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J Invest Dermatol. 1975 Jun;64(6):401-5.

Quantitative microbiology of the scalp in non-dandruff, dandruff, and seborrheic dermatitis.


The composition of the scalp microflora was assessed quantitatively in normal individuals and in patients with dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, disorders characterized by increasing scaling. Three organisms were constantly found: (1) Pityrosporum, (2) aerobic cocci, and (3) Corynebacterium acnes. Pityrosporum (mainly Pityrosporum ovale) made up 46% of the total microflora in normals, 74% in dandruff, and 83% in seborvheic dermatitis. The geometric mean number of organisms per cm-2 in non-dandruff subjects was 5.04 times 10-5; 9.22 times 10-5 in dandruff subjects; and 6.45 times 10-5 in those with seborrheic dermatitis. The cocci were dominantly Baird-Parker type SII and no quantitative or qualitative change occurred in the scaling disorders. C. acnes comprised 26% of the flora on the normal scalp, 6% in dandruff, and only 1% in seborrheic dermatitis. These results differ significantly from previous reports which describe a much more complex microflora and suggest an etiologic role for microorganisms in dandruff.

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