Scalp Discoloration from Selenium Sulfide Shampoo: A Case Series and Review of the Literature


Address correspondence to David R. Berk, M.D., Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Dermatology, Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Campus Box 8123, 4921 Parkview Place, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA, or e-mail:


Abstract:  We describe six patients who developed orange to red–brown scalp discoloration after application of selenium sulfide–containing shampoos. This phenomenon has been described only once previously. In all of the cases, the discoloration resolved shortly after discontinuing the selenium sulfide. Lightly swabbing with isopropyl alcohol facilitated removal of the discoloration. This simple technique serves as a painless diagnostic method, which may prevent unnecessary evaluation with a biopsy.