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Difference between Itchy scalp and Dandruff

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It can get really embarrassing when your scalp itches while you are in a party or a meeting. It puts a dent to your personality. And the falling of white flakes on your shoulder is a big no-no. To get rid of the problem you need to identify the cause of itchiness; whether it is dandruff or just an itchy scalp. Let us understand the difference between the two.

Itchy scalp

Itchy scalp can be caused due to dry scalp. The skin of our scalp renews every 24 hours and the old cells are replaced by new cells. The old cells are shed off. Application of strong shampoos or detergents, very cold weather, accumulation of chemicals on the scalp or wrong diet like excess caffeine can accelerate this shedding process causing the itchy feeling. Intense itchy feeling with small white powdery flakes falling off from the hair is a sign of dry and itchy scalp.

The problem can be easily resolved. Light warm oil massage to the scalp can work wonders on a dry and itchy scalp. Olive oil or jojoba oil massage is especially effective on a dry scalp. Yoghurt (curd) and honey mask or any other natural hair mask can revitalise the scalp and hair by hydrating them. A good quality moisturising shampoo and conditioner can also help resolve the problem of dry and itchy scalp. Drinking a good amount of water is a sure shot way of hydrating the skin of the body and the scalp.

Dry and itchy scalp can also be caused by certain dermatological conditions like psoriasis and Seborrheic dermatitis. This requires prompt medical attention. If the scales are yellowy, silvery and oily, they must be examined by a good dermatologist.

Dandruff

Small amount of dead skin cells are regularly shed off by the scalp. But when this quantity increases it is called as dandruff or pityriasis. Dandruff is actually caused by excess oil in the scalp. Oily scalp encourages the growth of a specific variety of yeast that feeds on the dead skin cells of the scalp. It accelerates the shedding of dead skin cells in the form of white clumps. The flakes in dandruff are yellowy and greasy to touch and are tightly stuck to the scalp. It is difficult to dislodge them. The scalp will be itchy and have a foul odour.

There can be many causes of dandruff. Consumption of oily and less nutritious food, stress, anxiety, improper hair care, infrequent hair washing, extreme cold weather, hormonal imbalance etc. have been associated with dandruff.

Mild cases of dandruff can be treated by regular shampooing of hair. Stubborn dandruff needs to be treated with medicated shampoos that contain selenium, zinc and ketoconazole. Consuming less oily foods, foods devoid of trans-fats and increasing the quantity of fruits and vegetables in your diet can improve the dandruff problem.

To summarise, itchy scalp and dandruff are often considered as the same. But actually they is a difference between the two. Itchy scalp can be caused by dryness or other medical condition such as eczema whereas dandruff is the problem of oily scalp.


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References :


[0]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandruff

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