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The difference between dandruff and a dry scalp

It's embarrassing....a dry flaky scalp. 
Dry scalp or dandruff
The scalp can become dry for a variety of reasons. It also can be irritated and flaky from dandruff. What's the difference? Let's compare the issues starting with dandruff.

Dandruff vs Dry Scalp

Flakes are white
Flakes are thick
Flakes have a heavy texture
The scalp is irritated
The scalp is itchy

Research has shown that dandruff is caused by a fungus called Malassezia Globosa. Don't panic! This fungus lives on everybody's scalp. The fungus feeds off of the natural oils that are produced by the oil glands in the scalp. We have those oils to keep our scalp and hair moisturized and healthy. The problem is, the natural oils are broken down by the fungus and a by product called oleic acid is produced. 

Oleic acid isn't a bad or dangerous thing, but some people are sensitive to it. It causes redness and irritation in those sensitive people. The body responds by trying to get rid of the irritant by shedding skin cells faster creating dandruff. If we reduce the fungus, there will be less oleic acid, less irritation and then, less flaking.

This oleic acid factor is interesting. It's Omega 9 fatty acid. Many people will use oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil, to moisturize their scalps to get rid of the flakes. If you are a person sensitive to oleic acid, your scalp will become more irritated and your dandruff will become worse from the oil. 

Try using an oil high in linoleic acid, omega 6 fatty acid, if you like using an oil on your scalp. A few are safflower oil, hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, pumpkin seed oil, grape seed oil and soybean oil. Linoleic acid has anti inflammatory properties and can help improve some skin conditions including acne. 

Dandruff Remedies:
There are some things you can do to control the fungus and reduce or even stop the flakes.

Use a dandruff shampoo 
Look for these ingredients in your shampoo:
Zinc Pyrithione- anti fungal
Tea Tree Oil- anti fungal
Ketoconazole-anti fungal
Coal Tar- slows skin shedding
Selenium Sulfide- slows skin shedding
Salicylic Acid- exfoliates excess skin cells

Use tea tree oil
Tea tree oil aka melaleuca oil is a natural essential oil that has strong anti fungal properties. Apply a few drops to your fingertips and massage it into your scalp. Wait 10 minutes, then shampoo. Cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, sage and lemon are some other essential oils helpful in treating dandruff.

Shampoo more often
Shampoo your hair every day or every other day with a gentle dandruff shampoo to reduce the amount of oleic acid on your scalp and rinse away flakes.

Dry scalp
Flakes are white
Flakes are thin
Flakes are powdery
Scalp feels tight
Scalp may be itchy

A dry scalp will respond to a moisturizing treatment. Dandruff will not.

A dry scalp can be a natural skin type that you have just like dry skin.

Dry scalp can be caused by styling products, chemical hair processes such as hair color, a shampoo that contains drying ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate, dry winter air, lack of vitamin D from sunlight, stress and too much alcohol consumption.

Dry scalp remedies:

Moisturizing Shampoo

Use gentle, high quality moisturizing shampoo.

Read about Maple Holistics Hydrate Shampoo

Use gentle, high quality conditioner each time your shampoo. Massage the conditioner onto your scalp as well as your hair, wait 5 minutes and rinse.

Scalp Treatment
Try scalp treatment such as Moroccan Oil Dry Scalp Treatment. Apply it to your scalp. Wait 10 minutes. Then shampoo.

Scalp Massage
Give yourself a good scalp massage once or twice a week to stimulate circulation and oil production in the scalp or have a head and neck massage done at the salon.

Take Vitamin D
Many of us are Vitamin D deficient due to less time spent in the sun and the use of sunscreens. Take Vitamin D supplement to make sure you are getting enough. Always eat a food high in magnesium, such as bananas and pumpkin seeds, when you take the D. The body needs the magnesium to process Vitamin D.

Less Alcohol 
Drink less alcohol and drink more water when you are out for a night on the town. One drink, one glass of water. Another drink, another glass of water.

shampoo and sugar exfoliant
Add a tablespoon of sugar to a dollop of your shampoo. Massage the mixture into your scalp to exfoliate the flakes away.

Eat Healthy
Try The Good Hair Diet to make sure you are eating all the good foods the hair and skin needs to be beautiful and healthy.

        Have a Beautiful Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

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