Difference Between Scalp Psoriasis and Dandruff

Difference Between Scalp Psoriasis and Dandruff

The scalp is a common site for various skin conditions, two of which often get confused: scalp psoriasis and dandruff. While they may share some similarities, they are distinct conditions with different causes, symptoms, and treatments.

In this blog, we will explore the key differences between scalp psoriasis and dandruff to help you better understand these conditions.

1. Causes:

  • Scalp Psoriasis: Scalp psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, leading to an overproduction of skin cells. These excess skin cells accumulate on the scalp’s surface, causing thick, scaly patches.
  • Dandruff: Dandruff, on the other hand, is primarily caused by a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia. This fungus feeds on the natural oils produced by the scalp, leading to the shedding of skin flakes.

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2. Symptoms:

  • Scalp Psoriasis: Scalp psoriasis is characterized by red, raised, and scaly patches on the scalp. These patches can be itchy and sometimes painful. Scalp psoriasis can also extend beyond the hairline onto the forehead, neck, or behind the ears.
  • Dandruff: It is recognized by white or yellowish flakes of dead skin that are smaller and less oily than the scales seen in psoriasis. It is typically accompanied by itching but is not usually painful.

3. Severity:

  • Scalp Psoriasis: The severity of scalp psoriasis can vary widely among individuals. Some may experience mild, localized patches, while others may have more extensive coverage of the scalp.
  • Dandruff: It is generally a milder condition and does not typically result in the formation of thick, scaly patches like those seen in scalp psoriasis.

4. Chronicity:

  • Scalp Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a chronic condition, and while symptoms can improve with treatment, they often recur over time.
  • Dandruff: It can be chronic as well, but it is often more responsive to over-the-counter treatments and can be managed effectively with proper care and hygiene.

5. Treatment:

  • Scalp Psoriasis: Treatment for scalp psoriasis may include medicated shampoos containing ingredients like coal tar, salicylic acid, or ketoconazole, topical steroids, phototherapy, or systemic medications for severe cases. A dermatologist can recommend the most suitable treatment plan.
  • Dandruff: We can be controll this with over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos containing ingredients like zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole. Maintaining good scalp hygiene and avoiding triggers can also help manage it effectively.

6. Diagnosis:

  • Scalp Psoriasis: Diagnosis is typically made by a dermatologist on a physical examination and sometimes a skin biopsy. In some cases, a dermatologist may recommend further tests to rule out other skin conditions.
  • Dandruff: It is usually diagnoses based on its characteristic appearance and symptoms, without the need for invasive tests.


In conclusion, scalp psoriasis and dandruff may both affect the scalp, but they have distinct causes, symptoms, and treatments. If you suspect you have either of these conditions, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional, preferably a dermatologist, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Remember that these conditions can sometimes coexist, so addressing both issues may be necessary for effective management of scalp health.

Dr Sushil is a researcher and founder of D WA Herbals with objective of providing healthy longevity to society. His aim is to develop food and drink-based products by using the inherent qualities of traditional herbs by optimizing their effect through modern technology, making our products extremely user-friendly. The research is focused on various lifestyle issues such as anxiety, stress, metabolism, digestion, immunity and may more which impact the health and lifestyle.


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