This yeast species is now known as Malassezia furfar. It is a part of the flora naturally found in people’s skin.

While Malassezia furfar is the most widely used name for this fungus, the name Pityrosporum ovale continues to be found on many websites and in the older scientific literature.

Some related species of Malassezia yeast are also involved in the various diseases associated with Malassezia furfar.

It seems now that the species Malassezia globosa and Malassezia sympodialis may be the primary disease-causing organisms, at least in some countries.

Recent studies suggest that a yeast microorganism produces dandruff.

The fungus Malassezia ovalis, also called Pityrosporum ovale, causes irritation and an increase in desquamation of the most superficial layers of skin cells of the scalp: dandruff.

Dandruff is not contagious and is rarely a severe disease, although it seems to predispose the skin to certain infections.

If dandruff persists despite treatment, there is most likely to be some other skin disease, such as seborrheic dermatitis. It is best to consult with the doctor to be sure.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease. It affects areas rich in sebaceous glands: the central region of the face, the ends of the scalp and the chest.

A yeast, Pityrosporum ovale, plays a vital role in the cause of inflammation. It manifests itself in the form of red areas, scaly skin on the face, around the sides of the nose and above the eyebrows.

A recognition of the scalp reveals sticky scales on the edges of the hair. Sometimes there is a scaly round area in the middle of the chest.

The skin on the face is easily irritated. The scalp itches. The problem is activated from time to time, usually in periods of tiredness and stress.


Malassezia yeasts are microscopic organisms, which are commonly found on healthy human skins. Often they don’t produce any symptoms at all.

The various diseases associated with these yeasts tend to affect adolescents and young adults, those with oily skin, and those living in hot, sweaty climates.

Malassezia is a genus of fungi (the fungi group includes mushrooms, yeasts, molds, and other similar organisms).

It is found in the skin of animals, including humans, and is the cause of dandruff and an infectious and non-contagious skin disease called Pityriasis.

The Malassezia fungus feeds on dead skin remains and prefers areas with a higher fat production.

However, it should be noted that there is still no conclusive evidence that Malassezia is involved in the causing of seborrheic dermatitis.

This fungus is part of a flora consisting of normal skin germs and can be easily found in many people.

Also, patients with seborrheic dermatitis do not necessarily have a larger population of the Malassezia fungus on the skin, including in the more severe forms of the disease.

However, the way the patient’s immune system responds to the presence of Malassezia in the skin appears to be the cause of inflammation and other symptoms.

Malassezia can be irritating to some genetically predisposed persons, which explains the appearance of seborrheic dermatitis only in a small percentage of the people colonized by this fungus.

Seborrheic dermatitis is not considered an infectious disease, although there is an improvement of symptoms when treated with antifungal drugs.

Do not have contact with people with seborrheic eczema; You probably already have the Malassezia fungus on the skin, but you do not have dermatitis because your immune system coexists peacefully with it.


The diseases associated with Malassezia species include:

Pityrosporum Folliculitis (Malassezia Folliculitis) is characterized by itchy red spots in the hair follicles. The disease typically affects the chest, upper back, arms, and face.

Tinea Versicolor (Pityriasis Versicolor) is a rash, often on the upper back, shoulders, chest, or face. The rash is usually pink or dark tan color but can be a paler area in dark-skinned individuals.

Typically, small patches of skin are affected at first, but they may join up to become a larger discolored area.

The affected areas of skin have sharp borders. It tends to be a summer rash, which may disappear entirely as the weather cools in fall.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is characterized by reddish spots, which tend to give way to scaly, itchy plaques. On the scalp, it shows itself as dandruff.

Although many scientists consider seborrheic dermatitis to be caused by Malassezia yeasts, there is as yet no consensus on this point.

Seborrheic dermatitis is correlated to a higher than normal Malassezia levels. However, correlation does not imply causation (although it’s often a good hint).

It may be that the yeast multiplies more where seborrheic dermatitis occurs, aggravating the condition, without themselves being the underlying cause.

Research is continuing as to whether the various Malassezia yeasts are involved in other skin diseases, such as atopic eczema or psoriasis.

At the moment, there is little conclusive evidence that they typically play a significant role.


Anti-dandruff shampoos can be used to treat seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp (dandruff).

Seborrheic dermatitis elsewhere on the body, tinea versicolor, and Malassezia folliculitis can also be treated in this manner.

Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole can be used.

Ketoconazole Cream is often used to treat seborrheic dermatitis, tinea versicolor, and Malassezia folliculitis.

Ketoconazole is a synthetic antifungal agent, which is active against yeast species.

A study has shown that 2% ketoconazole gel is significantly better than the equivalent gel that does not contain ketoconazole for treating moderate to severe seborrheic dermatitis.

Oral Ketoconazole is used to treat severe cases of tinea versicolor and Malassezia folliculitis. Side effects of oral ketoconazole include nausea, diarrhea, and liver toxicity.

Itraconazole (Sporanox) is another synthetic anti-fungal agent used to treat tinea versicolor and Malassezia folliculitis. It is usually taken orally. It is not suitable for those with heart problems.

Fluconazole (Diflucan) is another synthetic anti-fungal agent used to treat tinea versicolor and Malassezia folliculitis. It is typically taken orally.

Other Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis include Aloe vera gel, sodium sulfacetamide cream, tea tree oil, and hydrocortisone cream.

None of these have been shown to be effective against tinea versicolor or Malassezia folliculitis.

All of these diseases can recur, so the sufferer should try to avoid risk factors, such as heat and humidity, even when no symptoms are present.

Wearing loose-fitting cotton or linen clothing should help reduce sweating.

Showers (with plenty of shower gel) should be taken immediately after any exercise. Overweight patients should lose weight, to reduce sweating.