Tag Archives: dandruff

Dandruff or Dry Scalp?

dandruff or dry scalpLast week a young man with a thick head of hair, aged 23, came into our hair restoration clinic in Orange County desperately seeking clinical help. The problem? Although he had a beautifully full head of hair, it was riddled with white flakes. He said he didn’t know where else to turn. That he is in extremely good physical and mental shape, minds his fruits and vegetables, and always practices good hygiene. His personal and professional life cause him no undue stress and he rarely, if ever, doesn’t get a full nights rest. At first he thought he suffered from a temporary bout of dandruff, but as the weeks turned into months turned into years, the presence of white flakes only grew larger and more numerous. Giving up on styling his hair because it would result in chunks of white flakes clumping up on the top and sides of his head, he turned to wearing baseball caps and beanies almost everyday. 

It’s clear: the problem our young friend suffers from is dry scalp.

While both dandruff and dry scalp display similar symptoms, they are very different in nature, and require different treatments. Dry scalp usually stems from a lack of moisture in the air. Colder and drier climates often cause the scalp to suffer as such. From there, your scalp becomes irritated, causing skin to flake and shed. If your scalp is dry, skin on other areas of your body may be as well. Dandruff, conversely, is caused by excess oil which causes skin cells to build up and, overtime, shed – or flake off.

Combating Dry Scalp with a DHT-Blocking Shampoo

The first and immediate response to combating dry scalp is to wash your hair daily with a gentle, natural and DHT-blocking shampoo/conditioner mix that 

  1. Reduces the oil build up on the scalp
  2. Heals inflammation and redness
  3. Fights follicle miniaturization

The shampoo we stand behind and recommend is GroMD. When using GroMD’s patented DHT-blocking shampoo, the process of washing your hair is a bit different. The powerful ingredients in the shampoo need time to absorb into your hair and scalp, so it is important to let the lather sit for several minutes before you rinse out. In addition, GroMD’s DHT-blocking shampoo also acts as a conditioner. Using a DHT-blocking shampoo and conditioner is one of the best ways to deal with dry scalp, and when combined with minoxidil, pattern hair loss as well.

Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.

Do you suffer from an itchy scalp?

An itchy scalp is more than just annoying – it can actually cause hair loss.
Hair loss from an itchy scalp is most often caused by the constant scratching rather than the condition causing the itching. Scratching irritates the scalp and can cause damage to the tissue and follicles.
For those who have an itchy scalp, it can sometimes be difficult to track down the cause. Once a cause is determined, you can begin treating the root of the problem, eliminating the itchiness and stopping further hair loss.
Common causes of an itchy scalp are dandruff (or seborrheic dermatitis), dry scalp, psoriasis, folliculitis, and traction alopecia.
Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) – this condition consists of flakes that appear throughout the scalp. Dandruff is often itchy, but doesn’t cause hair loss on its own. While doctors don’t know the exact causes of dandruff, many individuals are able to regulate and control their condition with special shampoos and dietary accommodations. More information found here.
Dry scalp – while a dry scalp can cause flakes similar to dandruff, the treatments are very different. With a dry scalp, simply changing up your moisturization method could solve the problem, while adding moisturizer to a scalp with dandruff could make the problem worse.  A dry scalp could be caused by weather changes or improper nutrition, among other things. More information found here.
Psoriasis – psoriasis of the scalp is a condition in which dead skin cells build up causing itchy, red scales. These scales can cause hair loss if left untreated. Treatment methods vary from prescription medication to specialized shampoos. Many individuals find relief through coal tar of salicylic acid based shampoos. More information found here.
Folliculitis – this condition is an infection of the hair follicles. Folliculitis is characterized by red pimples that appear across the scalp. If left untreated, it can cause hair loss. This condition is caused by bacteria, fungus, or a buildup of sebum or sweat residue. Folliculitis is contagious so be sure to keep your scalp clean, especially when using pools or sharing accessories.
Traction alopecia – if you style your hair in tight braids or pulled back styles, you may have traction alopecia. This condition is caused by the constant tension your hair and follicles endure when styled tightly. This condition is popular in women and those who wear weaves. Traction alopecia causes scalp itchiness and hair loss. More information found here.

Are those flakes in your hair dandruff or scalp psoriasis?

According to Proctor and Gamble, approximately 50% of people in the U.S. deal with dandruff and dry scalp issues.
This common hair malady can usually be resolved through the use of specialized shampoos, adjustment of hair products used, and even increased hydration and improved diet.
Psoriasis on the other hand, is a more serious medical condition that involves the immune system.
A buildup of skin cells causes flaky patches across the scalp. These patches itch and typically appear raised, red, and scaly. In addition to itchiness, scalp psoriasis can cause soreness, burning, and bumps.
Psoriasis is not curable but can be treatable. If you have scalp psoriasis, its important you find a treatment regimen that works for you, as leaving scalp psoriasis untreated can cause the patches to flare up, becoming increasingly uncomfortable, itchy, sore, and eventually causing hair loss.
The most common treatments for psoriasis involve salicylic acid and coal tar. There are creams, ointments, and shampoos that contain either of these active ingredients and work to calm and control the spread and severity of the scalp psoriasis.
Different active ingredients work differently for everyone. It is possible that salicylic acid may not resolve your psoriasis symptoms, while the coal tar may be more beneficial. It is best to get samples of each and see which one works best for you.
For more severe cases, you’ll need to visit your doctor or dermatologist for a prescription. Often times, medications containing steroids are beneficial in treating psoriasis, but they can only be used for a short amount of time.
If you believe scalp psoriasis may be causing your hair loss symptoms and would like to learn more about what you can do prevent continued hair loss, give us a call for a consultation today.