Image from kdvr.com
Many of us, especially in cold and dry weather, may see white flakes falling from our hair and assume they are dandruff. Flakes from dry scalp are far more common than true dandruff.
Dandruff is caused by overgrowth of a yeast (malassezia) present on most normal skin. Less washed hair can result in a more oily scalp. Malassezia grow by “feeding” on the oil produced by the sebaceous glands attached to hair follicles. Dandruff is treated with more frequent hair washing to reduce oil. In some cases, specific antifungal shampoos are recommended by a dermatologist.
It’s important to recognize the difference between dry scalp and dandruff, because treatments for dry scalp moisturize the skin, whereas treatments for dandruff try to reduce oiliness and moisture, so using the wrong method can further dry out a dry scalp or overly moisturize an oily one. If you can’t tell the difference, try applying a small amount of moisturizer to your head before sleeping; after rinsing it out in the morning, if the flakes still remain, you’re probably looking at dandruff.
This time of year is famous for dry scalp and flare-ups in dandruff, so make sure to take care of your body and prioritize a healthy scalp!