What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a skin condition that affects the scalp. The majority of patients with dandruff complain of itching and flaking skin. It is not technically a medical condition, but rather a dry scalp condition. I am often asked what the difference between dry scalp and dandruff is. Visually they look the same, although there is no such condition as “dry scalp”. It can be an embarrassing condition for the sufferer since it is noticeable on the shoulders and within the hair itself.
What causes dandruff?
Many things can be behind dandruff, but it is usually down to a hormonal change, such as puberty, or environmental issues. It is essential to know that dandruff and eczema are two completely different conditions.
How can I treat dandruff?
In most cases, washing the hair daily and reducing intake of dairy products will help to treat dandruff. Ketoconazole products can also help.
What is eczema?
I would refer to eczema on the scalp as seborrheic eczema, due to the involvement of the sebaceous glands and the increased yeast that is produced. It can present as any or all of the following: an oily scalp, light scales of skin stuck to the scalp and at the base of the hair shaft, and red patches on the scalp (almost like sunburn). It is either very itchy or sometimes even tender/sore to the touch. Hopefully, this article clarifies the difference between eczema or dandruff and how they are treated.
What causes eczema?
Similarly to dandruff, hormonal changes, including starting the pill or having a baby, can trigger this chronic scalp condition. Stress can also cause eczema due to the change in hormones, as well as poor personal hygiene, and occasionally perfumed products, which can irritate the scalp.
What is the difference between dandruff and eczema?
Dandruff presents as powder-like dry scales, whereas eczema is more of an inflammatory condition. Dandruff is short-term, whereas eczema is a chronic condition that can only be controlled with long-term treatment.
What is the difference between eczema and a dry scalp?
To the untrained eye, very little. But on closer inspection by a trained and experienced practitioner, an inflamed red scalp, oily scalp environment, constant itching and sometimes an odour is what separates eczema from dandruff.