Can you use Selsun Blue for skin problems?

Can you use Selsun Blue for skin problems?

Selsun Blue is a common trade name for selenium sulfide. It is commonly used in anti-dandruff shampoos. It reduces scalp oiliness and itching and slows the growth of dandruff-causing skin cells on the scalp. Additionally, there is anecdotal evidence that applying Selsun Blue to the skin may help treat several skin conditions in addition to treating an itchy scalp.


But what does science say? Is Selsun Blue safe to use on skin? Or does it deal more damage? In this article, we discuss the skin benefits of Selsun Blue and its potential risks. Continue reading.

Benefits of Selsun Blue for the skin

Selsun shampoo contains selenium sulfide, a substance that effectively treats a number of scalp conditions such as dandruff and psoriasis by reducing inflammation and inhibiting skin cell proliferation. Read on to learn more about Selsun shampoo uses and benefits you should know.

Can you use Selsun Blue for skin problems?

1. Can help treat skin thickening

One study suggests that topical application of a selenium sulfide lotion or shampoo can treat hyperkeratosis (thickening of the outer layer of skin), particularly on the palms and soles (1). In the study, three people with hyperkeratosis were successfully treated with selenium sulfide in a 2.5% lotion/shampoo or 2.75% foam with no side effects. Moreover, the response was not only quick, but complete and sustained.

2. Can help treat seborrheic dermatitis

This skin condition is characterized by red patches with yellow-grey scales that mainly appear on the face, scalp, upper chest and back. One study found that selenium sulfide in concentrations of 0.5% to 2.5% in lotions, ointments, creams and jellies can help treat the skin condition effectively. In addition, concentrations of 0.5% and 1% were found to be less irritating and as effective as the higher concentrations (2).


This disease can often occur in conjunction with other skin conditions such as acne vulgarisi and eczema (3). Therefore, treating seborrheic dermatitis can help reduce flare-ups of these conditions as it acts as an anti-infective.


3. May help treat pityriasis versicolor

Pityriasis (tinea) versicolor is a skin condition that causes hyperpigmented and hypopigmented scaly patches. It is caused by the fungus Malassezia furfur. Research suggests that selenium sulfide can effectively treat this skin condition due to its antifungal properties and also shows better efficacy than sodium sulfacetamide (4). However, it can have certain adverse effects. So be careful.

4. May help treat skin rashes

Selenium sulfide is an antifungal. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it can be used to treat skin rashes. However, consult a dermatologist before using Selsun Blue for rashes as it may cause side effects in some individuals.


These are the potential skin benefits of Selsun Blue. But how do you use it to get the results you want?

How to use Selsun Blue for skin

Selsun Blue is for cutaneous use only. Make sure to shake the packaging before use (as indicated on the packaging). Remove jewelry before using the product. Rinse your hair and scalp before using the product to treat seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff on the scalp. Massage the product in and leave it on for the prescribed time. Check the label to see if the product can be used on color safe and treated hair. Keep in mind that each skin or hair care product may have slightly different usage instructions. So be sure to pay attention.


For tinea versicolor, apply selenium sulfide to the affected area. Add a few drops of water to create foam. Leave it on the skin for about 10 minutes and wash it off.


Wash your hands after using selenium sulfide. Do not leave this medication on your hair, scalp, or skin for an extended period of time. Also, do not use it more often than specified.


Consult a doctor or pharmacist if your condition worsens or does not improve despite using Selsun Blue.


Note: Do not put products containing Selsun Blue in your eyes, nose or mouth. Avoid use on broken or inflamed skin unless directed by a doctor as it may cause swelling and irritation.


Selenium compounds are not easily absorbed through the skin. Therefore, using medicated shampoos containing selenium is generally considered safe. However, side effects such as contact dermatitis can still occur (5). Read the section below to learn more about the other side effects of Selsun Blue.


Selsun Blue: Side Effects and Precautions

Can you use Selsun Blue for skin problems?

Side effects of Selsun Blue include (6):

   Redness, burning, itching, stinging and irritation of the skin

   Sore scalp, increased oiliness of the skin and hyperpigmentation of the nails

   hyperpigmentation of the scalp

   discoloration of the scalp

   Alopecia (hair loss)

   In rare cases, the smell of the medication can cause nausea

Note: Children under the age of five and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use Selsun shampoo.


Do not use Selsun shampoo if:


You are allergic (hypersensitive) to selenium sulfide or any of the other ingredients in the medicated shampoo. You should always do a patch test before using it according to the directions for your condition to make sure you are not sensitive to the product.

You have broken or severely inflamed skin

Did you know that the food we eat contains selenium? But does it make the food healthy or harmful? Keep scrolling for the answers.


Is It Wrong to Eat Foods Containing Selenium?


No. Selenium is an essential nutrient for humans and animals. Humans get most of their daily selenium intake from food and to a lesser extent from water. However, selenium can be harmful if taken regularly in larger amounts than necessary (6).


The severity of side effects depends on how much selenium is taken and how often. Brittle hair and deformed nails can also develop when slightly excessive amounts of selenium are ingested over a long period of time.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that in extreme cases, people can also lose feeling and control of their arms and legs. Swallowing a large amount of selenium supplements can be life-threatening without prompt treatment.

In summary, while Selsun Blue (contains selenium sulfide) is primarily used as an anti-dandruff shampoo, there is evidence that it may have potential benefits for certain skin conditions. Because of its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help treat skin thickening, seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis versicolor, and skin rashes. However, it is important to use it as directed and to consult a dermatologist before applying it to the skin.


Selsun Blue is generally considered safe for use on the skin and selenium is not readily absorbed through the skin. However, like any medicinal product, it can still cause side effects such as skin redness, itching, irritation, and hair loss. It is important to patch test and avoid use on broken or inflamed skin.

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