What is selenium sulfide shampoo?

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What is selenium sulfide shampoo?
Selenium sulphide shampoo is medicated to treat an itchy, flaky scalp. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Hoggarazzi Photography)

Selenium sulphide shampoo is a medicated product used to treat dandruff, an uninflamed type of seborrheic dermatitis that causes dead skin cells to slough off every five days instead of the more typical once a month.

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Types

There are a number of over-the-counter forms of selenium sulphide shampoo, including Selsun, Exsel, and Head & Shoulders. There are prescription products available as well.

Effects

The selenium sulphide in the shampoo eliminates scalp fungus and slows down the rate at which the scalp sheds its dead skin cells. These changes reduce the irritation and itching associated with dandruff.

Tips

It's important to follow label directions when using selenium sulphide shampoo. Typically, the label will say to wet your hair and scalp with warm water, apply enough shampoo to create a lather, work it into the scalp for two to three minutes, and rinse. Repeat all these steps again for a second wash.

Time frame

Typically, you use the selenium sulphide shampoo twice a week for the first two weeks, then weekly for two to four weeks. From that point on, you can use it as needed.

Warning

Occasionally, selenium sulphide can cause hair discolouration, oiliness or dryness, and abnormal hair loss. Notify your doctor if these effects are severe or prolonged.

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