Don’t you hate it when your scalp feels itchy and flaky? At first glance, it may seem like you have dandruff, but in many cases, your scalp may be dry. This article explains the dandruff vs. dry scalp differences and shows what you can do to manage these problems. Learn more about dry scalp, its effect on hair growth, and how to make your hair grow faster.

What is a Dry scalp?

A dry scalp is a common condition where people experience itchiness and dryness of the scalp. Our skin is prone to dryness due to numerous factors and the scalp is not an exception. It requires proper moisture and nourishment to function properly. A healthy scalp is necessary for healthy hair.

Symptoms of Dry Scalp

A dry scalp can be a frustrating problem due to the symptoms it causes. The most common signs that indicate your scalp is dry include:

  • Small, white, dry flakes on the scalp
  • Persistent itchiness
  • Tightness and discomfort
  • Feeling dry to the touch

Difference Between Dandruff and A Dry Scalp

Dandruff is often mistaken for dryness in the scalp area and vice versa. Although similar to one another, they’re not entirely the same. The main difference when it comes to dandruff vs. dry scalp is the reason why they develop.

Dryness in the scalp occurs when the skin has little to no moisture and becomes irritated. Various factors can lead to dry skin on the scalp including psoriasis, cold or dry air, contact dermatitis, older age, and the use of harsh products.

On the other hand, dandruff is a common scalp disorder[1] that causes the skin on the scalp to flake. Skin cells on the scalp area multiply and shed when they die. In people with dandruff, the process of multiplying and shedding is a lot faster resulting in white flakes in their hair or on their shoulders.

The most common cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis[2], a common condition that causes scaly patches, and inflamed skin. Sometimes dandruff occurs when there’s too much Malassezia, a fungus that lives on the scalp.

Differences between dandruff vs. dry scalp also extend to their symptoms. Dandruff is associated with oily, red, and scaly skin with large, oily yellowish, or whitish flakes on the scalp. People with dry scalps will have small and dry flakes and may also have dry skin in other areas of the body.


Possible Causes of Dry Scalp

Although the dandruff vs. dry scalp section briefly mentioned the causes of the latter, it’s important to address them in further detail. Dry skin on the scalp may occur due to cold or dry air, harsh shampoos, and other products.

A dry scalp may stem from more serious problems, too. Possible causes of dryness on the scalp include:

  • Psoriasis: an autoimmune condition that may cause itchy bumps on scalp because skin cells grow and multiply too fast. Evidence shows[3] that psoriasis on the scalp can be asymptomatic or cause severe itching and may be persistent.

  • Tinea capitis: or ringworm of the scalp, a rash caused by fungal infection[4]. The infection spreads very easily and may cause itchy scalp and hair loss. You can get tinea capitis through direct contact with infected people or by sharing hats and brushes used by people with this fungal infection.

  • Actinic keratosis: also known as solar keratoses, is a form of precancerous sun damage indicated by dry and scaly skin patches. Although not a direct cause of dryness, actinic keratosis may contribute to dry or scaly sores on scalp.

How Does Dry Scalp Affect Hair Growth?

Hair loss causes are numerous including genetics, aging, alopecia areata, cancer treatment, hormonal imbalances, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and dry skin on the scalp.

When left untreated, dry scalp may affect hair growth as dryness of the scalp causes hair to dry out. Your hair becomes weaker and more brittle due to the lack of sebum. As a result, your hair may not grow at the same rate it did before.

People with this problem also experience problems such as sores on scalp and irritation, which could lead to cuticle and protein damage, and hair loss.

Individuals with itchy bumps on scalp tend to scratch a lot and damage hair follicles or weaken hair strands.

Since dry skin on the scalp affects hair growth in several ways, it’s important to use Nufolix hair growth supplement to promote hair growth, reduce hair loss, and nourish hair from within.

How Can I Fix My Dry Scalp Naturally?

