Selenium sulfide - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Selenium sulfide: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Selenium sulfide?

Selenium Sulfide is an antifungal medicine that is dispatched as a foam, shampoo, or lotion. It is commonly applied topically. It is used to treat scalp infections such as seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff and alleviate symptoms related to these conditions such as an itchy scalp, flaking and scaling, and rash on the scalp. It can be used on the infected surface to cure tinea versicolor, a common fungal infection identified by darkened skin or small stained patches on the skin. It does so by inhibiting fungal growth.

What are the uses of Selenium sulfide?

  • This agent is used to treat and manage dandruff, followed by symptoms such as itchy, and flaky scalp with rashes.
  • This medication is used to treat seborrheic dermatitis, which leads to itchy and red scaly patches on the scalp and skin. 
  • It is applied topically on the skin as a remedy for tinea versicolor, a common fungal infection with small discolored patches, darkening of skin, and rashes.
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What are the side effects of Selenium sulfide?

Selenium sulfide can cause side effects such as skin irritation, change in hair color, oily scalp, dry scalp, hair loss, rashes, burning or stinging sensation at the site of application. These side effects are majorly mild to moderate in nature. 

The usual side effects don’t need immediate medical attention and will fade as your body gets adapted to the dose. Seek medical care in case the adverse effects get serious.


Frequently Asked Questions about Selenium sulfide

1. Does the shampoo Head and Shoulders contain selenium sulfide?

Yes. Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo contains selenium sulfide to target severe dandruff and itchy scalp in seborrheic dermatitis. It is better to use the clinical shampoo while you are suffering from the condition instead of regular usage. Other Head and Shoulders shampoos contain Zinc Pyrithione to treat mild dandruff problems.

2. Is Selenium Sulfide safe?

Selenium sulfide topical agents should not be used on a normal basis. You should follow the directions on the package or the direction of your doctor. You should wet the hair and scalp with lukewarm water before using Selenium sulfide. It should not be applied to cut skin. Take care that the drug does not reach your eyes. It should also not be used on pregnant women suffering from Tinea versicolor.

3. Is Selenium Sulfide safe for babies?

No. Selenium sulfide should not be applied on a baby younger than 2 years old without informing your doctor. The drug concentration varies with the prescription for age groups. In younger children, misuse of the drug can also lead to accidental application near the eyes, nose, or cut areas causing irritation.

4. Which is better, selenium sulfide or Selsun Blue?

Selsun Blue is an over-the-counter topical agent which contains 1% selenium sulfide as an effective component. As a prescription, Selenium sulfide is present as a 2.5% lotion. Both are effective in treating dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and tinea versicolor. Prescribed selenium sulfide has a higher concentration than Selsun blue.

5. Why does selenium sulfide smell?

Selenium sulfide is a compound with a form of sulfur, and as other sulfur-containing compounds do, selenium sulfide can retain a residual sulfur smell that is similar to that of rotten eggs. It is normal to have the odor in your hair for some time after using the drug.

6. Is Selenium sulfide safe for skin?

Yes. Selenium sulfide can be applied to the skin for the effective treatment of fungal infections like seborrhea and tinea versicolor. It should be rubbed on the skin and be allowed to dry and left for 10 minutes before showering. The treatment proves effective in a period of 2 weeks.

7. Is Selenium sulfide good for hair?

Yes. Selenium sulfide helps in treating the hair with fungal and yeast infections such as dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis, or tinea versicolor, as mentioned in the uses. However, it may cause side oily or dry scalp. Inform your doctor if you observe severe side effects to avoid further hair damage.

8. Can I use selenium sulfide every day?

No. Selenium sulfide topical agents should not be used on an everyday basis. It is a treatment regime. Use for a longer duration can lead to adverse effects such as oily scalp, dry hair, or hair loss. You should follow the directions on the package or the directions given by your doctor.

9. Does Selenium sulfide kill the fungus?

Selenium sulfide has an antifungal activity that prevents the growth of fungus. It also has a cytostatic action on the skin and follicular epithelium that lessens the proliferation of corneocytes (mature skin cells like keratinocytes) and flaking that follows. This is how it treats conditions such as seborrhoeic dermatitis.

10. Can I use selenium sulfide on my face?

Yes. You can apply Selenium sulfide on your affected skin and face. Care must be taken that it does not enter body openings such as the nose, eyes, and cut skin. It should not be left on the skin for a longer time period. In case of side effects, inform your doctor.

Consult our experts for further information on the use of Selenium sulfide.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.


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