A dry, flaky scalp can be caused by a number of skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis and eczema, as stated by WebMD. The result of each of these conditions is dandruff, tiny white flakes of dead skin that can be visible on hair or clothing.
A doctor can determine the cause of a dry, flaky scalp by visually examining the affected area, says Mayo Clinic. Scalp psoriasis typically features red skin covered with patches of dry, silvery flakes. Some individuals suffering from this condition also experience soreness and bleeding when the dry skin is removed. Individuals with seborrheic dermatitis have oily, yellowish crusty material on the scalp. Both of these conditions cause itching and dandruff, and similar treatments, including medicated shampoos and topical corticosteroid or antifungal solutions, can be used to relieve symptoms.
Eczema commonly affects babies and children, although adults can also develop this dry skin condition, which can irritate the scalp as well as skin on other parts of the body. Treatments for eczema may differ from other scalp treatments, making it important for a doctor to evaluate the condition, advises WebMD. Other possible causes for dry, itchy scalp include poor diet, lifestyle and seasonal changes.