Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp vs. Psoriasis

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Difference between Dandruff, Dry Scalp and Psoriasis

Many people from all over the world suffer from dandruff and dry scalp, and as alarming and bothersome as these two conditions are, they certainly pale in comparison to psoriasis. All these conditions strike the skin of course, but they have a few other differences, as you will see in this comparison article.

Dry Scalp


Dandruff or Pityriasis simplex capillitii is a condition in which dead skin cells are shed from the scalp. Although similar to dry scalp, the two conditions are actually quite different. You should be aware that it is normal for a certain amount of skin cells to die and flake off, particularly when the skin is exposed to detergent. However, there are some people who experience a considerable amount of flaking due to triggers or various other factors. In such full blown cases of dandruff, the affected area of the skin may also show signs of redness and irritation.

Dry scalp is a condition that is quite similar to dandruff as mentioned previously, although it is not as noticeable, with much smaller flakes. However, people who suffer from dry scalp may experience excessive itching due to the lack of natural oils in the scalp.

Psoriasis is a much more serious condition than either dandruff or dry scalp, and it is actually considered a chronic, autoimmune disease of the skin. Psoriasis occurs when faulty signals are sent out by the immune system of the body, resulting in the excessive and rapid growth of skin cells. Although quite unattractive to look at, psoriasis isn't actually contagious. Some people who have psoriasis may also not display any symptoms at all.


The skin is actually comprised of an epidermal layer that is constantly working to replace its own cells. When this happens, the cells are pushed toward the outer part of the skin, where they die eventually and flake off. In an otherwise healthy person, the skin cells that flake off are too small to be seen easily by the naked eye. In a person with dandruff however, the process by which the cells die and flake off occurs more rapidly, and this is evident in very visible flakes. The condition can be caused by allergies to the chemicals in hair gel, sprays, shampoo, or other hair products. Dandruff may even be caused by a substance that supposedly eases dandruff symptoms: ketoconazole.  These same factors may also cause or at least contribute to dry scalp.

As for psoriasis, its root cause is still undetermined, although there are theories that explain its occurrence due to physiological and immune-mediated causes.


Dandruff is commonly treated with shampoos that contain a combination of dandruff control ingredients. These products commonly contain salicylic acid and sulphur in addition to the aforementioned keotconazole.

Psoriasis on the other hand is often treated with a variety of different therapies that may be rotated to prevent resistance to the active substance. Antibiotics may also be used to address infections.

Similarities and Differences


  • Also known as Pityriasis simplex capillitii
  • Is a condition in which dead skin cells are shed from the scalp
  • Affected area of the skin may also show signs of redness and irritation

Dry scalp

  • A condition similar to dandruff


  • A chronic, autoimmune disease of the skin

Which condition is most noticeable?
  • Dandruff
  • Dry Scalp
  • Psoriasis

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • Hair wrote on December 2010

thanks that was great resource to control the pserosis, but i hav tried everything, but it comes back once i stop the therapy is there any permanaent solution for it.

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