Savlon side effects

Image by, courtesy of Umberto Salvagnin

Savlon is the name of a company that manufactures antiseptics used for treatment of surface wounds. The active ingredients in the products are chlorhexidine gluconate and povidone iodine.

Povodine iodine is an external germicidal agent with action against viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeasts and protozoa according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Chlorhexidine gluconate is found in mouthwashes, and usually prescribed by a dentist according to, but is also used as a topical antiseptic as seen in Savlon's line of products.

How is Savlon Supplied?

Savlon comes in a liquid, gel, creme, or as a dry spray-on powder. In addition, they make plasters for wounds to speed healing, and guard against infection according to their website The active ingredient in their "Savlon Dry Antiseptic Spray" contains povidone iodine and is used externally for cuts and scrapes.

"Savlon Antiseptic Wound Wash" contains chlorhexidine gluconate and is used externally as an antiseptic. The company makes a disinfectant solution with the chemical in it for wiping down surfaces, tables, showers, toilets and playrooms as well.

Side Effects of Savlon Containing Povidone Gluconate

The side effects of Savlon come from the ingredients that are contained in the products. Povidone iodine, found in their dry spray antiseptic, is for external use only. This chemical may cause skin irritation, and long-term use in patients with extensive wounds, or burns cause changes in blood electrolytes according to This chemical can also interfere with kidney function.

Povidone iodine may also cause swelling of the lips and face, and lymph node enlargement. Fever, and joint pain are other side effects experienced, as well as severe allergic reactions according to If used over a prolonged period, iodine containing products can cause throat inflammation, and stomach upset. Diarrhoea, anorexia, and depression have also been reported says

Side Effects of Savlon Containing Chlorhexidine Gluconate

Chlorhexidine gluconate in another ingredient found in Savlon's product line. This chemical may cause skin irritations like itching or redness. Reactions to chlorhexidine gluconate include contact dermatitis, and excessive itching according to

Savlon does not make a product containing chlorhexidine gluconate for oral use such as a mouth wash, but included here are some side effects of this chemical when used orally.

As a mouth wash, chlorhexidine can stain the teeth, tongue and mouth, as well as alter taste perception according to Chlorhexidine gluconate can also increase calculus, (hardened plaque that hasn't been removed from teeth). Use of this chemical for oral purposes presents a host of side effects not seen in the topical use of the product. Included are gingivitis, and ulcerations in the mouth. Redness of the skin, and coated tongue, (keratin build-up), have also been reported according to

Severe Side Effects

Chlorhexedine gluconate, and povidone iodine can cause severe, but rare, allergic reactions. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe side effects such as rash, hives, or itching. Difficulty breathing, and a tightening feeling in the chest warrants quick medical attention as well if experienced. Swelling that occurs on parts of the face, mouth, or tongue needs immediate medical attention as well, according to

Two per cent of the people patch-tested using chlorhexidine gluconate tested positive for a reaction to the chemical. This means that a small amount of people had a negative response to the substance when placed on the skin.


Before using Savlon with povidone iodine in it, you need to inform your doctor if you have any medical conditions.

If you are planning on becoming, or are pregnant, have an allergy to foods, or medicines, consult with your doctor before using, or continuing to use a Savlon product with povidone iodine in it. Inform your doctor as well if you are taking prescribed, or over-the-counter medications, or other substances. Having puncture wounds, or serious burns will also need to be passed on to your doctor before using, or continuing the use of Savlon with povidone iodine in it according to