Shampoos containing selenium sulfide include Selsun Blue and Head & Shoulders. Selenium sulfide is a key ingredient in dandruff shampoos; it treats seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and tinea versicolor. The ingredient works by slowing yeast growth and reducing flaking, irritation, itching and scalp redness.
Selenium sulfide produces a mild tingling sensation when used in a shampoo. A shampoo containing selenium sulfide is used twice a week for two weeks, then once a week for up to four weeks. It should be kept away from the mouth or nose, and it should not be used if the scalp has inflamed or broken skin. Shampoo with selenium sulfide should be massaged into the scalp, then left on for three minutes. Some brands of this shampoo must be applied twice, then rinsed. When treating tinea versicolor, the shampoo should remain on the skin for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Those using shampoo with selenium sulfide should wash their hands after applying the shampoo. Side effects can include dry skin, oil skin, dry or oily hair, temporary hair loss, or skin irritation. If any side effects occur, the use of the shampoo should be stopped.
Other ingredients used to treat dandruff include coal tar, salicylic acid and zinc pyrithrione as active ingredients. Selenium sulfide can also be applied topically to treat dandruff.