Dandruff vs. Scalp Psoriasis (Differences)

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Dandruff is one of common scalp problems and anyone can have it. While many times it can be triggered by poor skin care (such as not shampooing often enough), it also can be a symptom of some scalp problems, like psoriasis. How to get to know when it is only regular dandruff or a sign of scalp psoriasis?

What actually is dandruff?

Fortunately, generally it is not serious health condition. It is also not contagious and usually can be treated with mild treatment or even with home remedies. However, having dandruff can be embarrassing.

Mild cases of the problem usually don’t need special treatment to improve. Many times, it goes away with daily shampooing – there are many products of shampoo that specially designed to treat and prevent dandruff.


What are the symptoms?

Typically, it is characterized by flaking of the dead skin cell that comes from the scalp. For most cases, it is easy and visible to spot; oily-looking flakes & white of dead skin that usually dot on the hairs or fall on shoulders.

Sometime it may also cause itchy, increasing the urge of scratching your scalp. The problem usually gets worse in the winter, because indoor heating may make the skin of scalp dry even more. And then it usually improves in the summer.

What are the causes?

There are many things that can cause the problem, these may include:

  1. Many times, it is caused by poor hair care routines. Washing your hair regularly is important otherwise there will be more build-ups of skin cells from your scalp which then can cause what we call as dandruff.
  2. Dry skin! Having dry scalp can cause the problem – this maybe the most common cause.
  3. Sensitive to certain ingredient of a hair-care product! For instance, some people find that their scalp is sensitive to ingredient called paraphenylenediamine.
  4. The problem may become a sign of certain health condition such as psoriasis, eczema, or a fungal infection.

Risk factors

image_illustration151Risk factors are conditions that put you at greater chance of having dandruff than others. These may include:

  1. Gender – men are more likely to have it than women. Experts theorize that male hormones may be the answer. Furthermore, women have smaller oil-producing glands on the scalp if compared with men.
  2. Age – the problem is often found between young adulthood and middle age. However, the problem can be a lifelong condition in a few cases.
  3. If you are individual who has excessively oily hair & skin.
  4. Some experts believe that what you eat may also have an effect. Sometime certain nutrient deficiencies can affect the risk, particularly deficiencies of B vitamin, certain types of fats, and zinc.
  5. Neurological diseases such as HIV and Parkinson’s disease. It’s not fully understood, but people with these health problems are more likely to have dandruff.

How about with scalp psoriasis – What are the differences?

Both having dandruff and scalp psoriasis can be very bothersome & embarrassing, but scalp psoriasis may become a serious health condition if left untreated. Psoriasis is not contagious, but it must be controlled as well to reduce the risk of complications from the disease.


Fortunately, the problem should be a controllable condition with appropriate treatment. Some treatment options are available to cope with the problem.

What does it look like?

Typically, it causes red-patches of the affected skin or scalp. These patches are usually wrapped with silvery scales that can attach to the affected hair shaft.

The problem may cause a thick trust (patch scaling) on the affected scalp which then may spread beyond hairline. And when you remove it, it may bleed.

Moreover, the problem also can be itchy or soreness. And another interesting symptom is dandruff-like flaking.

Having dandruff is often associated with poor hair care. But if it comes with other unusual symptoms mentioned above, see a dermatologist to get a clearly diagnosis!


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