Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp: 6 Natural Remedies To Treat Both Scalp Conditions

By Vanessa Richards

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Dandruff VS Dry Scalp

Dandruff or dry scalp – which scalp condition is bothering you? It’s easy to confuse these two scalp/skin conditions. Both dandruff and dried scalp lead to white flakes on your shoulder & an itching scalp.

However, if you look closely at these white flakes, you’ll notice that dry scalp and dandruff are two completely different skin conditions.

If the white flakes on your scalp are small & dry – you probably have a dry scalp. If they’re large & oily, you probably have dandruff.

Thankfully, dry scalp, as well as dandruff, are treatable conditions. Learning about your scalp is the first step towards treating either of these two different skin conditions.

The scalp ages six times faster than other parts of the skin. It also has smell receptors. Most importantly, it’s highly prone to damage.

Let’s learn about this vital part of the skin & in doing so learn how to treat both dry scalp and dandruff.

Dry Scalp Vs Dandruff: Causes

Having a flaky and itchy scalp is the tell-tale sign of both dandruff & dry scalp. That’s because people get dry scalps when their scalps don’t produce enough oil.

This lack of lubrication leads to itching & flaking. The white flakes that you see when you get a dry scalp are skin cells that have fallen out of your scalp due to not receiving enough moisture.

Dry Scalp

A person with a dry, flaky scalp will also have dry hair because it’s not receiving enough moisture from the scalp. But, why does this happen? There are many possible reasons why dry scalp occurs.

  1. The person may have naturally dry skin.
  2. They may have a health condition that prevents their scalp & skin from producing natural oils (for example, seborrheic dermatitis).
  3. Even frequent shampooing can lead to dry scalp. Your scalp may not respond well to the harsh chemicals in your hair products.
  4. Dry scalp tends to happen more during the winter months because that’s when most people get dry skin. But, dandruff can strike you any time of the year.


As we all know, the skin is always shedding dead cells. This applies to our scalps too. A person is diagnosed with dandruff when his/her scalp starts to shed dead cells at a highly accelerated pace.

Dandruff flakes are essentially large dead cells. The faster your scalp sheds these skin cells, the bigger they become.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there’s no one fixed reason why people get excessive dandruff flakes. Potential causes include:

  1. Fungal infections in the scalp (e.g., Malassezia fungal infection)
  2. A problem in the sebaceous glands of the scalp
  3. Sensitivity to certain hair products

Most people who get mild dandruff have a non-hostile fungus called Malassezia residing on their scalps. This fungus may interact with certain scalp bacteria & cause itching & flaking.

Symptoms of Dandruff and Dry Scalp

The main dry scalp symptoms are – small, partially visible flakes, itchy scalp, & dry hair. Ever notice how your sensitive skin starts cracking because of extreme dryness during the winter? That’s exactly what happens when a dry scalp occurs.

The main symptoms of dandruff are the appearance of noticeable white flakes on your head/shoulder, scalp itch, & slight redness in the scalp. If you notice white, dry flakes falling on your shoulder from your scalp every time you brush your hair – you have dandruff.

When To See A Doctor For Dandruff And Dry Scalp

Like dry skin issues, you can manage a mild form of the dry scalp at home, without requiring anyone’s help. The same goes for mild dandruff outbreaks.

But, when microscopic dead skin cells start multiplying quickly & become heavier over time – it’s time to seek expert help. Experts can prescribe a medicated shampoo or other medications.

But, before you do, read the rest of the guide regarding dandruff and dry scalp.

6 Natural Remedies for Treating Dandruff and Dry Scalp

You can prevent dry scalp or dandruff from ever reaching this serious stage. Here are some of the best natural techniques to prevent dandruff & keep your scalp healthy & properly moisturized:

1. Apply Tea Tree Oil to Your Hair

Tea tree oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Applying it topically to your scalp can instantly help you control dandruff symptoms.

Tea tree oil is also a proven antimicrobial agent that can destroy the strain of fungus that causes dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

2. Apply Coconut Oil to Your Scalp

Applying coconut oil can instantly improve scalp hydration and prevent dryness. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties.

It can promote the growth of healthy scalp bacteria.

3. Use Aloe Vera

This succulent plant has many active ingredients and minerals that have antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can help treat dandruff.

Cut leaves from an Aloe Vera plant, collect the gel-like paste inside the leaves, mix it with coconut/oil, & apply it directly to your scalp. Let the paste sit for an hour.

Try this for a week to see if it relieves your symptoms.

4. De-Stress

Stress is one of the main triggers for seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that can cause severe dandruff. Stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices, etc., are surprisingly helpful in treating dandruff and tackling seborrheic dermatitis.

5. Add Aspirin to Your Dandruff Shampoo

This anti-inflammatory drug contains salicylic acid, an ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos. That’s because it becomes firmer when flaking skin has direct exposure to salicylic acid.

To reduce the severity of your flaky scalp, crush two aspirin tablets and mix that powder with your dandruff shampoo. 

6. Apply Baking Soda

Baking soda is a gentle exfoliant with strong antifungal properties. It can act like a gentle shampoo & reduce scaling and itchiness on your scalp.

People with sensitive skin should also consider cutting out red meat, processed foods, & sugary foods from their diets. Limiting the consumption of these food items can prevent dry scalp & reduce skin inflammation.

Best Shampoo Products For Dandruff and Dry Scalp

If these home remedies don’t work, advanced scalp treatment with the use of topical antifungal medications or corticosteroids may be necessary. Many dermatologists recommend patients hair products that contain Zinc Pyrithione – a strong anti-dandruff agent. Others recommend medicines.

