Skin diseases associated with Malassezia species

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 Nov;51(5):785-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2003.12.034.


The yeasts of the genus Malassezia have been associated with a number of diseases affecting the human skin, such as pityriasis versicolor, Malassezia (Pityrosporum) folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and--less commonly--with other dermatologic disorders such as confluent and reticulated papillomatosis, onychomycosis, and transient acantholytic dermatosis. Although Malassezia yeasts are a part of the normal microflora, under certain conditions they can cause superficial skin infection. The study of the clinical role of Malassezia species has been surrounded by controversy because of their fastidious nature in vitro, and relative difficulty in isolation, cultivation, and identification. Many studies have been published in the past few years after the taxonomic revision carried out in 1996 in which 7 species were recognized. Two new species have been recently described, one of which has been isolated from patients with atopic dermatitis. This review focuses on the clinical, mycologic, and immunologic aspects of the various skin diseases associated with Malassezia. It also highlights the importance of individual Malassezia species in the different dermatologic disorders related to these yeasts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Atopic / microbiology
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / microbiology
  • Dermatomycoses / drug therapy
  • Dermatomycoses / immunology
  • Dermatomycoses / microbiology*
  • Folliculitis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Malassezia*
  • Psoriasis / microbiology
  • Scalp Dermatoses / microbiology
  • Tinea Versicolor / microbiology