A comprehensive pathophysiology of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis - towards a more precise definition of scalp health

Acta Derm Venereol. 2013 Mar 27;93(2):131-7. doi: 10.2340/00015555-1382.


Despite an increasing knowledge of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis (D/SD), the pathophysiological understanding is still incomplete but suggests a role of Malassezia yeasts in triggering inflammatory and hyper-proliferative epidermal responses. The objective of this report is to review published literature from in vivo studies of D/SD populations to provide a more complete description of overall scalp health. New biomolecular capabilities establish a depth of pathophysiological understanding not previously achievable with traditional means of investigation. Biomarkers representing inflammation, hyper-proliferation and barrier function are all perturbed by the D/SD condition and robustly respond to therapeutic resolution. These biomarkers can be sampled noninvasively, enabling their use in routine clinical evaluations as either surrogate endpoints or complementary ones to classical signs/symptoms to broaden the etiological learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / physiopathology*
  • Dermatomycoses / metabolism
  • Dermatomycoses / microbiology
  • Dermatomycoses / pathology
  • Dermatomycoses / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Malassezia / pathogenicity
  • Pityriasis / metabolism
  • Pityriasis / pathology
  • Pityriasis / physiopathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Scalp / metabolism
  • Scalp / microbiology
  • Scalp / pathology
  • Scalp / physiopathology*
  • Scalp Dermatoses / metabolism
  • Scalp Dermatoses / microbiology
  • Scalp Dermatoses / pathology
  • Scalp Dermatoses / physiopathology*


  • Biomarkers