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Can Dry Scalp Cause Hair Loss? How is it Different from Dandruff?


Can't stop scratching your head? Facing redness and discomfort every time your hair dries up after a shower? Feeling like you're losing hair strands by the minute? We have a diagnosis for you – and nope, it's not dandruff. We're here to teach you everything you need to know about having a dry scalp and how it can directly cause your hair loss. Let's take a walk:

Table of Contents:

  • Dry Scalp vs. Dandruff
  • Can Dry Scalp Cause Hair Loss?
  • The Science Behind Hair Loss
  • Treating and Preventing Dry Scalp

Dry Scalp vs. Dandruff

A dry scalp can be the root cause of many hair-related problems – after all, a strong healthy scalp is the base of beautiful hair. 

Dry scalp can cause scalp flaking, for example, but that does not mean that dandruff and dry scalp are one and the same condition, and it's common for people to confuse the two. So, before going further, let’s make sure we can make the distinction between dry scalp and dandruff. 

When there is not enough sebum produced to lubricate the skin, a dry scalp occurs, often accompanied by itching and flakes. This can also make the hair look dry since there is not enough natural oil to condition it. 

Dandruff, on the other hand, occurs through exfoliation of the skin. It's normal to shed dead skin cells, but not at the speed it happens when you have dandruff. The causes of dandruff are not entirely clear yet, but it might be linked to bacteria, sebum secretion, allergies, fungus. 

Since both conditions involve flakes, it’s very easy to confuse them, but dandruff flakes are bigger and sometimes yellow-looking, while those caused by dry scalp are very small and white. 

Can Dry Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

Many factors are contributing to both dry scalp and hair loss, so in some way, the two overlap at some point, but are not necessarily linked. 

If you have a dry, itchy scalp, you probably keep scratching it, damaging your hair in the process too. And a weak scalp cannot hold a full head of thick and strong hair either. 

The Science Behind Hair Loss

Shedding about 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal, but when that amount is significantly higher, you might be dealing with hair loss. 

Most commonly, hair loss (and dry scalp) is caused by stress, as large quantities of cortisol, our body’s main stress hormone, can cause great disruptions in our hormonal activity, which includes the natural growth of our hair. Telogen effluvium, Alopecia Areata, and Trichotillomania are all types of hair loss associated with stress. 

In the case of Telogen Effluvium, there is excessive shedding without new hairs growing in the follicle. Hair appears thinner and weaker, but it does not lead to baldness, and once treated hair goes back to normal in about six months. 

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition that attacks the hair follicles, leading to hair loss, and prevents growing. Fortunately, this condition can easily be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medication. 

As for Trichotillomania, it’s the name given to the behavior of people who pull out their hair in episodes of stress. It’s usually treated with therapy, but if overlooked, it can lead to baldness. 

Treating and Preventing Dry Scalp

Thankfully, when it comes to the treatment and prevention of dry scalp, there are plenty of ways you can go about your hair’s long-term health and rejuvenation! Here are some of our favorites: 

Scalp Massage

Scalp massage is easily the best natural option when it comes to hair loss and dry skin. 

Not only does it help with stress management, but it also improves circulation, promotes airflow, and gives nourishment to the skin of the scalp. 

Essential Oils

Scalp massage is usually accompanied by oils to obtain the best results, so you might want to try diluting a few drops of rosemary or peppermint essential oils in your hair oil the next time you’re doing your post-shower haircare routine!

Both of these oils provide rejuvenating properties for the health of your hair follicle – both rosemary and peppermint effortlessly cool the skin of your scalp, reducing any trace of redness while calming the discomfort caused by irritations and itches. 

So use them confidently for an invigorating, stimulating, and rejuvenating hair experience!

The Pharmaceutical Option

Over-the-counter treatments like minoxidil can also work quite well. Minoxidil usually comes in the form of cleansing foams, and the way it helps prevent hair loss is by prolonging the active growing phase of the hair. 

However, just like with any other type of medication, make sure that you read the fine print before applying it to your scalp! The last thing you would want is a hair disaster resulted from a side effect you were unaware of. 

A Workout Routine and A Healthy Diet

A very common piece of advice, but also one that’s very important to keep in mind. Integrating sports into your daily routine and maintaining a healthy eating regime is the key to getting a healthy body all around.  

While this won’t give you immediate results in terms of your hair magically growing back overnight, the change to your daily habits will prove to be amazing in the long run. And we’re sure your doctor would agree with us!

Invest in Organic, High-Quality Products

Finally, try investing your money into fully organic products of the highest quality, and avoid sulfates and parabens! Your hair is already damaged and weakened, and so is your scalp, so you don’t need any aggressive cleansing agent doing even more harm to your already sensitive skin!

Instead, go for products that promote nourishment, are moisturizing, and are based on healthy oils, minerals, vitamins, and proteins. No idea where to start? We’ve got you covered

An oil mix of coconut, castor, jojoba, and olive oil is a must-have for anyone struggling with excessive hair loss. The forces of these organic oils combine to give your hair all the nutrients it requires to return to its silky-smooth natural state with little-to-no effort on your part – just apply it twice a week and let nature do what she does best!

Marius Capra

Charismatic copywriter, intrepid linguist, and advertising aficionado. To make a long story short, writing has always been both my greatest passion, and the one thing that would always bring me comfort - whether it was in the form of short stories, poetry, or academic writing. I love to write because I live to express myself as authentically as I can, and I am a firm believer in the fact that words can always do you justice… if you choose the right ones of course.

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