You should always consult with your dermatologist before trying out these types of products. However, you don’t need a doctor’s permission to try out medicated shampoos or organic hair supplements.

Here are some of the most highly-rated products that can help tackle dandruff & prevent dry scalp:

1. Top Consumer’s Choice: Dry Itchy Scalp Remedies by Mia Wadsworth

Best Dandruff Shampoo

To treat dandruff or dry scalp, you must understand how these skin conditions manifest & how they can be tackled with natural tools. That’s where Dry Itchy Scalp Remedies by Mia Wadsworth can help.

This isn’t shampoo. It’s an eBook that recommends less frequent shampooing. But, it’s a must-have item for anyone suffering from scalp issues.

It features a plethora of data on how to treat dandruff & other scalp problems using only natural strategies. Once you learn about chemical-free scalp care, it’s the only form of scalp & skincare that you’ll love.

So, read this comprehensive eBook, and learn all the natural remedies. For avoiding scalp problems & start healing!

Shop Dry Itchy Scalp E-Book at the Official Website.

2. Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with Nourishing Care: WOW Hair Shampoo and Conditioner

Best Dandruff Shampoo

This anti-dandruff shampoo has been a lifesaver for many people who’ve experienced severe dandruff and other similar scalp conditions. That’s the condition when the scalp loses so many cells that it starts to develop small sores.

The WOW Hair Shampoo and Conditioner is a useful product in such situations because it’s packed with moisturizing natural oils that can instantly re-moisturize the scalp.

After that, other ingredients in this dandruff shampoo like coconut oil, shea butter, & almond oil help nourish the scalp & make it less itchy.

Shop at the Official Amazon Store.

The Best Supplements for Tackling Dandruff & Flaky Scalp

1. Top Consumer’s Choice: Restolin

thinning hair

A poor diet can make your dandruff worse. That’s when nutrient-packed supplements like Restolin can be extremely helpful.

This highly-rated supplement contains 17+ natural ingredients such as Essiac tea complex, pine bark, Vitamin C, etc.

These ingredients combine to give the scalp the nourishment it needs to prevent damage from sun exposure, harsh chemicals in hair products, etc.

Shop at Restolin’s Official Website

2. Best Overall Hair Supplement: Hairfortin

thinning hair

This supplement is a richer version of Restolin. It contains over 28 plant extracts and vitamins. Ingredients like selenium sulfide, paniculata, biotin, etc., have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

They can help nourish your itching scalp & your immune system.

Shop at Hairfortin’s Official Website

3. Most Popular Health Supplement: Divine Locks

thinning hair

It is a supplement that promotes hair growth. It’s on this list because it contains an interesting mix of ingredients.

Polygonum multiflorum, spirulina, coal tar, saw palmetto, and horsetail extracts are some of the rare & unique ingredients found in this supplement.

Don’t worry – all of these ingredients are 100% organic & they all combine to promote the production of dermal papillae in the scalp. Dermal papillae grow to become the healthy skin cells on your scalp.

So, by taking Divine Locks, you’re basically replacing all the minuscule dead skin cells you lose in the form of dry flakes & dandruff.

Shop at Divine Locks’s Official Website

4. Best for Hair and Scalp Care: Folital

thinning hair

Folital is another supplement that addresses dry scalp & dandruff from within. It contains nourishing ingredients like Psyllium Husk & Flaxseed. The nourishment these ingredients provide can help regenerate damaged skin cells on your scalp.

Shop at Folital’s Official Website

5. Best Natural Ingredients: Revifol Hair Loss

thinning hair

Revifol is a vegan-friendly hair anti-dandruff supplement. It contains rare vitamins and minerals like zinc pyrithione, Vitamin B6, Biotin, etc. These nourishing agents combine to prevent the release of certain harmful enzymes in the scalp.

By doing so, they enrich the dry scalp & prevent it from producing too less or too much oil. Thus, both insufficient and excess oil production are taken care of.

Shop at Revifol’s Official Website

6. Best Practical Choice: Folexin

thinning hair

Alopecia patients who frequently suffer from dry scalp & hair loss often use Folexin. It’s a safe, easy-to-consume dietary supplement that’s packed with healthy ingredients like Barley Grass, Plant Sterols, Biotin, etc.

Shop at Folexin’s Official Website


There are many differences between dandruff & dry scalp. But, the one thing these two skin conditions have in common is how they’re treated. They can only be treated with daily attention and loving care.

So, start taking better care of your scalp. Use the right hair products & take the right supplements. Let’s say goodbye to itchy, flaky, dry, and dandruff-ridden scalps forever!

Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp FAQs

How can I tell if I have dandruff or a dry scalp?

There’s a subtle difference between dandruff and a dried scalp. Look at the size of the flakes falling off your scalp and you can tell the difference between dandruff and the other condition. If they’re small & dry – you probably have a dry scalp. If they’re big & oily, you probably have dandruff.

Is dandruff contagious?

No. It’s a skin condition that arises from within. You can’t catch it from someone else.

How long does dandruff last?

It can take at least a week for a good anti-dandruff shampoo to work. So, don’t give up on your anti-dandruff hair products just after a week of trying them.

Is dandruff a hormonal issue?

Could be. Teenagers typically have high hormone levels. For some, this means more oil production in their scalps which leads to dandruff. 

Vanessa Richards

Vanessa is a mom of 3 lovely children and a software geek. Outside of her career as a health and wellness instructor. She enjoys writing and researching on topics such as finance, software, health and culinary.

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