Malassezia Biofilm: What It Is And How To Treat It

Malassezia Biofilm: What It Is And How To Treat It

Flaky skin, red patches, and a nagging itchy sensation—if you have seborrheic dermatitis, you may be well acquainted with these symptoms.

Seborrheic dermatitis isn't a rare occurrence. It is, in fact, one of the most common skin disorders in the world, and immune-compromised patients are particularly susceptible to it. [1] Even though comprehensive research has been conducted to study this condition and develop effective management strategies, much is not yet known about this elusive skin disease.

You may have shuffled through a multitude of treatment options, from antifungal drugs, creams, and shampoos to natural remedies and herbal concoctions. Sometimes, seborrheic dermatitis continues to hold its fort, and it's understandable to feel frustrated with repetitive treatment failure.

But why is seborrheic dermatitis so challenging to treat? Well, scientists have their eye on a culprit, which is none other than the Malassezia species and its biofilm formation.

Let's learn more about the Malassezia species and how it is linked to seborrheic dermatitis. We'll also look at how we can counter the Malassezia biofilm, its primary defense mechanism.

What Is The Malassezia Species?

Seborrheic dermatitis is considered a superficial fungal infection of the skin, often affecting human body sites rich in sebaceous glands, such as the scalp, face, chest, and behind the ears. Scientists propose that an association exists between the Malassezia genus and seborrheic dermatitis. [2]

Malassezia is a fungus, or more specifically, a commensal yeast that resides on healthy human skin without causing harm. Both you and I carry the Malassezia yeast on our skin.

M. globosa and M. restricta are the predominant Malassezia species on the human skin and are most frequently associated with seborrheic dermatitis. The Malassezia furfur species is thought to cause dandruff. These yeasts feed on the natural fatty acids produced by our skin called sebum. [3]

How Is Malassezia Linked To Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is multifactorial. Researchers have studied healthy and diseased skin, and they propose that this fungus may be a catalyst to its development. This happens when there is a Malassezia yeast overgrowth. The alteration in population causes the host immune system to kick in, leading to an inflammatory response and precipitating seborrheic dermatitis flareups. [3]

Another reason scientists believe that Malassezia is a likely causative agent is this—antifungal treatments have led to positive clinical outcomes. These antifungal agents help alleviate seborrheic dermatitis symptoms by countering the Malassezia yeasts. [3]

The Malassezia species is also thought to be associated with another common form of dermatitis called atopic dermatitis. [4] Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that affects any part of the body, rather than just sebaceous skin.

The Malassezia Species And Its Biofilm Formation

Though antifungals are effective in some cases, seborrheic dermatitis is still generally tricky to treat.

The Malassezia yeast is a lipophilic organism, meaning that it is attracted to lipids or fats. As it feeds on your skin's sebum, this yeast species will form biofilms on the skin surface. Scientists have been studying the antifungal susceptibility of the Malassezia fungus and whether its biofilm affects this.

In microorganisms, these biofilms act as shields and safety barriers that can increase drug resistance. Some bacteria generate their own bacterial biofilms that protect them against antibiotics. Similarly, Malassezia fungus resorts to forming biofilms that lead to higher antifungal resistance. Due to this, your antifungal creams, shampoos, and other topical treatment may be less effective against them. [5]

How you use your medications may also affect biofilm formation. Researchers suggest that misusing antifungal agents, especially below the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), can enhance the fungal biofilm. [5]

Hence, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional on the proper use of your prescribed antifungal medications. Unfortunately, incorrect usage of these topical agents may make the disease harder to treat in the future.

So How Can You Counter This Biofilm Production?

The following are some remedies that help thwart the biofilm formation and improve the chances of treatment success.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one popular management option for seborrheic dermatitis. You can use one-part vinegar to four-parts water, though there might be a little experimentation involved to find the concentration most suitable for you. The mixture can be applied with a cotton swab onto the affected area. Alternatively, you may use it on your scalp in the shower together with an antifungal shampoo.

Sugar alcohols

Sugar alcohols are commonly used as natural sweeteners in foods. However, they may also help deactivate the biofilm defensive barrier that safeguards the Malassezia yeast. Most people find that a ratio of one-part sugar alcohol to four-parts water works for them. Firstly, dissolve the sugar alcohol powder in the water to form the mixture. Then, apply it to the affected regions of your skin.

Before using any of these topical DIY remedies, remember to perform a skin patch test to determine if you're allergic to any of the ingredients.

Selenium sulfide

If at-home concoctions aren't your preference, you may wish to look out for selenium sulfide, which is thought to have impressive biofilm disruption effects. It is a chemical compound that combats itch and flakes, and you may find it in non-medicated shampoos on supermarket shelves.

High-quality colloidal silver

Another ingredient that may serve to counterattack the biofilm mechanism is colloidal silver. Colloidal silver from a high-quality source applied to the skin is completely safe. In fact, it may help combat the itch, flaking, and inflammation associated with seborrheic dermatitis.


Lactoferrin is a protein that helps fight Malassezia and reduces the efficacy of its biofilm. Lactoferrin is more commonly found in oral supplements, rather than topical products. Nonetheless, you can keep an eye out for skincare products that contain this ingredient.

The Calming Seborrheic Serum

This unique serum tackles seborrheic dermatitis from the core through a holistic approach. What it does is simple—disrupt the biofilm, clear the fungus, and soothe the skin.

Diminishing the biofilm is a crucial step, and the Calming Seborrheic Serum contains xylitol (sugar alcohol) and high-quality, third-party tested colloidal silver to do the trick.

The all-in-one formula contains a mix of soothing ingredients to tackle itch, reduce flaking, combat inflammation, and calm the skin. Dermatological diseases can cause frustration and embarrassment, and seborrheic dermatitis is no exception. We understand that because we've been there, too.

Healthy skin is no longer a myth.

And we wish to be part of your journey, so much so that we've included the Peaceful Skin Guarantee. If you aren't satisfied with the results, shoot us an email, and we'll give you a full refund. You won't even have to send the bottle back.

Recommended Product

Calming Seborrheic Serum

This all-in-one serum clears away malassezia fungus while soothing irritated skin. Provides relief for the scalp, face, and body.

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