Dealing with dry skin on the scalp can be quite frustrating and overwhelming, but you can fix the problem naturally. Here are the most useful natural dry scalp treatment options:

  • Coconut oil: known for its skin-related benefits, coconut oil can help moisturize the scalp and exhibits antimicrobial effects. That way it can soothe irritation, which is one of several hair loss causes. Apply warm coconut oil onto your scalp, massage gently, and leave it on for 30 minutes before you shampoo your hair.

  • Tea tree oil: exhibits antifungal and antiseptic properties that alleviate symptoms such as itchy bumps on scalp. Tea tree oil can treat dandruff[5], too. Start by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil and massage into your scalp.

  • Aloe vera: its anti-inflammatory properties may decrease skin irritation associated with itchy scalp and hair loss. Aloe vera also moisturizes the skin. Apply fresh aloe vera gel onto the scalp directly.

  • Apple cider vinegar: the antimicrobial properties make it a useful dry scalp treatment. Since apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help exfoliate your scalp. You can dilute apple cider vinegar with water and use it to rinse your hair.

  • Bananas: this popular fruit exhibits antimicrobial properties that may help heal sores on scalp. Bananas moisturize and soothe your skin when mashed and applied to the affected areas.

  • Avocado: contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids that protect and nourish the skin. Besides eating avocado, you can use it to make a paste or mask that serves for managing itchy scalp and hair loss prevention.

What are the Next Steps to Improve Hair Growth?

Despite dandruff vs. dry scalp differences, the reality is that both problems can affect hair growth. Hair loss takes a major toll on a person’s confidence, but there’s a lot you can do to improve hair growth. Some of the most useful strategies include:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet: make sure your meals are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats because the quality of your diet can affect hair growth. Reduce or avoid consuming trans fats, sugary foods, and heavily processed and refined foods.

  • Take supplements, such as biotin, probiotics, and iron: sometimes it’s difficult to obtain the required amounts of certain nutrients through diet alone. Consider taking supplements such as biotin, probiotics, and iron because they can prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. For example, biotin deficiency is associated with hair loss[6]. Products such as Nufolix hair growth supplement usually contain all vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary for hair growth.

  • Avoid using hair dyes: they weaken your hair and impede its growth. Low-quality hair dyes could cause allergic reactions and lead to irritation, itchy scalp and hair loss.

  • Try acupuncture: helps with stress management and improves blood circulation, which could stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth.

  • Try aromatherapy: supports relaxation and stimulates the scalp thereby helping with hair growth. The best essential oils for hair growth and health include lavender essential oil, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, sage, cedarwood, lemongrass, and tea tree essential oil.

  • Minimize the heat from hair styling tools: exposure to heat from styling tools can damage hair shafts and affect hair growth. Prolonged exposure to heat from hair styling tools can also contribute to dry scalp and its symptoms. Try to use other tools instead.


How to moisturize the scalp?

Moisturizing is a good approach to dry scalp treatment and you can do it in several ways. Good options are moisturizing shampoos, exfoliating scalp masks, coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and essential oils.

What is a dry scalp a symptom of?

A dry scalp is a symptom of various conditions including psoriasis, scalp ringworm, and actinic keratosis. It could also occur due to eczema, imbalance in scalp moisture, stress, hormonal changes, and harsh hair products.

Is oiling good for dry scalp?

Oiling can be beneficial for managing dryness and itchy bumps on scalp. Use natural oils to gently massage your scalp before washing your hair to moisturize it, decrease dryness, and relieve itchiness.


Many people struggle with dry scalp and the uncomfortable symptoms it causes. The causes of dry skin on the scalp are numerous and effects on quality of life are tremendous. Constant itchiness and other symptoms can jeopardize hair growth and contribute to hair loss.

This article discussed some of the most useful natural dry scalp treatment options. In addition to using a high-quality, nutrient-rich natural supplement and products to care for the hair, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, manage stress, and reduce exposure to heat.



Dr. Ahmed Zayad

Dr. Ahmed Zayad

Dr. Zayed, has years of experience in the field and has been contributing to public health awareness. Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. Egypt. Dr. Zayed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. His articles were featured on many websites like HuffingtonPost, Chicagotribune . Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Zayed spends his time outside the hospital, either reading or at the gym.

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayad

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