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The E'Lure Salon and Spa Blog lists topics from varying subjects and indviduals.  The subject matter is solely the expressed opinion of the commentor.

Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp

09/10/2017 07:25:00

Charlotte P. Allen

There is a lot of information in the blog world talking about the differences between Dandruff and Dry Scalp.   One thing is for certain.  If you have either one, you want to get rid of it!  This commentary post will focus on some ways to help you diagnose whether you have Dandruff or Dry Scalp, while offering a few suggestions to help you get rid of them.
 
First, what is Dandruff?  Dandruff is a mixture of dead skin cells, sweat, bacteria and oil, which comes from the follicle of the hair.  Almost every week I have clients who believe they have dandruff.  When in fact, they actually have dry scalp.   We’ll talk about “dry scalp” a little later....  But, dandruff is more irritating than dry scalp.  It’s more greasy and oily and appear as patches in certain spots of your head.  Untreated, it can spread to all over the scalp.  
 
When servicing a client, some of the tricks I use to help me determine if it’s Dandruff or not is to search for the following:

1)      Are the flakes greasy or oily and stick to the hair and scalp?
2)      Are the flakes yellowish or grayish in color?
3)      Does it occupy a patchy area of the scalp?
4)      Is it itchy?


When combing the hair through with a comb or brush, do clumps of residue stick to the edge and teeth of the comb?

In almost every case, when dealing with extreme cases of dandruff or some other type of issues (sores, extreme tenderness to scalp, bleeding, irritation), I would strongly recommend my client visit a Dermatologist.  Be sure when you visit the Dermatologist you tell them everything you put in your hair (chemicals, sprays, shampoo’s etc) and what you did to your hair prior to any symptoms being noticed.  In fact, be sure to communicate to your hair stylist if you have any allergies and health issues.  This will help them better assess the best course of action for your hair.
 
Dry Scalp, on the other hand, has some of the same symptoms as dandruff but is less severe.  It is caused due to the shedding of dead skin.  That dead skin is the result of itching, scratching, over combing or severe dehydration due to lack of water consumption.  If you have Dry Scalp in almost every case you have dry skin all over your body. 

In reality, our entire body produces new skin cells every day.  The new skin cells form and move to the surface and force the older skin cells to die and flake off.  Our daily activity helps rub this excess skin off as well as moisturizing our skin.  In fact, every minute over 30,000 dead skin cells fall from our bodies.  So it is no wonder that almost half of the U.S. Population along suffer from Dry Scalp.
 
Seasonality also plays a major part as well when assessing Dry Scalp.  People traditionally have more Dry Scalp issues in the colder months than in warmer months. 
 
Below are some of the things you can look for to help you diagnose if you have Dry Scalp:
 
1)    Do you have Dry Skin all over your body?
            b. [Your scalp IS SKIN.  If you have dry skin, acne or other blemishes this can be the reason why you have Dry Scalp.]
2)    Are the flakes NOT sticky or greasy?
3)    Are the flakes white in color?
4)    Does it occupy you scalp all over?
5)    Is there itching and irritation all over your scalp?
6)    When you comb or brush your hair are there NO clumps or sticky residue - just white flakes from the hair that fall off?
 
As a hair stylist for more than a decade, many of my clients want all of their flakes removed from their hair.  They’ve tried all types of oils and dandruff shampoos, but the flakes still remain.  For many, to go to the salon and leave with their hair full of flakes defeats the purpose of going to the salon.  So many concede the only sure way to remove the flakes from their hair is to completely remove it from the source, the scalp.  “Scratching it up” with a comb is the only remedy for immediate results.  I have some clients who come to the salon with their hair already pre-scratched.  If you are one who “scratch up” and have no signs of irritation, sores or bleeding, a light amount of pressure with a sterilized comb will remove the flakes from your scalp without any residual effects.

 

Please note that if YOU DO have Dandruff or any other type of scalp irritation and chose to scratch your scalp, it could result in the spread of various types of dandruff infections.  Also, it is possible you could cause bacteria to seep into your scalp, which could form even more deadly types of bacteria like a staff infection.  So be cautious of any symptoms and when in doubt, consult a Dermatologist!

 

Charlotte

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