Woman taking a hot shower

A dry scalp is a common condition that is often confused with . People treat it with anti-dandruff shampoos and get frustrated when they don’t work. You must realize that these two are very different conditions that have the same symptoms — dryness, itchiness, and flakes. If you’re not sure which one is cramping your style, read on.

What is a Dry Scalp?

A dry scalp occurs when the scalp gets irritated, which causes flaking. On the other hand, dandruff results from excess oil causing a buildup of dead skin cells that eventually shed. Triggers of dry scalp include cold, dry air, as well as skin aging. Another reason could be contact dermatitis caused by a reaction to a product such as shampoo, conditioner, and styling spray or gel.

Generally, one tell-tale sign that what you have is a dry scalp is if the skin on your arms and legs are very dry, too. You could also try applying moisturizer to your scalp before going to bed. If the flakes go away after showering the next day, you have a dry scalp.

How to Manage Dry Scalp

Just like dandruff, a dry scalp can be a nuisance. It’s itchy, uncomfortable, and sprinkles flakes all over shoulders. If you find yourself constantly brushing flakes away, then you must take control of the situation. Here are some ways to manage a dry scalp — in style.

Wash your hair with warm water.

When the air turns cold and dry, it can be tempting to . It can . Use warm water instead and don’t take too long to prevent stripping your scalp of its natural oils. You could also wash your hair less. If you shampoo twice a day, make it once a day at least until your scalp’s moisture levels return to normal.

Switch to gentler hair products.

Contact dermatitis is one common trigger for dry scalp. It’s an allergic reaction that results from using specific products. You can get contact dermatitis from shampoo, soaps, hair dyes, waxes, gels, and hair sprays. If you have a dry scalp, start using a gentle, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo and Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Conditioner is a good combination for managing dry scalp. It delivers soothing moisture on irritated, flaky skin, strengthening the scalp and hair.

Change up your style.

Treating dry scalp doesn’t happen overnight. In the meantime, stick to light-colored tops since flakes are noticeable in solid, dark colors. You could also do prints, which can camouflage the flakes. Off-the-shoulder tops are also a good option since flakes also aren’t noticeable on bare skin.

A dry scalp can be irritating, but it’s a manageable condition. Choose gentle products and avoid subjecting your scalp to drying conditions, such as hot showers and chemical treatments. It won’t be long until you can wear dark shirts again.