The key difference between Candida and Malassezia is that Candida is a genus of Ascomycota fungi that causes candidiasis in humans, while Malassezia is a genus of Basidiomycota fungi that causes dermatitis and dandruff in humans.
Fungi live everywhere in the environment. They are found in plants, soil, and even in the human skin. Typically, these fungi do not cause any harm unless they multiply faster than the normal rate and penetrate the human skin through cuts or lesions. As fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, fungal skin infections can often be seen in sweaty and damp areas of the body that don’t get much airflow. Candida and Malassezia are two fungal genera that cause fungal skin infections.
What is Candida?
Candida is a fungal genus classified under the division of Ascomycota. These fungi cause candidiasis in humans. Candidiasis is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide. Many species in this genus are commensals of hosts, including humans, so they are harmless. When the mucosal barriers are broken, or the immune system is compromised, these fungi can invade and cause diseases. Candida species often cause opportunistic infections. Moreover, Candida species live on the mucosal surfaces, including the gastrointestinal tract and skin.
Candida albicans is the most common species that can cause cutaneous candidiasis. Some examples of typical areas that can be affected by this species include under the breasts and in the folds of buttocks. The symptoms of cutaneous candidiasis include red rashes, itching, and small red pustules. In addition to cutaneous candidiasis, this species can also cause oropharyngeal candidiasis (thrush), vulvovaginal candidiasis, and subpreputial candidiasis. Over-the-counter medications such as miconazole and clotrimazole can cure these diseases. Furthermore, some Candida species are very useful for humans. Candida rugosa is a source of lipases, and Candida krusei is used to ferment cacao during chocolate production. Candida albicans is used in combination with carbon nanotubes to make stable electrically conductive bio nanocomposite tissue materials. These tissue materials are used as temperature sensing elements.
What is Malassezia?
Malassezia is a fungal genus belonging to Basidiomycota. These fungi cause dermatitis and dandruff in humans. It is the sole genus in the family Malasseziaceae. Malassezia species are commonly found on the skin surfaces of many animals, including humans. They cause occasional opportunistic infections. Some species may also cause hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation on the trunk and other locations in humans. There are about 22 accepted species in this genus.
Some popular species include M. ovale, and M. pachydermatis. The common cause of dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis is M. globosa. The skin rash of tenea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) is also caused due to infection by this fungus. Malassezia infections are generally treated with topical ketoconazole shampoo or oral fluconazole.
What are the Similarities Between Candida and Malassezia?
- Candida and Malassezia are two fungal genera responsible for fungal skin infections.
- Most species in both genera are commensals living in human skin.
- Species of both genera are found in humans as well as in other animals.
- Both genera cause opportunistic infections.
- The infections caused by species of both genera can be treated with topical and oral antifungal agents.
What is the Difference Between Candida and Malassezia?
Candida is a fungal genus that causes candidiasis in humans, while Malassezia is a fungal genus that causes dermatitis and dandruff in humans. Thus, this is the key difference between Candida and Malassezia. Furthermore, Candida is the most common cause of fungal skin infections, while Malassezia is a less common cause of fungal skin infections.
The below infographic presents the differences between Candida and Malassezia in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Candida vs Malassezia
Candida and Malassezia are two fungal genera causing fungal skin infections. Candida species cause candidiasis in humans, while Malassezia species cause dermatitis and dandruff in humans. So, this summarizes the difference between Candida and Malassezia.
1. Turner, Siobhán A, and Geraldine Butler. “The Candida Pathogenic Species Complex.” Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
2. R;, Harada K; Saito M; Sugita T; Tsuboi. “Malassezia Species and Their Associated Skin Diseases.” The Journal of Dermatology, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
1. “Candida albicans (1000X magnification) (6500725393)” By Michael R Francisco from france – Candida albicans (1000X magnification) (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Malassezia spores 2” By Ran Yuping et al. –  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia