Malassezia areata is a form of an infectious fungal skin infection that typically affects the scalp, and although typically associated with common skin infections, this disease can persist for years with other forms of treatment.
This condition results from excessive growth of yeast in the natural scalp environment.
Malassezia follicularis infections are commonly caused by changes to the natural cutaneous environment, including immunosuppressant therapy and steroid use. Some of these conditions can lead to an alteration in the bacterial population in the scalp. Others can result in overgrowth by a species of fungus, commonly referred to as dermatophytes. When the fungal species that are causing the malassezia are not removed, they can colonize the scalp.
Scratching and frequent blow-drying of the scalp does nothing to solve this problem, as it merely encourages the growth of the yeast on the scalp. In addition, some treatments that are used to treat scalp infections, such as shampoo, actually aggravate the situation. In most cases, people with this condition are not aware that they have a fungal infection on their scalps. Therefore, it is not uncommon for people to apply the same treatment for years, only to discover that the fungus has spread to other areas.
Pityrosporum is the name of the fungal species responsible for Malassezia. It is also responsible for the condition known as pityrosporum folliculitis.
Pityrosporum is the most common fungal species found on human scalps, and it is most commonly found on the scalp, though it can also be found on the feet and armpits. Because of the presence of this fungus, it can be very difficult to diagnose the infection because the infection is caused by more than one fungal species.
Although many medications are available for hair loss and scalp infections, no specific drug or treatment exists to specifically treat the fungal condition of Malassezia. In most cases, medication prescribed by your physician will control the symptoms but there are usually no side effects.
Unfortunately, although most medications for treating this fungal skin infection do not cause side effects, some do cause problems with the body’s normal defenses. Medications such as fluconazole and Ketoconazole (Diflucan) are usually reserved for use with a particular type of infection, typically fungal infections, but sometimes even with malasseziasis. As a result, the body builds up a resistance to the drugs, so they must be taken at higher doses over time.
Antibiotics are also sometimes used.
For many individuals, the treatments for Malassezia include changing their diet, avoiding scratching, and using an anti-fungal shampoo. These steps will help, but sometimes, if you already have a fungal infection, it may be necessary to use additional treatments, such as topical creams or oral medications. If none of these steps help, then it is time to consult your doctor. If your symptoms persist after several weeks, your doctor may recommend surgery for more aggressive treatment.
If you are considering medical treatment for your infection, the first step should always be to visit your doctor. Malassezia often spreads quickly from person to person and without warning. If you notice that you have a rash on your head, neck, face, back, chest, or shoulders, then you need to see a doctor. Your doctor will want to make sure that you don’t have a fungal infection and that you aren’t allergic to the fungus that is causing your Malassezia symptoms.
Once your doctor has ruled out the possibility that you have a fungal infection, he or she may prescribe antihistamines. or a combination of an anti-parasitic medicine and an anti-fungal medicine, such as Nystatin. or Diflucan. Another possible medication may be Terbinafine or other topical corticosteroids.
The doctor may recommend that you use topical creams, such as Neutrogena or Rogaine, which may be combined with oral antibiotics, in order to kill any remaining Malassezia. The cream will help to prevent your hair from falling out.
More severe malassezia may require surgery. In rare cases, surgery may be needed to remove the fungi that have spread throughout your scalp. If you have a severe case of Malassezia, it is important to go see your doctor right away.