Oily Dandruff and Dry Dandruff

Hair with dandruff
Photo: Goncharov Artem/Shutterstock
Q: Can you tell what the difference is between oily dandruff and dry dandruff? My dandruff looks white but then when I scratch it and look at it under my fingernails it is like a greenish color.
A: Oily dandruff and dry dandruff may not actually be the same thing. Dry dandruff is often not dandruff at all, but simply dry skin flakes that are being shed as a result of the scalp manipulation.
Dandruff is caused by a naturally occurring fungus called malassezia. When the malassezia becomes over-abundant in the scalp, it manifests into waxy, scaly flakes that cause an itch to the skin of the scalp and become unsightly. Typically, in those with oily skin, the flakes can be yellowish and greasy-looking.
With regard to the greenish-cast to the flakes you describe, I would recommend that you speak to your doctor to be sure that there isn't an additional factor to the dandruff you are experiencing. This is doubly true if you have any excessive itch or pain and inflammation of any type accompanying the flaking.
See also:
Dandruff causes and treatments
Home remedy to treat dandruff
Dandruff shampoo
Stress causes dandruff