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May 26th 2023

Malassezia on the scalp: symptoms and treatment

Malassezia is a fungus whose presence produces certain very common diseases on the scalp. Knowing how Malassezia manifests itself on the scalp, as well as its symptoms and treatments is key to knowing what to do in the event of similar symptoms and when it is necessary to see a medical professional.

From Hospital Capilar, an expert clinic in medicine and hair surgery, we tell you everything you need to know about Malassezia on the scalp: What are its symptoms? It has a solution? Why does it appear? Can it cause baldness?

What is Malassezia?

Malassezia is a type of fungus that all of us have naturally on our skin. When we talk about the presence of Malassezia in the development of certain skin diseases, we are actually referring to the proliferation of this fungus and not to the new contagion, as is the case with other fungi that cause diseases such as tinea capitis.

When due to certain circumstances, such as stress or excess sebum production, the natural balance of the microbiota is altered, an abnormal increase in the Malassezia fungus is generated on the scalp. This proliferation of fungi can cause seborrheic dermatitis, folliculitis, atopic dermatitis or Psoriasis, being dandruff the most common manifestation of this fungus.

Malassezia symptoms on the scalp

Malassezia is not a disease as such, but the fungus that can cause certain conditions. Therefore, depending on the type of fungal infection that triggers, there will be some particular symptoms. However, there are common symptoms caused by the proliferation of the Malassezia fungus on the scalp. Knowing and identifying them could indicate the development of an infection by this fungus.

itching and stinging

The most common symptom of Malassezia on the scalp, regardless of the condition it triggers, is itching and stinging. The person with dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis or folliculitis experience itching and stinging in the affected area. In these cases, it is essential to avoid intense scratching as it would aggravate the symptoms.


The appearance of whitish scales on the scalp, or dandruff, is another of the symptoms associated with Malassezia on the scalp. They usually have a greasy appearance and can affect the eyebrows, beard, mustache and trunk or retro-articular area.

Redness and inflammation of the scalp

In many cases there is also a reddening of the affected area that can lead to inflammation of the scalp.

How to remove Malassezia from the scalp?

It is advisable to go to a specialist if we experience some of the symptoms mentioned above for a long time. The most recommended treatments against Malassezia of the scalp are mainly topical.


It is very effective to use shampoos with fungicidal active ingredients to eliminate Malassezia on the scalp. Products with selenium sulfide, ketoconazole or terbinafine are normally used. This should be recommended by a professional and establish the employment guideline based on each particular case.

Anti-dandruff shampoos

Another option to reduce the excessive flaking caused by this fungus is anti-dandruff shampoos. Although they do not usually treat the proliferation of Malassezia as such, they do control the production of sebum that aggravates the symptoms.

Can an excess of Malassezia cause alopecia?

Malassezia in the scalp is not identified as a cause of alopecia as such. Although there are different types of alopeciaNormally, hormonal imbalances and the genetic factor cause irreversible hair loss.

In any case, in the event of unusual hair loss that is accompanied by areas without hair, it is essential to see a specialist to start the most appropriate treatment before the visual impact is greater. When there is follicular destruction, the only way to recover that hair that has fallen is with the hair graft.

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In case of hair loss, consult in Hospital Capilar

En Hospital Capilar We have effective hair treatments to stop hair loss and improve its quality. To know which is the best in our particular case, a prior medical diagnosis is necessary. In Hospital Capilar the diagnosis is free and without obligation! Request more information and put yourself in expert hands. 



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