Various bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral pathogens can cause folliculitis, which is often mistakenly treated with antibiotics for months or even years. A laboratory diagnosis is required before therapy can be planned. Here, we describe the prevalence and risk factors, as well as the clinical, cytological, and mycological characteristics, of patients with Malassezia folliculitis (MF) in Adana, Turkey. We also report the treatment responses of the MF patients and describe the Malassezia spp. using culture-based molecular methods. Cytological examinations were performed in 264 folliculitis patients, 49 of whom (18.5%) were diagnosed with MF. The positivity of the May-Grunwald-Giemsa (MGG) smear was higher (100%) than that of the potassium hydroxide test (81.6%). Using Wood's light, yellow-green fluorescence was observed in 66.7% of the MF patients. Identification using the rDNA internal transcribed spacer region revealed that Malassezia globosa was the most common species, followed by Malassezia sympodialis, Malassezia restricta, and Malassezia furfur. The MF patients were treated with itraconazole capsules (200 mg/d) for 2 weeks. Complete recovery was observed in 79.6% of the patients. These novel findings help improve our current understanding of the epidemiological characteristics of MF and establish MGG as a practical tool for the diagnosis of MF. (c) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.