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Selenium sulfide topical

Generic name: selenium sulfide topical [ se-LEE-nee-um-SUL-fide-TOP-ik-al ]
Brand names: Dandrex, Selsun Blue 2 in 1, Selsun Blue Balanced Treatment, Selsun Blue Medicated Treatment, Selsun Blue Moisturizing Treatment, ... show all 16 brands
Dosage forms: topical lotion (2.5%), topical shampoo (1%; 2.25%; 2.3%)
Drug class: Miscellaneous topical agents

Medically reviewed by on Aug 2, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is selenium sulfide topical?

Selenium sulfide is an antifungal medication. It prevents fungus from growing on your skin.

Selenium sulfide topical (for the skin) is used to treat dandruff, seborrhea, and tinea versicolor (a fungus that discolors the skin).

Selenium sulfide topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Selenium sulfide topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using selenium sulfide and call your doctor if you have unusual or severe blistering, itching, redness, peeling, dryness, or irritation of treated skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use selenium sulfide topical if you are allergic to selenium sulfide.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether selenium sulfide topical will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether selenium sulfide topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Selenium sulfide topical should not be used on a child younger than 2 years old without a doctor's advice.

How should I use selenium sulfide topical?

Use this medicine exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.

Shake the selenium sulfide foam, lotion, or shampoo well just before each use.

Wash your hands after applying the foam or lotion.

Rinse the shampoo thoroughly. Do not leave it in your hair for an extended period of time. Selenium sulfide topical shampoo is generally not for daily use. Follow the directions on the label, or your doctor's instructions.

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using selenium sulfide topical.

Do not cover treated skin with a bandage or other dressing unless your doctor has told you to. A light cotton-gauze bandage may be used to protect clothing.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the foam canister away from open flame, and do not puncture the can.

Selenium sulfide topical dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Seborrheic Dermatitis:

Selenium sulfide topical 2.25% shampoo:
Use twice weekly until symptoms are controlled. Then weekly, every 2 weeks, every 3 to 4 weeks. Do not use more frequently than needed to control symptoms.

Selenium sulfide topical 1.00% shampoo:
Shake well. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly. For best results, use regularly at least twice a week or as directed by a doctor.

Selenium sulfide foam:
Apply to affected area twice a day.
Selenium sulfide foam should be rubbed into the skin until it is completely absorbed.
Shake well and invert to administer.

Usual Adult Dose for Tinea Versicolor:

Selenium sulfide topical 2.25% shampoo:
Apply to affected areas and lather with a small amount of water. Allow the product to stay on the skin for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Repeat this procedure once a day for 7 days or as directed by a physician.

Selenium sulfide foam:
Apply to affected area twice a day.
Selenium sulfide foam should be rubbed into the skin until it is completely absorbed.
Shake well and invert to administer.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of selenium sulfide topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using selenium sulfide topical?

Avoid getting selenium sulfide topical in your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina. If it does get into any of these areas, rinse with water. Do not use selenium sulfide topical on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, or broken skin.

Avoid covering treated skin areas with tight-fitting, synthetic clothing that doesn't allow air circulation. Wear loose-fitting clothing made of cotton and other natural fibers until your infection is healed.

What other drugs will affect selenium sulfide topical?

Avoid using other topical medications at the same time you apply selenium sulfide topical, unless your doctor approves. Other skin medications may affect the absorption or effectiveness of selenium sulfide topical.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.