Friday, November 30, 2012

What's The Difference?

This time of year, with the changing weather and furnaces full blast, our scalps can freak out on us.  Unfortunately, Head & Shoulders has revolved their marketing schemes around making you believe that any type of flake from your scalp is dandruff.  Totally not the case, in fact, dandruff is pretty uncommon.  The funny thing is that Head & Shoulders doesn't even cure dandruff, but since it helps with dandruff symptoms, they can claim that the product is 'for' dandruff.

Dry Scalp:
-Caused by dehydration, much like the skin on your body.  When your body is dehydrated, it can show in your skin and scalp. Drink lots of water!!  The scalp may flake more than your skin because it combines with your scalp's oils.
-Using a cheap shampoo can irritate your scalp (and hair) with it's harsh sulfates.  A sulfate free shampoo like any of Pureology's will be much more gentle on the scalp and even preserve your hair colour.  Specifically, Pureology's Purify shampoo can soothe a dry scalp with it's tea tree oil and chamomile.
-Dry scalp can be described as flakes in the hair, near the scalp.  It tends to feel like how dry skin would, tight and itchy, but usually not found in significant patches. Washing your hair with cooler water and less often can help relieve the symptoms.
-Avoiding hair products with a high alcohol content, especially cheap hairsprays, can help to prevent dry scalp.

-Categorized by greasy or waxy flakes, itchiness, stinging and 'chunkier' flakes. You can tell the difference between dandruff and dry scalp because dandruff doesn't feel dry at all, yet still produces flaking.
-Caused by Seborrheic Dermatitis which is actually a fungal/yeast condition of the skin.  It can occur in all areas of the body and can even spread if not treated.
-Dandruff can be brought on by infrequent shampooing, stress, weather extremes, excessive use of high alcohol content products and a general blockage or build up on the scalp.
-Using Pureology's Purify shampoo can provide some relief to dandruff due to it's anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties (tea tree oil).  However, the dandruff needs to be cleared up with a medicated shampoo like Nizoral which is different from Head & Shoulders because it contains ketoconazole, the medication that treats the fungus.
Hopefully this info helps to clear up exactly what the difference is between dry scalp and dandruff.  We often see an overreaction to flakes and usually a few flakes are not a big deal.  
Since there are other scalp conditions associated with flakes (psoriasis, eczema), it's best to consult your doctor for a diagnosis before treating a scalp issue.  As hairstylists, we can certainly provide our professional opinion based on a scalp analysis but a proper diagnosis is best left to a medical professional.

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