A Review of Botanicals Exhibiting Antifungal Activity Against Malassezia spp. Implicated in Common Skin Conditions


Purpose of Review

The integration of botanicals in commercial cosmeceuticals, personal care products, and home remedies has fostered a need for a better understanding of the potential efficacies of these interventions. This review identified plants with antifungal activity against Malassezia, a commensal yeast implicated in inflammatory skin conditions. We sought to discover plants with potent activity comparable or superior to current antifungal agents.

Recent Findings

Malassezia plays a unique role in the pathology of skin disease, encoding for extracellular lipases that initiate an inflammatory response on the surface of the skin and prevent attack through the creation of biofilms. Antifungal resistance is on the rise, with current agents demonstrating increasing minimum inhibitory concentrations when tested in vitro.


Several plant species exhibited anti-Malassezia activity, including Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, Allium sativum, and Hypericum perforatum, among others. We recommend further research aimed at identification of the plant secondary metabolites responsible for this activity.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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We gratefully acknowledge faculty development funds from the Emory University Department of Dermatology for support of this work.

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Pintas, S.K., Quave, C.L. A Review of Botanicals Exhibiting Antifungal Activity Against Malassezia spp. Implicated in Common Skin Conditions. Curr Derm Rep 8, 279–296 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13671-019-00274-1

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  • Botanicals
  • Antifungal
  • Cosmeceutical
  • Tinea versicolor
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Seborrheic dermatitis