What Kills Malassezia Yeast? Here's What You Need To Know

    What Kills Malassezia Yeast? Here's What You Need To Know

    Malassezia fungi is found on the skin of almost all humans. It is associated with a wide array of conditions, such as dandruff, atopic eczema, dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis versicolor, and folliculitis, among others. Malassezia yeasts also have the capacity to cause systemic infections. What does this fungus do, and what kills Malassezia yeast?

    Malassezia fungus infection

    The different species of Malassezia inhabit the skins of a vast majority of adults without causing any particular harm or posing any danger.

    In some individuals, the yeast suppresses the body’s response against the proliferation of the fungus. This leads to skin disorders, without the body producing an inflammatory response.

    Irritating the metabolites of the yeast may also cause dermatitis, or irritation of the skin.

    What causes Malassezia fungus infection?

    Listed below are some factors that may cause Malassezia fungus infection:

    • Humidity – This refers to the concentration of water vapor in the surrounding air.
    • Oily skin – The yeast thrives in oily and humid environments, thus its marked appearance in the face, scalp, and upper trunk of the body.
    • Sweating – Sweat gives the skin qualities that the yeast needs to proliferate.
    • Immunodeficiency – Doctors have observed that immunodeficiency is a causative agent of Malassezia fungus infection. This is regardless of how the deficiency was attained, be it from immunosuppression medications, corticosteroids, or by way of an HIV infection.
    • Acne and usage of oral antibiotics – Acne also plays a role in promoting an encouraging environment for Malassezia, especially when patients use products such as tetracyclines.

    What kills Malassezia yeast: Signs and Symptoms

    Symptoms of a Malassezia yeast infection primarily consist of red, itchy and chronic pustules that appear in affected parts of the body, with most common parts being the scalp, the upper trunk, and the face.

    What kills Malassezia yeast: Diagnosis

    Doctors consider Malassezia fungal infections benign. However it may still be a difficult condition.

    Diagnosis for Malassezia yeast may be difficult, as it may be masked by other conditions, such as acne vulgaris.

    If you have been applying traditional treatments for your symptoms and are not seeing any form of improvement, get in touch with your doctor or dermatologist to have yourself tested for Malassezia yeast infection.

    What kills Malassezia yeast: Treatment

    The most common form of treatment for Malassezia yeast infection are antifungal medications such as:

    • Fluconazole
    • Itraconazole
    • Ketoconazole

    Doctors may advise you to use shampoo with the following ingredients to treat scalp infection:

    • Selenium sulfide
    • Ketoconazole
    • Zinc pyrtihtione

    You can find these ingredients in most anti-dandruff shampoos.

    Key takeaway

    Malassezia yeast is present in our bodies for the majority of our lives without us even knowing. For individuals affected by this fungal infection, knowing what kills Malassezia yeast is the best tool you have. Consult with a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.

    Learn more about Infectious Skin Diseases here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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    Written by Amable Aguiluz Updated Jul 26, 2021
    Medically reviewed by Angeli Eloise E. Torres, MD, DPDS