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Selenium Topical



Selenium sulfide topical is used to treat seborrheic dermatitis (greasy, crusting, itching scalp caused by excess oil) and dandruff. It is also used to treat tinea versicolor (fungal infection of skin) and pityriasis (flaking or scaling of the skin).

How it works

Selenium sulfide belongs to a class of drugs called as anti-sebborheics. It works by reducing greasiness and skin cell growth associated with flaking and itching. It also kills sensitive fungi. 

Common side effects

Flakes on scalp, Irritation around eyes, Itchy scalp, Abnormal hair texture, Dry hair, Hair loss


No medicine available

Expert advice

  • Massage selenium sulfide lotion or shampoo into the wet scalp. Lather and leave on scalp for 2-3 minutes then rinse thoroughly. 
  • Always wash your hands after the treatment.
  • Avoid getting selenium sulfide in contact with eyes, nose, mouth or genital areas as it may lead to irritation and burning.
  • Do not use within 48 hour of applying hair color, straightening or waving preparations.
  • Remove any jewelry before application, as selenium sulfide topical may discolor metals.
  • Do not use more often or for longer than prescribed period as some conditions may worsen.
  • Cover treated skin areas with loose-fitting clothes (made of cotton or natural fibers) to allow for air circulation. 
  • Avoid concurrent use of other topical medications as they may affect absorption or effectiveness of selenium sulfide topical.
  • Inform your doctor if symptoms do not disappear after 7 days of use. 
  • To be used with extreme caution in children. 
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Patients allergic to selenium sulfide or any of its ingredients.
  • Patients with sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, broken skin or inflamed areas.
  • Children <2 years of age.

Frequently asked questions

Selenium Topical

Q. Can I take selenium sulfide with other medicines?
Other topical medications may affect the absorption or effectiveness of selenium sulfide topical. Some medicines may interact with selenium foam. Please follow your doctor's advice regarding its use.
Q. Is selenium sulfide available over the counter?
Yes, but it should be used only when prescribed.

Content on this page was last updated on 03 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)