalp
- Dry skin on other parts of your body
- Scaly patches of skin that often also look greasy
- Red, flaking skin (dandruff)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
- Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Swollen and stiff joints
- Itching, burning, or soreness
- Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails
Causes of Scalp Disorders
- Dry skin
- Not shampooing enough (going several weeks without shampooing your hair)
- Sensitivity to hair care products
- Allergic reactions
- Yeast overgrowth
- Inability to produce or retain moisture
- Excessive washing
- Irritation from hair care products
- Research suggests seborrheic dermatitis is caused by your body overreacting to a type of yeast (fungus) that lives on your skin’s surface.
- According to research, Psoriasis may be caused by an autoimmune disease – where it attacks healthy skin cells by mistake. However, genetics may play a role, too: you’re more likely to get psoriasis if a close relative has it.
Treatments and Home Remedies for Scalp Disorders
Treating a scalp disorder can be challenging but since it's common there are many home remedies you can try. It's always best to consult a dermatologist before any treatments are performed even at home.
Tea tree oil is a helpful home remedy for reducing the severity of dandruff. Some shampoos already contain 5 percent tea tree oil. This remedy helps eliminate fungal and bacterial infections on the scalp that cause flaky and itchy skin.
Green tea contains a lot of anti-fungal properties, and it is an antioxidant that can restore the health of your scalp. Apply cooled green tea on your scalp to cure dandruff and witness the difference.
You will need two green tea bags and some hot water as the central part of your ingredients. Put the green tea bags into the hot water for 20 minutes and allow them to cool.
Once it cools, pour the tea into a plastic nozzle bottle, apply the green tea to your scalp and let it dry for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, gently rinse your hair with water.
Garlic is one of the most effective and ideal antidotes for dandruff. Take a couple of garlic cloves (more if you have thick and long hair), peel, and crush them. Then, mix it with some honey and massage your scalp with it.
The honey combats the garlic smell, and you can replace it with water if the honey feels too sticky. Leave it on for a few minutes before you shampoo.
Dry Scalp Treatments
Coconut oil has long been used for its skin health benefits, and a dry scalp is no exception. Use a few tablespoons of plain, unflavored yogurt with no added sugar and mix in one well-beaten egg. Massage it into your hair and scalp and wait 10 minutes.
Next, apply a small amount of melted coconut oil to your scalp, massaging it into the skin. Please leave it to sit for at least 10 minutes before washing your hair as you usually would. Not only will this help with a dry scalp, but it will also leave your hair silky smooth.
BananasBananas contain minerals and antimicrobial properties. Mash a ripe banana and add olive oil or coconut oil to it. Apply the mask to your hair. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo after 20 minutes.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) possesses antimicrobial properties and helps balance the skin's pH, which regulates the release of oil to manage scalp dryness.
Mix two tablespoons of ACV in one mug of water. You can also add honey.
Soak a cotton ball with this mixture and apply it to the scalp. Rinse your hair with cold water after 10 minutes.
Seborrhoeic Dermatitis TreatmentsAntifungal medication may be necessary to control inflammation and discomfort quickly.
Coal Tar shampoo is another remedy you can find at your local drug or health food store.
Studies show that a Mediterranean diet may lessen the symptoms.
Aloe Vera can help with inflammation and calm the scalp or affected area.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric. It may lessen inflammation in the body, and it may also reduce psoriatic activity. In addition, turmeric has been found to help minimize psoriasis flare-ups.
For optimum results, add about a teaspoon of turmeric to your rice, pasta, or vegetables every day, or mix it with a bit of juice and a teaspoon of black pepper and drink it down. It can be taken in a pill or sprinkled on your food.
A 2011 study-Trusted Source in animals, found that aloe vera gel was effective in treating psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests applying aloe vera gel to affected skin up to three times a day.
Pure aloe vera gel, which can be found at most drug stores and health food stores, is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, and its cooling sensation will help calm irritated skin.
The National Psoriasis Foundation says there is no clear benefit for psoriasis from taking oral aloe vera tablets and warns that these could cause harm, so stick to topical treatments.
Some hair care products, like Pro Max Hair Growth Oil from 100 Grand Hair Collection, contain aloe vera oil to improve scalp health.
If the body gets too much of the inflammatory compound arachidonic acid (found in certain foods, like red meat and dairy), an all-natural way to fight back is with flaxseed — and you can take it any way you like.
Add it ground up in smoothies, oatmeal, granola, muffins, or brownies, or use flaxseed oil as a dressing for salads and to cook stir-fried vegetables.
Another holistic approach is Low-Level Light Therapy. People with psoriasis have long used light therapy, or phototherapy, to reduce symptoms and improve flares more quickly.
Research has shown that when your microbiome gets out of balance, you may experience skin irritation, bloating, constipation, diabetes, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and increased cancer risk.
Probiotics bring balance to the gut flora, thus assisting in promoting overall systemic health.
As we have discussed earlier in this article, health challenges will increase or exacerbate skin, scalp, hair, and nail issues. Because the skin is the body's largest organ, if your gut flora is not balanced, this may cause IBS or the overproduction of toxins in the body which will cause the skin to react.
You can apply probiotics directly to the scalp to increase friendly bacteria to bring back a healthy balance to the scalp or take it internally to help boost your immune system and balance gut flora.
I recommend doing both if you are experiencing severe scalp issues to prevent hair loss.
Scalp Disorders & Dry Scalp
Always seek the advice of a medical professional when you experience changes in your hair, skin, and nails.
Changes in the hair, skin, and nails are significant indicators that something is out of balance in your body. Most scalp conditions can be managed and treated, and in some cases, your hair will grow back.
For conditions like psoriasis, dandruff, dry scalp, and seborrheic dermatitis, the hair usually grows back after the skin condition is treated.
However, scratching the affected area can damage the follicle and result in permanent hair loss.
Seek professional medical attention immediately if the scalp is inflamed, itchy and swollen. Remember, scalp health is essential to healthy hair growth.
As a Cranial Prosthesis Specialist it's vital that you stay up to date with the current types of scalp disorders. The ability to speak confidently about scalp disorders will be beneficial during your consultations.
By Guest Writer Lyric Elise
Some of her most notable projects were when she was hired as a lead Hair Stylist for Lyanla’s “Fix My Life” with the Pace Sisters in 2013. In 2014 her insight into the tools and tricks of the hairstyling platform led her to another achievement in this plateau by getting featured on Fox 5 News as “The Hair Detective” by helping her customers with hair loss and focusing on the solutions.
Check out here book - More Than Hair Deep.
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