Selenium Sulfide and Hair Loss: All the pieces You Have to Know


Woman combs her fingers through her long, brown-red hair.

For those who’ve ever handled dandruff, you have possible used, or no less than heard of, selenium sulfide. It is a in style lively ingredient in lots of flake-fighting shampoos, serving to to handle varied signs related to dandruff. And that is all tremendous and dandy, however specialists level out that it is vital to needless to say improper or overuse of selenium sulfide can paradoxically find yourself having some detrimental results on each your hair and scalp.

Forward, Bridgette Hill, licensed trichologist and founding father of Root Trigger Scalp Evaluation, Helen Reavey, licensed trichologist and founder/artistic director of Act + Acre, and Dr. William Yates, MD, a hair loss and restoration specialist, weigh in on what it is advisable to know earlier than you begin utilizing selenium sulfide.



MAIN BENEFITS: Addresses the yeast element related to dandruff whereas additionally controlling and lowering irritation, itchiness, and redness.

HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT: Episodically, solely to deal with dandruff.

WORKS WELL WITH: Selenium sulfide is usually paired with zinc; combining the 2 helps inhibit oxidative stress, says Yates.

DON’T USE WITH: Ketoconazole, one other anti-dandruff ingredient that performs the identical perform.

What’s Selenium Sulfide?

“Selenium sulfide is an agent that treats dandruff and different fungal infections of each the scalp and pores and skin,” explains Hill. Whereas there are a number of elements at play concerning dandruff, an overgrowth of a yeast referred to as Malassezia is a major wrongdoer. Selenium sulfide is each an anti-fungal that slows the expansion of this yeast whereas additionally relieving the inflammatory unwanted effects related to dandruff, says Yates. To that time…

Advantages of Selenium Sulfide

Sure, selenium sulfide is a superb anti-fungal lively ingredient, but it surely additionally provides some further advantages. “It reduces flaking, in addition to itching, irritation, and redness of the scalp,” factors out Reavey, noting that that is additionally why it is usually used to deal with different scalp circumstances, comparable to seborrheic dermatitis.

Can Selenium Sulfide Trigger Hair Loss?

Ah, the million-dollar query. The reply? It is not clear-cut, sadly. “There have been some hair loss unwanted effects reported when utilizing selenium sulfide, however there isn’t any proof that it is the single inflicting issue,” explains Reavey. As a normal rule of thumb, any hair loss is often a results of a number of elements. On the identical time, selenium sulfide might play a job and exacerbate the situation; it is not going that it is the root of the problem (pun meant.) “For those who’re utilizing selenium sulfide, it is normally since you’re treating a scalp situation, which is brought on by poor scalp well being, weight loss plan, hormones, sickness, stress, and/or irritation to merchandise,” says Reavey. Briefly, there are already issues occurring along with your scalp that may be contributing to hair loss.

Hill additionally notes that most of the advantages of selenium sulfide can truly be a optimistic factor in managing hair loss. “It helps cut back irritation, which is dangerous to the hair follicle and depletes it of essential vitamins, and likewise controls each extra yeast and oil from pooling on the scalp, which may result in hair shedding and loss,” she says. (Although all of this solely applies in the event you truly do have dandruff or a fungal scalp an infection.)

Nonetheless, she and the opposite specialists we spoke with are fast to notice that incorrect or overuse can, in actual fact, be detrimental to wholesome hair and scalp perform (extra on the best method to make use of it in a second). For instance, the draw back of utilizing selenium sulfide is that it could result in extreme dryness of the scalp, which in flip ups the probability of hair breakage, one type of hair loss, says Yates. “Consider it as a department on a tree changing into dried out. Any mechanical disturbance of that space will trigger the department to interrupt. Equally, if there is a lack of hydration or lubrication alongside the exterior hair shaft, any mechanical disruption will trigger the hair to interrupt,” he explains.

And in the event you’re utilizing selenium sulfide only for kicks and giggles, you’ll be able to actually run into some points.
“Selenium sulfide can irritate, inflame and dehydrate the pores and skin on the scalp that doesn’t have outbreaks of dandruff. This may disrupt common scalp and hair follicle perform,” says Hill, one other potential contributing issue to eventual hair loss.

The way to Use Selenium Sulfide

For starters, solely use selenium sulfide when you have a scalp situation, like dandruff, and even then, it ought to certainly not be a daily participant in your haircare routine. “Use it episodically,” recommends Yates. “When you will not see enchancment after only one use, you need to see outcomes after a couple of week or so.” Then, as soon as the situation is best, cease utilizing it. “Your scalp has a microbiome, identical to your intestine, and continued use of substances comparable to selenium sulfide will disrupt this and might find yourself making the situation you are attempting to deal with worse,” factors out Reavey.

Whereas the chances of selenium sulfide present in shampoos are formulated to be secure for the hair, keep in mind that that is an ingredient that is nonetheless meant for the scalp. As such, Hill encourages utility on to the scalp (ideally with a bottle that has an applicator that touches the scalp straight) and solely on areas the place you will have precise dandruff. In between makes use of, complement with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. Yates says substances comparable to biotin, yucca root extract, and pumpkin seed oil are all good to hunt out.

Oh, and FYI, selenium sulfide reacts with and might depart a black tarnish on silver, so ensure to take off any silver jewellery earlier than washing your hair with one in every of these shampoos, says Yates.

Aspect Results

Together with the aforementioned potential for irritation, it bears mentioning some well being and security issues round selenium sulfide on the whole. “The Environmental Working Group charges selenium sulfide at an 8, which exhibits issues for its toxicity to the physique and the setting,” notes Reavey. Yates provides that it is truly banned in each the EU and Japan for this very cause.

On the finish of the day, when you have dandruff, you’ll be able to strive different lively substances. Nonetheless, in the event you do need to use selenium sulfide—as a result of it’s undoubtedly an efficient answer—ensure to solely achieve this for restricted quantities of time to take care of the well being of each your scalp and hair.

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