Comparing the Dandruff vs. Healthy Scalp Microbiome


Around half of the adult population worldwide is affected by the condition known as dandruff (Soares et al. 2016). Dandruff is characterized by small white flakes that are shed from the scalp, which often end up in a person’s hair or on their shoulders. Dandruff can cause intense itchiness of the scalp. Having visible dandruff flakes can lead to social embarrassment, due to the stigma that dandruff is caused by poor personal hygiene (e.g., not washing your hair enough). This is not true, however. It is not known what the exact cause of dandruff is, but Malassezia yeasts, specifically an imbalance/overabundance of them, are/have been suspected to play a role in its development (Wang et al. 2015). Malassezia is a fungal genus, and it is normal for fungi belonging to it to live on human skin (Soares et al. 2016), along with other species of fungi and bacteria, like Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis (Clavaud et al. 2013). In 2018, researchers in India conducted a study on the scalps of 140 Indian women to learn more about what kinds of microbes (including bacteria and fungi) were present on dandruff scalps vs. healthy scalps (Saxena et al. 2018). Continue reading “Comparing the Dandruff vs. Healthy Scalp Microbiome”

Microbial interactions with eczema: is your fungal community irritating you?


The skin is our largest organ and plays an important role in our health and well being. One key role of our skin is preventing infections by acting as a physical barrier to pathogens and secreting antimicrobial enzymes in our sweat (Parham, 2015). However, whether from genetic or environmental factors, sometimes this defense system goes wrong.

Skin lesions caused by eczema (WebMD)

Eczema is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that result in the inflammation of the skin (atopic dermatitis or AD). According to the American Academy of Dermatology, AD is a common skin disease in children, affecting up to 20% (American Academy of Dermatology, 2018). Most kids grow out of the disease, but somewhere between 10 and 30% do not (Eichenfield et al., 2014). Continue reading “Microbial interactions with eczema: is your fungal community irritating you?”