Georgios Gitanis et al. Skin diseases associated with Malassezia yeasts: Facts and controversies. Clinics in Dermatology 2013;31:455-63.
Clio Dessinioti et al. Seborrheic dermatitis: Etiology, risk factors, and treatments: Facts and controversies. Clinics in Dermatology 2013;13:343-51.
B Elewski et al. An open-label study of the safety and efficacy of sertaconazole nitrate in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Journal of Drugs and Dermatology 2011;10:895-9.
Athanasios Tragiannidis et al. Minireview: Malassezia infections in immunocompromised patients. Mycoses 2009;53:187-195.
Georgios Gaitanis et al. Could Malassezia yeats be implicated in skin carcinogenesis through the production of aryl-hydrocarbon receptor ligands? Medical Hypotheses 2011;77:47-51.
Malassezia are yeasts found on the skin 75 to 98% of humans and are probably the most common human skin fungi. Some researchers believed that Malassezia is a commensal organism which does not cause much harm to humans. Other researchers believe that excessive growth of Malassezia or excessive human immune responses to Malassezia may be a common cause of many human skin problems such as dermatitis. Malassezia yeasts produce a number of chemicals on the skin such as indoles which are able to penetrate the skin and/or cause exaggerated immune responses. Heavy skin growth of Malassezia has often been associated with dermatitis and other skin conditions.
Many studies have reported that treatment with topic antifungal drugs such as nystatin, ketoconazole, fluconazole, sertaconazole, or amphotericin B can significantly reduce symptoms in many patients with dermatitis or dandruff. Several studies have also reported that oral anti-fungal drugs like ketoconazole or itraconazole can also successfully treat dermatitis.
Malassezia can cause life-threatening invasive infections in immunocompromised patients such as pre-term babies, cancer patients, and patients on immune suppression for bone or organ transplants. Other researchers have suggested that Malassezia may increase risk of skin cancer by producing compounds (indolo[3,2-b]carbazole, malassezin, and indirubin) which can trigger cancer related cell receptors. Much more study is needed to examine the relationships between Malassezia and human skin diseases.