Selsun Shampoo: Uses, Side Effects, Composition & Dosages

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Selsun Shampoo is an anti-dandruff shampoo that is used to cure conditions like dandruff and Seborrheic dermatitis, a condition in which the scalp is greasy, itching and crusting because of excess oil. It is also used to heal patients suffering from pityriasis Versicolor. It slows the growth of yeast and prevents infection. Selsun is manufactured by Chattem.

Uses & Benefits of Selsun Shampoo:

  • Selsun Shampoo is actively used to address acute dandruff in a patient
  • It is also recommended to patients who are suffering from tinea versicolor or discoloration of the skin.
  • It is prescribed to patients who suffer from seborrheic dermatitis.
  • It is also prescribed to patients who are experiencing itchy scalps.
  • It is used to cure symptoms of flaky scalps in patients.
  • It is used to heal patients who are suffering redness of the scalp.

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Side Effects of Selsun Shampoo:

Selsun Shampoo is known to cause temporary hair loss in a number of patients. Oily or dry hair or scalp is also a very common symptom after applying Selsun Shampoo. In certain patients, it can induce skin irritation. A few patients have also noted hair discoloration as a side effect of the medicine.

The usage of this medicine can also cause allergic reactions such as rashes and hives in certain patients. It can also cause severe breathing problems in certain patients. It can also result in swelling of the face, tongue, throat, and mouth in some people. A few people have also experienced severe dizziness.

In certain people, it can induce peeling or dryness of the skin. It can also cause unusual and severe blistering in certain patients. It can also trigger other kinds of rare but severe allergic reactions in select patients. 

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Common Dosages of Selsun Shampoo:

The dose and the duration are usually advised by the doctor. The patient should make this decision in consultation with a physician who would advise the required dosage depending on the condition Selsun Shampoo is supposed to address. It is advised that the dose be taken on time to ensure the effectiveness of the shampoo.  However, the standard dosage of Selsun Shampoo for treating dandruff or seborrhoeic dermatitis is twice a week for two weeks followed by once a week for the next two weeks. The course should be continued only if necessary.  For the treatment of Versicolor pityriasis when advised by a physician, the standard dosage of application to the areas of skin affected is once a day for seven days. The shampoo should be on the skin for 10 minutes before rinsing off. The course may continue if necessary. The shampoo must be diluted with water before application so that irritation of the skin does not occur. 

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Composition and Nature of Selsun Shampoo:

Selsun has Selenium sulphide (2.5 %) as its active ingredient. The strength of these ingredients may vary in different variations of the same shampoo. 

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How It Works?

The Selenium sulphide present in Selsun Shampoo destroys a group of fungi and yeasts known as dermatophytes including the extremely powerful pityrosporum also known as Malassezia. This fungus is responsible for seborrhoeic dermatitis and its mild overgrowth is popularly known as dandruff. The shampoo prevents these fungi from growing on the skin. The shampoo also slows down the cell turnover on the topmost skin layer thereby eradicating problems like flaking, scaling, and itching.

Precautions and Warning – When to avoid It?

Before using Selsun shampoos the patient should ideally consult a physician who can cross-check it with the medications they are already using.  This also includes over-the-counter products such as vitamins or herbal supplements. They must also consult the doctor about whether using Selsun can cause problems with regards to pre-existing allergies and diseases.

It is not advised for children below five years. It should not be applied if the patient has dyed, tinted, straightened or permed hair recently. All jewellery should be removed before application because the shampoo discolors gold, silver, and other metallic jewellery. The shampoo should not be applied to broken or inflamed areas of the skin. The shampoo should not be kept in contact with our scalp longer than recommended as it can lead to a burning sensation and blistering.

Patients using this shampoo must also discuss their history of broken or inflamed skin with their physician or pharmacist. And in the case of patients who are pregnant, a physician’s advice is recommended. Selsun is not known to have adverse effects on lactating patients but still, a doctor should be consulted before application.

Substitutes for Selsun Shampoo:

Some of the known substitutes of Selsun are 

  • Head and shouldersshampoo
  • Neutrogena T/ gel- Coal tar shampoo
  • Nizoral – Ketoconazole Shampoo
  • Selsun blue – Selenium sulphide shampoo
  • Neutrogena T/sal- Salicylic acid
  • Jason natural dandruff relief
  • Paul Mitchell- Tea tree oil shampoo

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Selsun Shampoo Interactions with Other Drugs:

It can interact with the skin or scalp and produce a burning sensation. It can cause blistering due to prolonged contact with the skin which exceeds the recommended duration. It can also cause discoloration of the hair which can be reduced by thorough rinsing after treatment. It can also lead to oiliness or dryness of hair and scalp although allergic reactions such as rash and urticaria, have been rarely reported.


1) How long does it take for the effects of Selsun Shampoo to show?

Ans: It varies from patient to patient. However, patients usually experience relief within two weeks to three months. The duration of the course should be determined in consultation with a doctor. 

2) What should be the ideal frequency of consuming Selsun Shampoo?

Ans: The standard frequency varies from once a week to thrice a day depending on the condition. Again physician’s advice on the same is recommended. 

3) Can one take Selsun Shampoo on an empty stomach?

Ans: Selsun shampoo is known to be equally effective after and before food.

4) Can Selsun Shampoo be detrimental to safe driving?

Ans: Yes, patients are advised to use caution while driving post-Selsun application and to check whether the medicine can induce drowsiness, dizziness, hypotension, and low blood pressure.

5) What happens if a patient ingests Selsun Shampoo?

Ans: It is recommended that the patient contacts a doctor immediately. Ingesting the shampoo might cause spells of vomiting.

6) What happens if a patient misses a dose of Selsun Shampoo?

Ans: It is advised that the doses are taken exactly when they are supposed to be taken to ensure that the medicine works effectively. However, in case of a missed dose, the patient must wait for the next dose instead of resorting to taking a double dose.

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