Malassezia (formerly known as Pityrosporum) is a genus of fungi. Malassezia is naturally found on the skin surfaces of many animals, including humans. In occasional opportunistic infections, some species can cause hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation on the trunk and other locations in humans. Identification of Malassezia on skin has been aided by the application of molecular or DNA-based techniques. These investigations show that the Malassezia species causing most skin disease in humans, including the most common cause of dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis. The skin rash of tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) is also due to infection by this fungus. As the fungus requires fat to grow, it is most common in areas with many sebaceous glands: on the scalp, face, and upper part of the body. When the fungus grows too rapidly, the natural renewal of cells is disturbed, and dandruff appears with itching (a similar process may also occur with other fungi or bacteria). Symptomatic scalp infections are often treated with selenium disulfide, zinc pyrithione, or ketoconazole containing shampoos. There are several natural antifungal remedies for seborrhoeic dermatitis including garlic, onions, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia oil), honey, and cinnamic acid. The efficacy of these natural treatments can vary considerably between individuals.
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