To investigate the distribution of Malassezia species on four body sites (scalp, forehead, chest and back), we employed contact plates filled with Leeming-Notman agar to sample 245 clinically healthy subjects, representing six age groups (AG) (AG I, 0-3 years; AG II, 4 14 years; AG III, 15-25 years; AG IV, 26-40 years; AG V, 41-60 years; AG VI, over 60 years). The number of colony forming units was recorded for every plate positive for Malassezia species, and the species were identified. Younger individuals (< 14 years) yielded a culture positive for Malassezia significantly less frequently than did older individuals (> or = 15 years). M. globosa was cultured at significantly elevated frequency on younger subjects. M. sympodialis was present at low frequency on younger subjects, but was found in higher amounts on the skin of adolescents and adults. The amount and kind of Malassezia species that can be recovered from human skin varies with age and body site.