How To Inform The Distinction


In case your scalp itches and flakes, your physician can inform if it’s simply dandruff or a extra significant issue like psoriasis, a illness that causes crimson, scaly patches in your pores and skin. After you have the correct analysis, you may deal with the trigger and get some reduction.

What Is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a standard pores and skin downside. You might discover flakes that fall off your scalp and cling to your hair or land in your clothes. Your scalp could itch, too.

A number of issues could cause dandruff:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis: That is oily, itchy, irritated pores and skin that flakes off in your scalp. It can also occur along with your eyebrows, groin, or chest hair.
  • Contact dermatitis: Hair care merchandise like shampoo, gel, or dye can irritate your scalp and trigger redness, itchiness, and flakes.
  • Fungus referred to as malassezia is a yeast that thrives on the oil in your scalp.
  • In case you don’t shampoo your hair typically sufficient, oily pores and skin can flake off.
  • Dry pores and skin can result in small flakes in your scalp. You’ll most likely have dry pores and skin throughout your physique.
  • Male hormones:Males usually tend to get dandruff than ladies.
  • Folks whose immune techniques can’t combat off illnesses, as an example individuals who have HIV, could also be extra more likely to get dandruff.

Dandruff normally isn’t severe. You’ll be able to’t catch it from anybody else or go it on. It may be uncomfortable or embarrassing, although. Dandruff could be handled at residence with no prescription.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Psoriasis can have an effect on your scalp, and the crimson, scaly patches it causes can flake off like dandruff does. There are a number of variations, although:

  • It’s power: Psoriasis is long-lasting whereas dandruff could come and go.
  • It’s extra scaly than flaky. If it’s delicate, scalp psoriasis seems like scaly, silvery, or powdery patches that will come off in tiny items. Extra severe outbreaks could be crimson and painful.
  • It could unfold. Psoriasis patches can creep previous your hairline to your brow, the again of your neck, or the pores and skin round your ears. You will have psoriasis patches on different elements of your physique, too, like your elbows, legs, ft, palms, or again.
  • It’s an autoimmune illness. Psoriasis is attributable to your physique’s immune system: White blood cells that ought to combat off illnesses assault your pores and skin cells as a substitute.

View a slideshow to see what scalp psoriasis seems like.



Your physician could determine the rationale your scalp flakes or itches simply out of your signs. To make sure, they could have a look at a small piece of pores and skin out of your scalp underneath a microscope or ship it to a lab.


You probably have delicate dandruff as a result of your scalp is greasy or oily, chances are you’ll simply strive a daily, light shampoo.

If that doesn’t assist, some shampoos are made to manage dandruff. They could have zinc pyrithione (Head & Shoulders, Free & Clear), coal tar (Neutrogena T/Gel), salicylic acid (Neutrogena T/Sal), selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue), or ketoconazole (Nizoral). Tea tree oil is an alternate therapy for dandruff. Comply with the instructions on the shampoo bottle.

Your physician or pharmacist can level you to the correct shampoo for you. You can also get a prescription dandruff product if over-the-counter shampoos don’t cease your itch and flakes.

Coal tar and salicylic acid shampoos or scalp remedies may additionally assist with delicate scalp psoriasis.

Topical lotions, ointments, and foams like the next can sluggish psoriasis pores and skin buildup and ease crimson, scaly patches in your scalp. They could have nutritional vitamins or steroids to calm the irritation:

  • Anthralin (Zithranol-RR)
  • Calcipotriene (Dovonex)
  • Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate (Taclonex)
  • Calcitriol (Vectical)
  • Tazarotene (Tazorac)

Your physician can even put steroids (sturdy anti-inflammatory medication) into the patches in your scalp in case your psoriasis is milder or simply in a number of spots. You probably have extreme psoriasis, chances are you’ll want stronger medication. These embrace methotrexate, which impacts how sure cells develop; cyclosporine, which slows down your immune system; biologics, which goal particular areas of your immune system; or oral retinoids, that are excessive doses of vitamin A.

You too can strive ultraviolet or UV gentle remedies to manage your psoriasis patches. You’ll be able to half your hair in rows so UV gentle from a particular lamp can attain your scalp or use a handheld UV comb that beams the sunshine on to your scalp.

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